A New Chapter

I know my parents are worried that I am going to kill myself. Either on purpose (because I’ve tried it before and will sometimes dramatically threaten to try again, which I usually mean in the moment) or accidentally with drugs. As it stands right now, I have never felt better in my life. And no, I am not on a short lived manic high where I stay up for a week and rearrange all of my furniture according to its aura. If memory serves the bed was a deep blue, and the dresser was a brilliant green so they could obviously NOT stay in the same room. I should also let you know that I haven’t taken any illegal drugs in the past 60 days, but I know no one would believe me. How to reestablish trust when there hasn’t been any for 10 years? Maybe that will be the title of the next great American novel I write in a 4-star hotel in whatever city you think is safest. At least you can come here every day and see that not only am I alive, but that I’m finally living. My bed is no longer the only place I want to be – and without chemicals – what a revelation.

I keep thinking of this kid I met in Greenbriar last summer. Let’s remember that this was my THIRD stay at Greenbriar Inpatient. “Let’s see if it works this time!” Anyways, there was this kid Tanner, and I only call him a kid because he looked so young. I know I’m 28 and still look like a kid, maybe I’ll never grow up (but would that really be a bad thing?). I think he was 25. He’d just finished law school in London, and had moved to Singapore for work. I know, impressive right? He kept staring at me with his sad brown eyes, in a way that made me one hundred percent sure that he was gay. Under normal circumstances I would have tried to sleep with him. He was an international lawyer, good looking, and addicted to something fun. It was like the elusive trifecta! But he just looked so fucking broken. He had these waves of sadness coming off of him. In a rare moment of empathy (don’t tell the homeless people that hang around outside of my building), I offered him a cigarette and asked him his name. After we established some back story, I asked him if he wanted to hear something fucked up. He nodded his head yes, so I grabbed my red notebook and read him the story about the first time I slept with someone for money.

I think I was just trying to let him know that we all do stuff that only makes sense at the time. That no one will ever truly understand your choices, even if they’ve done the same things in the same place. That maybe sometimes it’s ok to feel alone.

When I finished the story, I looked up and he had tears streaming down his face. “Dude, it’s not a big deal, that was like 10 years ago”. That’s when he launched into into what had really been going on for the past two years of his life. Not the bullshit resumes we feed each other when we first meet. You know, the stuff you put on your LinkedIn page (which I recently deleted, which felt better than a good hit of acid). This was the real shit. The shit you play over and over again in your mind until you want to put a gun in your mouth just to stop the loop.

I’m not going to reveal what he told me because it’s his story, and I wouldn’t do it justice. When he finally finished, he no longer looked like he couldn’t breathe.

“How many international lawyers do you think will be able to say that they hopped coal trains across the states to escape their first rehab?”

Tanner starts laughing.

“When I finally got off, it looked like I had blackface on”.

I’m smiling, actually smiling, for the first time in months.

“See, I bet they didn’t teach you to improvise blackface in law school”

I’ve fallen asleep with a pen in my hand every night for the past month. I ate sushi in the park today while the sun shined down on my notebooks. Sometimes I think if I can just get it all down I’ll be able to stop, but stuff keeps happening. Funny stuff, sad stuff, ridiculous stuff, unbelievable stuff, predictable stuff, stuff I can’t keep off paper.

So, Mom and Dad, I can’t die because I never want to stop writing it all down.

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