The room was abysmal at best. Torn paper carpeted the rotting floor. A dingy table leaned in the center of the room, next to a couch old enough to have probably been used to furnish caves by the Neanderthals.
A man sat on the couch. His clothes were torn and frayed, splattered with grease and tears. He had the face of someone who could have been at one time a handsome man, but his scraggy face paid no testament to his former attractiveness. He wasn’t an old man by any account, hardly thirty years of age but he looked much older. The scarce hairs on his head were streaked with gray. His steely eyes stared vacantly, traumatic memories swirling in their pensive depths.
From afar, he looked like any common drug-addict. The kind of person kids whisper about and adults scoff at. But his eyes exuded grief.
He used to be an intelligent person, acing all his exams and being the epitome of sensibleness at one time. But with this gift, like with all gifts, came a curse. He was too arrogant and selfish to love. He thought it was beneath him to delve into such basic trivialities, which were nothing more than flaws in our psyche.
And like all gifts, it had an expiration date.
After a constant stream of successes, his downfall began. The bigger they are, the harder they fall.
And he fell hard.
He lost his job and his fancy house and his shiny car. And at that moment, when he was lost and helpless, he realized he didn’t have anyone to turn to.
Fast forward one month later, later the same night, he lay draped over this musty couch, his hands lolling around. In front of him, was an empty bottle of whiskey. Another bottle was on the end table, and he grappled with it, fumbling as it slid out of his drunken grip.
He wanted not to feel as his world crashed around him; as everything he held dear to himself loomed on the brink of being lost forever. He swung the bottle towards him and took a long gulp, the alcohol burning his throat. The burn was good. It distracted him.
He fell back into the couch, silent tears sliding down his cheek. His face was scrunched into a mask of stupor fuelled sorrow.
His hands shaking, he navigated to the pocket of his trousers and extracted a bunched up tissue paper. Slowly unwrapping it, a couple of pills fell into his lap. With trembling hands, he took two of them and put them in his mouth. He then swallowed them down with an abundant sip of whiskey.
Slowly, as they dissolved in his body, he felt his movements becoming sluggish and slow. He felt distant, a rising crescendo of emptiness.
Then all he felt was numbness: a morbid absence of feeling. It should have terrified him, but it did not. He felt himself craving the numbness. It took away the pain and fear. It took away the feeling of helplessness and loneliness. It took away the feeling that he had nothing to turn to.
Slipping into the relief, he allowed himself to drift away into the abyss.
As he drifted away, he felt one last pang of regret. Regret that he had no one to hold him and no shoulder to cry on. No one to tell him that it would be okay. No one to be his anchor.
In his final moments of consciousness, he realized what he had been missing his whole life. The bottle slipped out of his hand and crashed to the floor. He realized something, and a single cry of regret escaped his lips:
There is more solace in the embrace of a best friend or the kiss of a lover or the hug of a parent than any bottle or pill in the world.
He felt the ache of absence inside of him, and he curled up and waited for the reprieve.
This story is in an odd way dedicated to all those people who have been by my side when I needed them to be. Whom I can rely on and depend upon their unconditional and unwavering support and love. Especially my mother and a few of my close friends.
Dear reader, if you read all of that, please read this and try to keep those whom you love close to you. Love them shamelessly. Enjoy unconditionally. Sacrifice your pride for them if you need to, but never lose them. Because nothing hurts more than losing someone.
Except maybe a chainsaw.