Stone drunk again, cheek against the cold surface of a tile floor. Turn over and put eyes on the door, light creeping out from beneath it. Not ready to face it, not today, I’ll come out later. I sit up and peek into the bowl. The soft glow of the night light by the mirror allows me to see the stains of vomit on the porcelain just above the water line. Too much of this lately, or maybe not enough – it doesn’t seem to matter much anymore.
For a long time when I woke up in the morning I’d feel the mattress to my right, where the indention her memory left would bring me comfort. One particular morning I reached over with my eyes still closed and felt no indention, but rather something very strange, very foreign. It wasn’t the warmth of another’s skin, like I’d hope to surprise me, but rather something cold, something stiff. I opened up my eyes to see a large cardboard box in the bed next to me. Surprised, I got up and looked it over – nothing indicating any origin besides thin air anywhere. I opened it up and looked inside, and there was nothing, so I did what any sensible person would do and got inside.
For weeks or months I lived in the box, and it worked like a charm for so long. Every now and then I could hear a voice through the cardboard, but I wanted no company in my fortress of solitude, so I fed the voice any answers it wanted until it finally left me alone. I enjoyed the darkness; I never had the light of hope burning my eyes, or the distracting glow of the circus lights in Schumacher’s Gotham keeping me from my studies and my own selfish glory. With my knees to my chest and my nose to the ground, I didn’t have to be bothered by anything I didn’t want to be bothered by. But then I got bored.
The constant darkness of the inside of the box began to wear on me, so I tried things to throw some variety into my dreary existence: cracked the flaps on the top, poked tiny holes with a needle into the sides, made a removable view hole so I could see outside if I wanted. With all of these new additions, the box lost its ability to shelter me from the light, but at first the intrusion was welcome. It had been so long since I’d seen the sun or a fluorescent bulb; I’d actually begun to miss it. Then this weekend – oh, the decision I made this weekend. I’d heard the voice earlier in the week, maybe Monday or Tuesday, and looked through my view hole to see who’d been talking to me all of this time. Truth is, I’d known who it was, but was afraid to look because I felt guilty about never being able to look the voice in the face. “Today you’ll have some courage,” I said, and I did something brash. I opened up the box and I stepped out, I walked up to the voice and stood within arm’s reach of it.
I’ve placed a towel in front of the crack at the bottom of the door, unplugged the light, and now I’m sitting on top of the closed toilet lid, running my fingers through the hairs on my chin that’ve grown thick from my laziness. When I’d turned around to retreat from her, my box - my safe haven - was no longer there, and I’d been left with nowhere to turn for isolation. I whisper softly to myself, and when I raise my voice to yell I’m doing little more than muttering. Still, I fear she’ll hear the curses I pile upon her name if she’s standing on the other side of that door. I’m equally afraid she’ll hear the prayers I send out in the hope that she will be there if I open it.
When I come out there’s only one thing on my mind. J.W. Dundee’s Honey Brown Lager is surprisingly drinkable for a drink that costs $8.99 a twelve pack. Between that and pizza and milk, I’m going to go broke before the month is up, but I don’t mind so much. The lager’s kiss is cold, but at least it’s sensual, and more importantly, at least it’s there. Don’t be surprised if you find me at the bottom of a bottle sometime soon; I’ve no classes to get up for, so I don’t intend to get up just yet. Don’t worry, though – I’ll find a way to get back on my feet, or at least somewhere new to hide.