I am trying hard to find a way to integrate all of the pieces of Fragments of Fiction. The other day I took another stab here. This evening I am going to continue the process by revisiting this section.
A couple of comments in response to a few emails. Pieces of this story are based upon experiences of my own and some friends. When I write I try to put myself in the frame of mind for whatever sort of story it is.
I do not know how this story will end, but I do not expect it to be just sad or just happy. If I get it right it will be more reflective of the complex tapestry of life. How is that for a load of B.S. 😉
“There is no pain, you are receding.
A distant ships smoke on the horizon.
You are only coming through in waves.
Your lips move but I cant hear what youre sayin.
When I was a child I caught a fleeting glimpse,
Out of the corner of my eye.
I turned to look but it was gone.
I cannot put my finger on it now.
The child is grown, the dream is gone.
I have become comfortably numb.”
Comfortably Numb– Pink Floyd
Hello and welcome to the Insomniac’s Theater. As you can see it is a bit rundown, somewhat ramshackle joint. It is a place that is not all that dissimilar to a carnival fun house. As you walk through you know that the reality you are experiencing is a bit distorted. Something is a bit off.
It is not as pronounced as the fun house mirror. You know the one that I am talking about. That wavy one that makes your body look fat/tall/short whatever.
It is not all that dissimilar to being drunk. You know that you are not right. You know that you are not quite as sharp as you should be but at the same time the alcohol says you are. It is that little voice in your head that claims that the fifth of whiskey hasn’t impaired your judgment. People should be pleased to speak with the new and improved you. It is version 2.0, enhanced and ready for action.
And then again that little voice whispers in your ear that maybe you really aren’t all that smart. Insecurities that during daylight hours grow to monstrous proportions. So you face a decision. Do you face the beast on your own. Do you shine a light on the darker part of your soul and accept your own frailties or do you give in to the demon.
C’mon, it is just another beer. Hell, might as well make it two or three. If you are going to dance with the devil then you really ought to tell him to go fuck himself. What is the point of exercising poor judgment with a care for the future. Georgie used to tell me to “liver hard.” Every time he said it he’d roar with laughter.
I can’t say if I laughed or smiled. I was beyond caring. Life had no meaning to it, no purpose. I wouldn’t say that I was living. I was alive, but I lived in the shadows. Black and white was all I could see and most of the time I didn’t bother to see at all because when I tried to all I could find was more evidence of how badly I had screwed up.
I loved her madly. I wanted to marry her and somehow she had slipped through my grasp. My girl with the sweet lips was beyond my reach and the only person I could blame was me.
So I set about punishing myself. I felt like I was incapable of loving and unworthy of being loved. And now you know why sleep was no longer my friend.
The bitterness and regret drove the love out of me. Not just love for others, but for myself. I was so hurt and so angry that I felt like I had to punish myself. I didn’t deserve to be happy. I held myself responsible for my loss.
It was my fear. My insecurity. My inability to make a decision had led to paralysis and turned into a clusterfuck of the nth degree. I had started drinking to help numb the pain, but all it did was hasten my descent into a dark and dank hole. It made me angrier and more belligerent.
The combination of alcohol and anger created a monster. I know longer knew who I was. I may have looked like a million other people you see out in the streets, only I really was looking for trouble.
Trouble was only too happy to oblige me. Fistfights became a common occurrence. I didn’t care what he looked like or if he was with friends. It felt good to feel my fist pound their flesh and in a sick, perverse way it felt good to be hit. Each time knuckles graced my face or a boot lashed out against my side I knew I deserved it.
My just rewards.
Only there was one problem. I was good at fighting. I hadn’t ever received any formal training. No one would mistake me for Bruce Lee or Mike Tyson. They wouldn’t look at me and call me graceful either.
But I had grown up in a rougher part of town and hung out with a crowd that had a few scrapes. Early on I had learned how to take a punch and how to make the pain my own. Natural strength and a body built for demolition helped create a creature who wasn’t going to just lie down and be beaten.
When you added rage, bitterness and complete disregard for my own welfare you had a rather unpleasant mix.
One day was no different than the next. Day turned into night and night turned into day. It didn’t matter much. All I did was eat, drink and fight. Don’t misunderstand, those fistfights didn’t happen daily. They didn’t always take place weekly, but they happened often enough.
Sooner or later I was going to find myself in the kind of trouble that can’t be avoided or forgotten. I knew it and I welcomed it. Sometimes I thought that I’d be better off just ending things, that the constant fight to get through each day wasn’t worth it.
But those moments never lasted that long. Bitterness and anger may have been my best friends, but suicide was never something that I could really stomach. For a while I thought that it was because I a coward. After a while I realized that it was because I still had some hope left.