Replaced by the Void

I was drunk-listening to James Brown’s Living in America, then Christmas Wrapping by The Waitresses, maybe adding more meaning than was there, I don’t know, I’m drunk, but writing because I feel the time is right for it, realizing that the predispositions for alcoholism and mental illness in general are strong in my family, then wandering back in time, presupposing family history, going back to pioneer times and beyond, really diving into the old gene pool mentally, exercising my ability as a human to dip back into time, before I was even here, and I’m jumping back now to my college years, when I was the wunderkind, and now I’m half a decade older, running a magazine and getting my own words published too, wondering if there’s something else to all of this that I haven’t gathered yet, or if this is it, I’m a hungry ghost from the Buddhist tradition, stripped of my memory and my dignity, sent to walk among crevasses and cliffs of briar, sent adrift in the time I’ve been condemned to, this life, and I am both the hunter and the quarry as I wander the halls of my life, wondering if I’m losing it all, if I’m better than I’ve ever been. And the thing about drunkenness is that it feels so good even as you’re slipping away. To replace yourself with the Void that you came from, just for a moment, until all of your faculties slip away and you’re left as a giant baby, waiting for the ability to come back to you, but you’re numb from whatever you were drinking about in the first place, at least for a time, and you know even as you’re becoming something else that you’re just doing this to escape, that you’ll eventually return to yourself in the end, that it won’t drastically change anything, that you’ll be left with yourself in the end, switching tenses, past to present, first to second person, listening now to Roll Over Beethoven by ELO, then something else, the algorithm decides for me, and I’m riding the wave of inebriation, feeling it pass me by and imbue me with its effects, deliberately being fun, and funny, and silly, anything but angry, because that’s how my dad was, as a kid, and I’ve convinced myself that as long as I’m a friendly drunk it’s better than the alternative, than the model my father left for me. I resolve to stop drinking, to make a deliberate clean break, not sure if it’ll stick, thinking it probably won’t, but I go for it anyway. I stop drinking, and I eat something, and I put water in my body, and I wait for this feeling to go away. I’m ready for a shift to happen. But I’ll wait for it, and the feeling will change, and I’ll put on my mask and walk outside, now listening to Tame Impala’s Posthumous Forgiveness, and even though my father isn’t dead, it’s as if he might as well be, stuck between the shore of consciousness and the waves of debilitation, and I’m here, in another state of the country, another state of mind, letting the feeling pass, letting lucidity return, and all the memories are coming back again, and I’m letting them come, the half-remembered visions and the reconstructed rememberings both, all of it coming back, and it’s a hell of a gift and a curse, this life, unimaginable even in sobriety, but I’ll keep on this path as long as I can, till the ghost of my father stops haunting me. An undead phantasm, a vision of a life in stasis. I’ll live as best I can, as soon as I can, as long as I can.

 

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