I awoke, sweaty and achy from a deeply inebriated sleep. The only time I slept well was if I went to bed fucked up. I don’t actually fall asleep, I pass out. I rubbed my head at the temple and tried to piece together the events of the night before, wondering I did anything wrong, which I always felt like I did, whether I actually had or not. There was a chronic unsettling feeling of massive proportion that life was on the verge of collapse. Everything was falling apart, everything was in a constant state of unraveling, and dying.
Maeve was beside me mumbling in her sleep. She always talked in her sleep, and I half expected her to say something I wouldn’t want to hear. With one ear raised I waited for a confession. I braced myself for an admission of guilt, a bit of truth to permit me to push her away, completely, for once and for all. Maeve was wonderful, but I had to have restraint, it had to end.
Maeve said the weirdest things while she dreamt. One time she asked me if my bagel worked? What was that about? weird. She was beautiful with long, curly black hair and gorgeous brown eyes. A face that had kept me in awe since junior high school. I could watch her sleep and be content, if I was a different person, if I was someone else, if I was normal. I don’t think I could say that about anyone else in the world but it didn’t matter what I thought or how I felt. I was no good for her. I pulled the covers up over her shoulders and tried my best not to disrupt her. The idea was to let her be, and I should do just that, let her be.
I drowned in my thoughts on an old mattress and a busted box spring lying on the floor of our basement. My blankets were coming undone. I could have used new pillows. The red digital numbers on the clock, resting on the floor blurred, and glowed, like looking into the eyes of satan in a Polanski flick.
It felt like we were hit by a truck as the saying goes. Only all of the eighteen wheelers missed the Craven’s Malibu in the early hours of that morning. And if one of those trucks had crashed into us, well, at least we would have been together. I didn’t see the vehicle that hit and almost killed us, but Martin did and according to him it was a Nissan Maxima. The alcohol and the drugs that I consumed last night hit me hard that morning, just as hard as the Maxima if not harder, I felt drained and hollow. My brain, contaminated. It went off to dark, tragic corners of my mind, to places there was no reason to go and yet off it went. I thought about awful shit, some real and some imagined, but that was a normal thing for me to do. I could not remember a time where I didn’t feel alone, even though a beautiful woman was asleep next to me, a woman who I regrettably loved, I felt more alone than ever. I did my best to continually push Maeve away.
In all honesty, most days were drenched in loneliness. Maeve couldn’t patch that up for me. No one could. My mother had been gone for years. My father was present physically, but he checked out soon after she abandoned us. Kenny was back in Finglas probably causing all sorts of mischief. I had Maeve if I allowed myself the pleasure, but I preferred to torture myself instead. I had my friends, a whole crew of friends, some like brothers to me, but still nothing or no one, no matter how many people I had in my life could make me feel like I was loved or a part of something. The loneliness within me was bountiful and unrelenting.
I, like millions of other people, were prone to depression. I think we all are depressed. I think there are even more but many don’t want to admit it, which is understandable. I never shared how I truly felt with anyone either. There is so much shit in this world to be depressed about and it’s not getting any better. I had these suffocating waves of feeling, an overwhelming sense of helplessness, at times incomprehensible. It’s a terrible thing to suffer from the static that plagues one’s head so badly, filling it with ugly noise, and what’s worse are the ugly thoughts of silencing that noise. I use the word static, as a broad term for all the bad thoughts and negativity that float around the mind. I know there were days I wanted the static to stop. I woke up that morning aware that I should be happy to be alive but I wasn’t. Peter Cushing was close. Death should have been so.
I wanted separation. I wanted separation from Maeve, from my friends, from my father, from this town, from everything. Despite my loneliness, I wanted isolation, which even to me seemed illogical, but what really makes sense in this upside down world. Maybe separation was a better thing to yearn for than obsessing over death. Maybe my thoughts were just cheap and useless, empty threats, maybe I was just trying to shock myself, trying to get a rise out of myself in order to stimulate motivation, and force me to change my life. I didn’t want to turn into my father. Maybe I was just losing my mind completely, doubtful I was the first in the Ryan family to do so.
Everyone in the car, Martin, Ozzy, Viggo and myself should’ve been dead last night, but miraculously we forged on. It could have been all over in an instant. Lights out. A final curtain call. How many times have we all cheated death? Innumerable. How many times have we evaded central bookings and court cases? More than we could count on hands and feet, collectively. We were young and in the way. Lawless and begging to leave behind handsome corpses. I wondered what our shelf life was? I put my arm around Maeve, pulled her body closer to me, apologized to her under my breath, and shut my eyes.
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