... it's day 13.
or maybe in another world
it's impossible to figure out
'cause everything's subliminal
maybe in the next life
I'll be a hero not a criminal"
("Past Lives" – The Bronx)
A/N: You guys believe in past lives? Just wonderin'. Well, here's day 13. It's getting to the point where I can't remember exact days of when things happened, but I'm doing my best at mixing it up with the little bit of fiction parts.
DAY 13: AT 6:13AM
Huh. This is a pretty fly suit. But it's like 1940's style or something. Sounds like music down the hall. Like jazz. I'm gonna go check it out. Whoa. It's a party! I don't know anybody here, but somehow I feel okay about that. I feel comfortable.
"Where have you been? I've been waiting all night for you?"
Do I know this chick?
"Uh ... I'm sorry ... but ... do I know you?"
"How much have you had to drink, honey?"
Drink? I haven't had anything to drink. I'm not drunk. Shit, she's dragging me back out into the hall.
"Um, I ... where are we going?"
"Shhhh ... I have to show you something!"
What the fuck? She's taking me upstairs. I wonder what she's gonna show me?
"Here. Sit. Now look in this mirror ... but first, close your eyes, then reopen them again."
This is weird. A mirror?
"Honey, you ask too many questions. Just do it and let me know what you see."
Okay, whatever. Close my eyes ... open my eyes ... look in the mirror. What the ... fuck?
"That's not me!"
"Tell me what you see!"
"Well ... I see a ... it's a woman. With long brown hair and brown eyes."
"You know what I see when I look in it?"
What the hell is going on here? She must be playing a trick on me or something.
"What? What the hell?"
"We've switched again! Like over and over and over ..."
I have to be dreaming 'cause this is some weird shit.
"I don't understand what you mean?"
"Don't think too hard about it. It's one of those things we're not supposed to understand, but I figured out what you really see with this mirror ..."
DAY 13: AT 6:15AM
Fuck. Another weird dream ... there was a party ... and a weird woman ... and a mirror. It was like a fucking Twilight Zone episode. What the hell did that mean? I probably shouldn't read too much into this shit. Just need to get up. Huh. Kat's still asleep. She looks so cute sleeping there. I just wanna kiss her. I wonder if she'd wake up if I did that? Should I go for it? I'm totally gonna go for it. Ha!
"Well that's a nice way to wake up."
I love when she smiles like that.
"What time is it?"
"Just after 6. I had this weird dream."
"Kiss me again."
"You liked that?"
"Well yeah, I wouldn't be asking you to do it again if I didn't. Dork!"
I guess that was kinda a dumb question, huh? Okay, here goes ... kiss number two. Shit. I've gotta piss ... better stop this before it gets outta hand.
"Where you going?"
"Bathroom ... I'll be back in a sec."
"Okay ... 'cause I definitely want you to come ... back."
DAY 13: AT 9:13AM
Wha'? Oh damn. I fucking fell back asleep. Oh man, I'm still naked. I never sleep naked. I just fuckin' konked. That's kinda lame. I wonder when Kat got up? Shit. I don't think I have any more clean clothes. We're definitely going to have to go do some laundry.
"Well good morning again sleepy head ... I must say, I approve of naked Gerard."
"Ha! You're funny. Don't just stare at me! Help me find where I threw my underwear."
"Aren't these them?"
"Um, yeah, thanks."
"You ready for some breakfast?"
"Yeah definitely. I never burn that many calories in the morning."
"Well you know what the doctor said – you have to do things to get your heart rate up."
"Honey, you're good at getting more things up than my heart rate."
DAY 13: AT 3:13PM
I was cleaning off the counter, trying to straighten up the place while Kat went to get a few more groceries. I came across the other papers that the doctor had given me. It was the info on the alcoholics anonymous meetings. I'd always thought those meetings were for real fucks up. So did that mean I was a real fuck up now? I felt pretty proud of myself for walking out of that liquor store the other night without buying any booze, but I didn't feel proud of myself for walking in there in the first place.
There was a part of my mind that was still in excuse mode. Last night, I'd convinced myself that I needed a pack of smokes, and I ended up at a liquor store. I didn't want to dwell too long on the implications of that. I glanced down at the paper that had the meeting places and times. I noticed there was one at 5:30 tonight at the VFW hall not too far away.
DAY 13: AT 5:13PM
"It's not like I don't want you to go with me, but I don't think you can like bring people an' shit, ya know?"
"It's cool, Gerard. Maybe it's best that you do this on your own anyway? I'm sure they'll be people there that are right where you are and it'll probably be good to just talk to people that are in that same headspace."
"Yeah. I guess you're right. I'm kinda scared though. I mean, fuckin' alcoholics anonymous. I never thought I'd be going to one of these types of meetings."
"Don't think of it that way. It takes strength to do what you're doing. You're not weak for wanting to go to an AA meeting."
"But that's the thing ... I don't exactly want to go. I'm just really trying here ... trying to do everything I can now to get better."
"I know. You'll be fine. When you get back I'll have dinner ready."
"Gee, thanks, Kat. That's awfully domestic of you!"
"Get out of here before I kick your ass."
DAY 13: AT 5:30PM
I arrived at the VFW hall with a couple minutes to spare. At 5:30 I had managed to get out of the car and come into the building. There were signs posted as to which room the meeting was in. I followed them until I reached a closed door. I'd started to sweat and had to keep telling myself to take deep breaths. As I reached for the handle I felt a wave of dizziness and nausea wash over me. It felt like opening that door was one of the hardest things I'd ever done. I knew all eyes would be on me since I was coming in a few minutes late.
I made it through the door and looked up. There were only a handful of people in the small room. I quickly did a head count that totaled 5. There was no way I could just slither along the wall, getting lost in a crowd or something. And I was right every eye was on me. I was so nervous that I was sure I was visibly shaking. A man that had been standing with one foot leaning on a chair and talking to two of the others came over to me. He smiled and stuck out his hand.
"Hey there! I'm Mike! C'mon in and join us!"
I tried to wipe my hand off on my jeans before offering it in a handshake.
"Er, I-I'm a ... well, I guess I'm a little nervous. Sorry."
"Hey, we've all been there. What's your name?"
"This your first meeting then, Gerard?"
"Well come on over and have a seat and I'll introduce you to everyone else."
I followed him to the chairs and took a seat. Everyone offered me a smile and a handshake while telling me their name. Although everyone was friendly, my comfort level was still in the negative. I still felt like an oddball that didn't belong. Everyone seemed to be older – maybe late 30's to 50's. There was one guy, Bob, that looked like a Hell's Angel, but for the most part everyone else seemed to so normal - like the type you'd see working in an office or something. It just seemed really weird to me. I don't exactly know why.
There was some small talk and socializing before the meeting actually got underway. I didn't do much talking. I still felt really uncomfortable and my stomach had started to knot up again. I was trying my best to see how sitting there was helping me out. One of the women, I think her name was Trish, asked me what I did. I just said that I was an artist. I didn't feel like going into the whole band thing and all that. They asked me what kind of art I did and I just told them I liked to draw.
While I was sitting there I felt really exposed in one way, but totally clammed up in another. Like I didn't want anyone to know anything about my personal life really, but just being there AS an alcoholic made me feel like I had a stamp on my forehead exclaiming it.
Once the meeting began, Mike informed the group that the topic for the night was: what was the worst thing that you did or that happened to you because of your drinking? He started it off with explaining how he had driven home drink one night, crashed through his garage door, then hit his wife. I tried not to seem shocked about the story, but he so didn't look like the type of guy that would do something like that. Bob said he got in a big brawl at a bar and shattered some guys face. The guy lived but Bob did 6 months in jail for it. Trish said she'd had sex for money. This other guy, Glen said that he lost his job, quickly followed by his wife, and then drunk himself to cirrhosis of the liver. The other lady, Lis said that she'd been raped by some guy she hitched a ride with and left by the side of the road.
Suddenly everything that had happened to me seemed like it happened to Little Mary Sunshine. I didn't know whether to be happy about that or cry because to me, this was like the worst shit I'd ever been through in my whole life, but comparatively? I was having trouble just thinking about it.
When Lis had finished her story, everyone turned to me. I chocked for a second and at first Mike told me that I could "pass" and didn't have to participate since it was my first meeting and all. But after everyone else had the courage to tell a story, I didn't want to puss out. But all I told them was that I recently had alcohol poisoning and friends took me to the hospital, but I don't remember anything and they had to tell me what happened. I also threw in that that was the incident that made me want to stop drinking. They all thanked me for sharing my story and I thanked them.
By that point the meeting was drawing to a close. Mike said a few more things and then everyone started to get up to go. He didn't pressure me to come back or anything, just said he hoped he'd see me again sometime.
On the car ride home I just zoned out thinking about the meeting and everyone's stories. I still felt like the odd man out in a way. I didn't know if that meeting actually helped me, or made me feel worse. I figured at the very least, it would take me a few days to really form an opinion on it and deal with the conflicting emotions I felt.