Slide that glass down the bar to me, Tavern Keeper. My day has been long, as has my week, my year, my marriage, my divorce, my melancholy and life. Slide that hand-filling vessel of liquid salvation my way, so that it may whisper softly to me that all will be well once I consume it. It will light a comforting fire in my gullet as it soaks into my body, and caress my mind with satin fog as it soaks into my thoughts. Slide that glass of surrender and escape to my waiting palm, even though I realize it is merely shackles and sorrow in disguise. I will hold you blameless for the shame I will wake to, and the disappointment of my loved ones. Slide me that perfect, precious potion, and look on me no more. Perhaps if no one is watching, it will wash me away along with my senses, reason, and pain.
He sees all his friends, old acquaintances, even his family, navigating life like masterful downhill skiers. Slicing between flags at blinding speeds, looking as calm as they would were they walking the grocery aisle. But then he looks to himself and sees a one-armed man trying to juggle for the first time. With axes. Blindfolded. And upside-down. Nothing comes easily except gaining weight and procrastinating. He doesn’t know why he can’t right himself on this river of existence. But at the same time, he does. Admitting to himself that he is lazy and unmotivated is not the hard part. It is sadly easy. What is difficult for him is fighting that truth. It is easier to stagnate and be mad at the universe than it is to stand up and cut your way through the jungle between yourself and your ideal. But there is always something missing.
If he had a better job he would be happy enough to make changes.
If his job had a better schedule he could be more creatively productive.
If he had a girlfriend he would be confident enough to take the steps needed to grow.
If he had more money he could work less and use that time to work out.
If he had higher self-esteem he could maintain a relationship.
If he wasn’t this, he could be that.
If he was here, he could go there.
If one, then the other.
If up, then down.
If future, then present.
If he had motivation, he could write. So he stood up, took a step, and he wrote this.
I was born here.
The door creaks and moans its protest as I enter. The floorboards cough dust upon my bare feet with every step. I lay my hands on the old furniture, still covered in the yellowing bed sheets, looking like so many corpses, and wonder why I bothered protecting sofas and chairs that I thought never again would receive guests.
I was born here.
I pull the curtains back from the dirt-coated windows and turn to see the now illuminated living room and, for a fleeting moment, it looks as it did once upon a time. The cat stretches on the new carpet, the Christmas tree blinks and shines in the corner, my family gathers around the television, my nephew thumps across the floor in search of new adventure. When I bat my eyes the years reassert themselves, and the cold clenches down upon the house once again. It takes me several seconds to realize that my mouth was open and my breath was drawn, ready to speak to these old ghosts. A loneliness the world has never known settles into my chest.
I was born here.
I light the candles. I remove the sheets. I clean the windows and the floor. I make everything come to life again. I sit down in the old recliner, preparing the stories I will tell. The door creaks and moans its protest as you enter. Come in. Sit down.
I have so much to tell you.