Insomnia, alcohol and xanax were killing my body. In retrospect, I probably should have been on suicide watch. Between the hours of 4 pm and 7 am I drank 17 beers, 3 glasses of red wine and had taken 3 Xanax (do NOT try this at home), but the only sleep I could manage was between 1:30 am and 3 am and between 6:30 am and 8:30. None of the sleep was restful. (I knew what I was doing was dangerous, but that voice was so quiet compared to the one that chanted "SHUT IT OFF SHUT IT OFF SHUT IT OFF SHUT IT OFF.) I was having waking dreams. The therapist said that this happened sometimes when one was overly exhausted. Your body attempted to go into an REM cycle before you had actually fallen asleep. It was a disgusting feeling. I was disgusting. I felt like a burning cigarette in my house, stinking it up and needing to be put out.
On this night, my dreams were full of angry people i could not recognize:
I am in the back of a yellow sports car. The driver is a younger man in his late 20’s. He wears a dingy brown leather jacket. His face is a canine growl, showing his teeth. He drives at breakneck speed through the parking lot of a crowded shopping mall. The sky outside is so dark i can literally feel the darkness on my face. I am not sure if the headlights are off, or if it is so dark they cannot penetrate it. The engine screams louder and louder, as the speed continues to climb. He is not shifting gears. I know we are going to kill someone. I do not have any fear of impact, but i know that i am responsible for the driver’s anger and do not want him to run over a skipping child or a mother pushing a cart full of sale rack blouses.
“Slow the fuck down, dick!!” I scream.
i see his eyes in the mirror. He glares at me. I glare at him. It occurs to me that he is not a stranger.
I close my eyes. I feel my body ready itself for impact. I know we are going to kill someone. I accept the inevitability of it all. I feel us flying, flying, flying. There is no fear and there is no joy, but there is the purest sensation of movement and somehow, it’s peaceful. I try to remember from where it is i know this man. Surely, through some smoke filled room, riddled with alcohol and desperation, we spoke passing, hostile words to each other in a doorway. Radio Radio nightclub in indianapolis at 2 am? Some party in the woods in 1996? Who is this guy?
As the questions rain down, I suddenly notice that the car has stopped. The driver steps out, walks slowly around to the other side of the car. I am in the back seat, and my legs are stuck. I fall out of the car, stand up, ready for a cheap shot to the nose or a knee to the groin. He just looks at me. I feel some need to shake his hand, so i extend my forearm and relax my fingers. He takes it.
“i know who you are” i say. “I remember you now. And all this time, i thought you were God.”
“I was thinking the same thing about you” he said.
I shook myself awake and my body was burning. The clock was wrong, but it had been wrong for so long that I could automatically do the calculation in my head: 8:30am. I dragged my feet into the bathroom. I didn’t feel myself closing the door, but I did hear the television slam quiet. I attempted to concentrate my vision and focus my urine stream inside the toilet bowl. The gradual hum of the air conditioning was coming up through the vent in the floor below me. The loose end of the toilet paper roll hanging on the wall waved in the breeze. “I surrender,” i laughed to myself. Wait, my feet felt warm. I glance down to note that I was pissing onto my black socks.
I snapped to. I heard a voice asking what I was doing in there. How long had it been? I looked for the beer i remembered leaving on the sink. It was spilled. I opened the towel cabinet and something fell out and broke on the floor. A picture frame had shattered and there was glass everywhere. I began to panic and felt faint. My vision tunnelled. “I’m going to get caught!!” i screamed, silently. “I’m not going to make it!!!” I didn’t hear the door open. I turned my head, realized in my periphery that my mother was standing there watching me try to simultaneously towel up urine, beer and broken glass. At 8:30am.
“Do you need any help?” she asked, voice shaking.
i reached slowly for a stray bottlecap on the bathroom floor and squeezed it together. I notice it now had a slight overbite just like Mason. What was I doing? How could I leave him? Again, it occurred to me that I needed to GET IT TOGETHER.