one evening on the patio
My friend described it as thinking through quicksand. The anise, the ice, the apparatus. It seemed more like thinking without the body. As if my eyes were placed just a foot forward and above my head in a tiny, insubstantial pool. Viewing the conversation with yourself in the periphery. To go any further felt unnatural. Not that I owe nature reverence. I don’t choose to walk into the ocean for the same reason.
It was a lonely magic. It was a trick no one would pay to see. I wanted to say, “This is my limit? Who the fuck are you to keep me in that thing? Down in that filthy, achy, impotent, tired wreck.” There was consolation in hearing my body, yammering and ignorant, behind me. “At least he’ll never know,” I thought.
The son of a bitch! He’d finally done it. The physical pressure. The months of disentanglement.
“Immense,” he shouted! “That is the best part of it. I am actively tormenting myself with the most agonizing, skin crawling embarrassment daily. I just get high and start typing absolute bullshit. Sometimes I just string twenty cliches together and call it a night. The real beauty is in the struggle to publish it somewhere. I told fucking everyone about it. So I know if I publish it, anyone I give a fuck about will see it and I’ll be revealed. Irreversibly revealed.” He took a drag, pulled that cocksucker grin and pointed at his friend while looking at his drink.
“So there is this gnawing, nausea and pushing and muscle tightening as you say, ‘it’s terrible and I’m keeping it’ and then ‘no you will not!’” “People cleanse their colons and I am going to cleanse my shame.” The entire tired scheme told again. Half borrowed thoughts and crudely constructed epiphanies. The gracious nodding and second counting I’d seen on the faces of so many of these friends.
I don’t know why I forget each time. For some reason the memory of escape is left in him when I go. It’s the first thing I recall when I go back. Before I’m back at all.