I’m thinking of the things I think about while I’m thinking of other things. Walking home under the influence, I am acutely aware of my many layered thought patterns. I feel extremely profound at this moment. I let myself drift. I am willing, open, intoxicated.
While I walk I wander away in my head. In my head I wonder why I can walk. I think of why I’m here and what it means. I look skyward and try to see the stars but the lights of the city block all but the brightest from view. I feel small. I am just a dot floating in a vast universe. I am a part of it all. I am just me too. A single being filled with dreams, goals, and purpose. I feel the weight of my body as I put one foot in front of the other. Left, right, left, right; I make my way home. I am not even close to sober. I am also seriously dehydrated. It makes no matter water awaits. One arm is holding the strap of my purse. I feel you arm. I feel the sweat that collects where my elbow bends. Soon it will drip down my arm and on to the ground. I leave pieces of myself behind everywhere I go. That dot of sweat will evaporate and journey skyward. I wonder if it will come back to me somehow. My other arm swings freely with my house keys dangling from my ring finger. Their jingle announces my presence to those walking ahead of me. The blocks between the train station and my apartment disappear beneath my feet as if they never existed. If I look back will they still be there?
I love everyone. Why not? We are beautiful, mortal, and finite. Let’s do what makes us happy. I just did. Red wine makes me happy. Sharing it with friends makes me happier still. There is no belligerence in my drunkenness. I am tolerant and understanding. As I walk I think of the shirtless man I saw on the train when I was coming home. He was still drinking. A cup, a smile, and a brown paper bag. He was like me. He seemed content. I’d say he was in his sixties. I stared at him and made up his life story in my head. He is sun burned and covered in gray hair from chest to belly. I decide he is the lone survivor of a shipwreck. It was his last voyage upon the seas before his retirement. He had spent his entire life journeying from port to port. He has seen the world. The brown bag he cradles lovingly holds a bottle of rum. Why not, it fits into my story. He even has a handlebar mustache; this is perfect. He misses his shipmates and the rum helps him with his sorrow. It’s a hard thing to lose a loved one. I miss my dad and the wine helps my sorrow. This guy has lost a crew. Men he has traveled the seas with his whole life. See, I knew we were connected somehow. I love this city. Look what you can find on the train. A kindred spirit content in inebriation. Seeing him makes me smile. He’s completely at ease, he smiles back. We have an understanding. He knows about my grief and I know about his. His shipmates and my Dad. I drank to mine and he’s still drinking to his. The other passengers look at him askance but not me. I understand. We will both weep later but tonight we honored our dead with drink.
Almost home. I can’t wait to take my bra off. My jeans will follow that. I need some water. I smile at children out on this late summer’s night. No school for you and aren’t you happy about that. I would be happy too. They run after each other and squeal with delight. They are so carefree. In my drunkeness I am filled with hope. I know the resilience of children. I watch as one young boy falls. A full out sprawl. His face contorts into a grimace as he begins to cry. His mother comes to his aid, lifting him up by his arm with one hand and brushing off his clothes with the other. She wipes his tears away and whispers soothing words. He pulls himself free and continues running. See…life goes on.
I turn the corner on to my block and immediately feel the urge to pee. As usual I see people sitting on the front steps that don’t even live in my building. I shout at them in my head as I make my approach: “Hark! What are these fell creatures that doth litter my front steps?! Move aside foul wretches! I’m trying to get in to my home. I have many things to think of while I think of this! I can’t think of you too! Back, I say, back!” What comes out of my mouth is:”Excuse me.” They mumble apologies and move aside so I can get in. The urge to pee is stronger now but I stop to check my mail box out of habit.
I live on the first floor, my apartment is just a few feet away. I start to do the pee dance while I hold my mail in one hand and attempt to put the key in the lock. I get it on the second try. I drop everything and run for the bathroom. Ahhhh…sweet relief. I peel out of my clothes, turn on the shower, get in and begin to cry. Tomorrow will be better.