Monday, December 27, 2010

Recovery and Disguises in Nooks and Drums

Most days, he felt sane. He felt normal. Never ordinary (he had just enough pride to consider himself superior), but like he fit in, like he blended. But there were other days, bad days, confusing days, that he felt more like the kind of person who could disappear. Fade away. The kind of person that rode the border between sane and not-so-much a little too carelessly and one day just slipped and didn't recover. Because the parts of himself that stayed in his head? Those he knew. But the ones that knew what to do when people were around... those were trickier, harder to control and not always around when he needed them.

The blinds in his bedroom shut out the light completely, and bad days had him sleeping until mid-afternoon. He knew better than to start a day off with coffee when the sun was so low in the sky, but the caffeine withdrawal had a tendency to make his head pound, and the insomnia had stopped being about not being tired a few weeks ago, so he wasn't quite sure what he was proving to anyone except that he had an anti-social side. A grumpy, anti-social side that winced when his roommate's girlfriend laughed and rolled his eyes when the off-key top-40 notes filtered out over the sound of the shower.

He didn't smoke, but on bad days he wouldn't mind a cigarette. He hadn't really been drunk since the summertime, but on bad days he could see a pool of tequila doing him a world of good. Questionable good. Temporary absences of bad disguising itself as good. But it was better than the bad because on bad days, the bad seeped like venom through his pores, settling in his joints to make them squeak and his bones to make them ache. It nestled in the nooks of his skulls, burrowing behind his ears, in the pressure points in his neck, then crawling up to tap on his ear drums in uneven percussion. His pupils danced in unchanging light.

On bad days, his time had a way of feeling empty, still. Like his brain belonged to a different body, like his heart was trying to escape his ribcage, like it had to grow to be strong enough to last because its rhythm was all off-track.

Most days, he was alright, in control.  He was just another guy on the street, just another guy on the subway car, just another guy in line at the pharmacy. And even on the bad days, even when he was so far lost in himself that he couldn't be reached, he hadn't reached unrecoverable. Not yet.

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