my mother used to worry that she would lose me to alcohol or drugs. i’d get little comments here and there whenever we talked about my aunt or uncle or grandfather. mostly about my aunt. about how i am just like her.
twenty years ago, when she made these comments, i would be irritated by them because i knew myself well enough to know that drinking and smoking and injecting all that crap didn’t do a damned bit of good. it made things worse, actually. i watched for years as it took its toll on my brother. i have to ask my family and friends about him now because he’s not here to ask. to get to know. and the man i knew … i got to know more of the things that made him detestable and less of the good.
the things i turned to in times of trouble were stories and swimming. i’d ride my bicycle around my neighborhood for hours sometimes. not because i wanted the exercise but because i was working through a plot i’d concocted. and if those didn’t work, i took out my frustration on the water. and then i got tired of swimming. so it’s just stories now. usually those told on the screen.
the two movies i’d most looked forward to seeing this summer were crazy, stupid love and one day. the first one made me happy. so much so that i felt compelled to see it again. will probably see it still again. the second made me cry. it made me lonely and miserable.
and i had nowhere to go with that when i left the theater. my friends? they’re married. or have children. or both. and you don’t call up a married parent at midnight on a saturday complaining about being the hopeless romantic. they wouldn’t be able to comprehend that anyway.
so what did i do? i drove to pappadeaux seafood house with the intention of downing a shot or two of vodka and writing. i don’t do this often. but the fact that i consider it from time to time … it worries me a little. fortunately for me, my older brother was looking out for me. the doors were locked. i couldn’t get in. and for some reason, the walk back to my car took most of the interest in partaking of adult beverages away.
i don’t like how some love stories mess with me this way. i don’t like how empty i feel after watching them. and yet, i would watch it again. it’s a good story.
i was a better person twenty years ago. i don’t like how life is chipping away at that. how the doors almost always seemed to be locked tight. and i was so much stronger two decades ago. i would’ve found a different way in then. now i seem to spend more time walking away.