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Sad American Drama

This story contains themes or mentions of substance abuse.

“Keep the change,” I said, grabbing the plastic bag protecting my cheap vodka. The bag was good at hiding my impurities. I didn’t need societal eyes preying—not tonight. A blaring bell came from the store entrance…someone walked in. A middle-aged man with dark brown hair and a black trench coat; His coat, drenched, and his dress shoes squeaked a silly tune. Our eyes met, and I gave him the nod. The what's-up-all-is-well nod. The type of nod that registers your talking to a human, considering today’s glued-to-the-screen society. I was awaiting the return tilt of his head, but he reverted his attention to the back of the store and strolled past me. Some people have bad days, others shitty ones. Had to be the latter with him.

I opened the door and the wind gnawed at my skin. This is what it feels to be old…you start complaining about the wind and cold. I activated my umbrella, the canopy shot out like the wings of an eagle. I proceeded into the rain and down the sidewalk. Beads pitter-pattered on top of my umbrella, orchestrating a hypnotizing tempo, that soon faded into the back of my mind with my quiet thoughts. My home was a few blocks away, babysitting my conscience, while I took my temptation for a walk. A dreadful walk. I shouldn’t, but I needed it. I stared at the bag and the devil smiled back. A nasty gust made me turn around in fear. Actions of a guilty soul. I made a right onto the road with the park. The town shut down “Emerald Vine Park” years ago. Cars rarely drive down this road anymore. I spent much of my childhood in that park; I had my first kiss, my first fight, and watched my friend take his last breath… all in that park.

  I approached the gate riddled with chains and a brass lock. The air hung thick with disappointment, I know Zeke was watching. I clenched the bag tighter. The sound of a motor made me twist my neck, headlights were shining down the street like spotlights in search of a criminal on the loose. The gurgling engine crept up closer… I spotted the large puddle resting by the curb, but it was too late. I made sure to swap the merchandise to the other hand and braced myself. Tainted water surged into the air like a big wave, splashing me as the car sped off. Purposeful?—Probably one of those dumb teenagers that just got their license, I considered. But I deserved that. I could feel the grime and grit trickling down my skin. It wasn’t pleasant at all, but neither was the decision I was making tonight. 

  I continued to the end of the road and glanced both ways. One car was moseying down the road, giving me enough time to cross. So I did. I leaped over a puddle blending in with the wet asphalt. Everything was out to get me it seemed. The walk down this street was awful. Not cause of the rain, or the bottle in the bag. Not cause of the damn pain; This was the street my Grandfather used to live on. A man I regarded as “pop-pop”. His house was remodeled, but I can still see the janky gutters and chipped paint in my head. 

 He must be watching too. Your grandson is a failure to friends, his family, and himself. But I don’t care, who's going to stop me?  If I want to self-destruct let me. I took one last look at the house, I hope the family behind those walls are happy. A buzzing in my pocket made me antsy. I looked at the caller ID. “Kim” my therapist. I didn’t want to answer. I couldn’t bring myself to press that green button. I was almost home, I didn’t need any critical voices in my head. I just wanted to bask in my sin…alone. The rest of the walk I spent in contemplation. Smashing this bottle on the ground and saving myself the sorrow down the line was looking promising. But the human condition didn’t allow me. I would get another chance to clean myself up, I always get another chance.

I walked up the steps to my apartment, each step felt heavy and remorseful. I walked into the apartment shut the door and discarded my wet coat. I carried the bag over to the glass round table by the couch. I needed to prepare my mind for this. I stepped away from the living room and moved into the bathroom. Looking at myself in the mirror above the basin was a chore, one that required focus. I finally did it. Those hazel eyes; telling of a man who was toying with regret. One glass won’t hurt. I can stop…I know I can. My demons were great at cheering me on. A tear trickled down my face, creating a baby bump at the tip of my chin. The tear grew until it was released into the sink. It’s time. I walked out of the bathroom and into the kitchen. I grabbed a whisky glass out of the cupboard and brought it to the table. I took a seat on the couch and shut the blinds. The world needed to mind its business. I freed the bottle from the plastic bag's grasp. What a beauty. A few twists of the cap and I was pouring. Senselessly, pouring with no restrictions attached. Half of the glass was filled with the clear liquid. I could sense eyes around me. My grandfather was watching, and Zeke. I know they were, but they can't stop me. I brought the glass to my lips, and the sharp odor of vodka bombarded my nose. In one shot I leaned my head back and let the vodka into my mouth. I could feel the burning sensation through my throat and empty stomach, but I didn’t care. I wanted to feel something...I needed to feel something. Don’t we all do? One glass wasn’t enough, it never was. We go again.

May 28, 2024 19:51

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4 comments

Trudy Jas
10:39 Jun 03, 2024

Jahson, this is so good! Wish you had entered it. The matter-of-fact voice. Half self-disgust, half promise to do better later. It all rigns so true.

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Jahson Clarke
17:31 Jun 04, 2024

I appreciate the kind words Trudy.

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Alexis Araneta
15:59 May 29, 2024

Great use of imagery on this one. Great job !

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Mary Bendickson
20:44 May 28, 2024

Slow wet walk to wallow in worries. Thanks for liking 'the Passing'.

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