Tidal Pull (I)

March 24

Where were you last night?  It’s a question I am having to ask myself more and more frequently.  The first time I blacked out was last December.

It’s Christmas Eve and the moon is fat and bright, a bloated and shining disc in the kind of clear night sky that only winter can bring.  I stand on the porch, a half-finished beer in hand (eggnog isn’t really a manly drink, in my opinion as a seasoned drinker),  and I breathe the crisp air and silence.  Behind me, the muted sounds of my family celebrating- low but cheerful murmuring, clinking dinnerware, “Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire…”

But it has gotten too warm in there, the smells too strong, mingling to form an unpleasant odor that makes my head buzz.  The food, alcohol and the slight tang of sweat, the menthol-y scent of my grandmother’s liniment.  The fire smells like death.  Suddenly, I need fresh air and the house feels too small, cramped.

Gradually, the nausea that has been creeping up on me subsides as the night air does its work.  The limpid moon seems to energize me, crystallizing a feeling of sudden sanguine anticipation; the night can only get better.  Anything is possible, and the new year is only days away.  I look down at the momentarily forgotten beer in my hand with mild distaste and set it on the porch railing, and then I turn to go back inside.  The last thing I remember from that night is the moon, pellucid and pregnant in the black night sky.

April 23

It’s gotten steadily worse (better?) since then.  In a way, that feeling of positivism, of simultaneous vitality and tranquility that I felt on Christmas Eve last year was an augury… or was it an omen?  The feeling returns with new vigor a few weeks later.  For a period of a few days, it seems, I walk around feeling happier, healthier, lighter somehow.  It makes the days preceding and following seem dull in comparison.  I am no longer content.

But the nights… I go out alive to the possibilities of the night.  The city is all glowing neon, which simultaneously calls to me and repels me.  I go out searching, but with only a vague idea of what I am hoping to find.  Some sort of excitement, something to quell the low ache in my guts.  I don’t intend to drink, but somehow I awaken and it’s morning.  Not just the next morning, but two mornings later.  I can’t remember what I have done or how I have spent the last two nights.  At least I didn’t piss myself.

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