A man cannot free himself from the past more easily than he can from his own body. ~André Maurois
For the first installment of the story click “here“.
Still reeling in my emotions from my meeting with my 14 year old self, I got up and turned off the ceiling fan.
My mind told me, it must have been the reflection of the bulb off the bottom of the blade that hypnotized me into believing I just had a conversation with my younger self.
I heard rummaging around in the kitchen and guessed one of the kids must be up and starving. A good nights sleep has that effect. I wouldn’t know, as of late, but that’s what I hear.
I walk into the room to see the fridge door open and someone funneling around in it.
I lean against he counter, took a puff off my electronic cigarette, exhaled the vapor and said,
“You finding what you need son?”
A familiar irritated voice started to answer and then came out from behind the door.
“Where’s the beer? I know you…got..WHOA…are you….me?…What happened to my hair?”
It was me….in my mid 20’s. Long red hair hanging in my eyes held back with a bandana. Blood shot eyes, nervous disposition, unshaven.
I had already talked to myself once. This time, I see myself older….but not wiser. I answer my question,
“Yeah…I am you….in about 20 years. There is no beer. I don’t drink anymore….I shaved it off about 13 years ago.”
My younger, cockier self seems to not share the same shock as I do in talking to myself. He just wants to drink.
“No way. Drinking is what I do. Quitting…..is for quitters! I hope there was a good reason for going all chrome dome. At least you still smoke weed. Lemme hit that.”
I snicker and reply,
“It’s not weed. It’s a cigarette substitute. It won’t get you high, And you’ll find that reason soon enough.”
“Is this what kind of lame ass I become? Next your gonna tell me I’m married and have a family.”
I just shrug my shoulders and smile.
I change the subject.
“Why are you here?” I ask
“How am I supposed to know….I went out with the guys for a few shots. I only planned to stay for a few. The next thing I know it’s 6 in the morning. I gotta be at Mom and Dad’s at 10. I gotta get rid of these shakes and pull it together. It’s their anniversary.”
I remember that disaster of a day. I reeked, tried to pull off that everything was fine and left early to get drunk to make myself feel better about it.
At that time, my Dad had been sober for over 5 years and was doing his best to make up for lost time. Only to watch his son follow in his footsteps into a slow oblivion.
I had to ask myself a question…even though I didn’t think I wanted to hear the answer.
“Why don’t you just stop? You saw what it did to Dad. It almost killed him. Remember that Christmas when he was drunk and asked you to come in and sit with him. You held him and put your head on his chest and heard his heart skipping beats as you smelled the alcohol coming out of his pores? I remember how scary it was…Do you? Is that what you want?”
Me and I shared a moment of uncomfortable silence as we both relived that scene. Each of us seemed to be daring the other to break into tears. My mid 20’s self broke the silence with defiance.
“That was him not me. I just like to party. I got this under control. He had to quit…I just need to take a break and slow down a bit. How dare you look at me and see….him. I gotta go. I gotta enjoy life while I have one…looks like I got a good 20 years left. You at least have a couple of bucks so I can get a quart?”
I closed my eyes, bowed my head and sighed. I thought to myself…
“Should I give myself money to drink or tell me to go?”
I opened my eyes and looked up, ready to answer, but my mid 20’s self was gone.
Except for the bandana that lay on the floor.