It’s 2:30 in the morning and I can’t sleep. Could you sleep knowing He is in the room?
Sitting in a chair in the corner, his cigarette flares and then dims again in the darkness. Utter silence except for an occasional slosh in a bottle, the soft breeze of his inhale, then a stronger exhale.
“You had it all worked out, and now it’s all falling apart.” A chuckle. “Well, you know what they say in your little program, don’t you?”
“However much time it took to throw your life away …”
“It takes that long to get it back. Very good!” A pat on the head. I hate that so much. I hate any false gesture of camaraderie. And His is most definitely false.
Things were going so well, or at last they had gotten off to a decent start. I was starting school and Jon and I were going to move out and get a place together. Now I’m not in school. And I don’t have a job. And now Jon is giving Tom his 2 week notice tomorrow. And moving back in with his folks.
“And guess where you will stay!” That sing-songy voice. “You’re gonna stay right here. What? You’re gonna stay right here. Where? You’re gonna stay right here …” He is dancing a jig around my bed. Just shuckin’ and jivin’.
“You remember that day a couple months ago when Matt thought it would pass as joking to you when he made that crack about you living here in year? Well it turns out, he was right!” Adding a dip here and putting his hands in the air there, He is certainly cutting a rug around this room. And I feel even worse than I did all day. I felt pretty bad today. Because I don’t like not having a job and I don’t like not having a purpose. I don’t like struggling to keep my mind occupied and I hate idle time.
“You know, you could always-“
“Oh shut up.”
I’m so tired of crying. I’m so tired of being angry. At myself, at Him, at the brain damage. At the textbooks. At everything. I’m tired of feeling like I’m a victim.
“But you are a victim,” He tells me. “It’s not your fault you got sick. It’s not your fault I took over your life. I mean, I’m just stronger than you, that’s all. It’s not your fault your 37 and have no “love of your life”, no kids, barely any friends. I mean, I’d have a tough time finding a reason to get up in the morning if I was you. But that’s just me. But then I am, after all, you.” He drops down into a chair again and crosses his legs.
“You know what? You’re right. I am a victim And you know what you are also right about? You are me. And if you have the strength to bring me down so far and so hard, then I have the same strength to pull myself back up.”
The look on his face. He looks like Brad Pitt when he is holding the gun and then suddenly, Edward Norton is holding the gun.
“Good for you. Doesn’t change anything,” he says and tamps out his cigarette into his palm, sending a seering pain through my hand.
“It does. If I am as strong and talented and ‘still got it’ as much as people say, then I can be as strong and determined and committed as you are cruel and mocking and selfish.”
Noticing my movement towards determination he doubles his efforts. “Oh yeah. And how exactly do you plan to go from here. You’re not qualified to do a damn thing. Get some other $10 an hour job? You were barely able to keep your head above water the last time you worked for that.”
“Yep. And I still managed to buy booze and weed. Now, I don’t have as many distractions. Or expenditures.”
“So, what? Are you going to live by yourself again? You’ll be drinking again in no time.”
“No, I won’t. Because I have things now I haven’t had in a long time. Since right before I got sick.”
“Oh yeah?” He lit up a joint and cracked open a beer. He drank and he dragged. “And what, pray tell, is that?” He blew smoke rings in my face. But I smiled. A little.
“A will, and a reason, to live.”