18 May 2018

Friday on the Train (Part 3)

"I'm out"
His parting words to the people at work who knew him Monday to Friday as a jocular, easy going guy. Never a moment of anger or dissension, he put in his 40 plus hours with a smile and a laugh. No one knew him outside of working hours but they felt as though they did and that allowed him to keep his descent into the darkness to himself while keeping up appearances. Long practiced at concealing his true nature, he was able to present one face to the world during the day before his mask slipped and the madness took over.
This particular Friday found him actually bounding down the steps as he hopped in an Uber for the ten minute ride to the train. The big city awaited and a weekend of semi conscious poor decision making was is the offing. Knowing that he could day drink Sunday if he left his car at home, he made sure he wouldn't be an asshole and utilized his one good choice in the next three days to take that ride.
The train always presented him with the opportunity to pre game a little, as it were. While not a fan of whisky, he knew it would smooth out the edges before he had to hang out with his distant friends who only knew him as a glad handing social drunk who loved to have a good time. He was acutely aware of appearances and his new travel coffee mug wouldn't make the return trip but held a healthy wallop of booze to give him the liquid courage he needed.
The key to drinking in public always began with knowing to keep to yourself. Headphones, an obscure book not read but well worn as a shield against unwanted conversation and a pair of shiny cop sunglasses made his face all but lost in a crowd. He took care to find a quiet spot and leaned against the window as though sleeping, occasionally taking a long pull from the mug, the whisky burning a little but warming his soul to the thought of spending time so close to where they found their happiest moments not so long ago.
Hid melancholy of the past few days was fading as he felt the heat of a boozy love give him the false hope he so longed for. While the people he would be spending time with were surface friends, he would not have to delve deep this weekend, he still had to keep that facade of happiness intact. Letting people see any sadness or weakness left him feeling like they would reject him and he would truly be alone. So onward the train went, deeper he fell into the rabbit hole of a drunk and once again the curtain came down on the one act play that was his responsibility. He cut ties to the world and let his inner demons out for another trip into the dark side. Who came out the other side of this weekend wasn't his concern, he had forgotten that anything beyond his next drink existed.

17 May 2018

Thursday at the Liquor Store (Part 2)

"Jesus Christ"
He muttered under his breath as he looked across the table at the half finished growler of double IPA without a lid on it. A reminder that he was down another Spiegelau glass after his ill fated attempt to pour with one hand last night. He knew it couldn't go on like this but was resigned that it would. How could things be any different when he kept going back to the same damn routine day after day?
Picking up the sad remnants of his now shattered IPA glass and then pouring the flat citrusy beauty left in the growler into the drain, silently cursing his drunk self for wasting such a lovely beer on a bender he couldn't afford.
Shrugging at another hangover with Tylenol and a few glasses of water, he trudged his way through the day, acknowledging his superiors in the way they were accustomed and cheering on subordinates in the way they were. Not wanting to let anyone in on his misery, he placed a mask between the world and who he truly was as he had done since long before he could remember. More days than he was willing to admit to himself existed where he was a functional alcoholic dealing with a bender and 4 hours of sleep and today was another empty slog through the motions of reality with no end in sight.
  Passing through the doors after his 10 hour shift finished, he wondered if he should just go home and try to make amends. She couldn't still be mad and maybe this time he could keep his promises. Or the other sad reality was on it's way and he headed to the nearest liquor store for reinforcements on a Thursday night alone.
Walking the aisles with a basket over one arm and his phone in the other, he looked like any other suburban dad on his way home for a few beers to BBQ with and he liked to live in that fantasy a bit. Maybe he'd let the kids sneak a sip and they'd laugh about the faces they made as his Imperial IPA made junior stick out his tongue and pretend to throw up. Kids man, who knows what else he missed out on as life crashed from one mistake to the next. Pausing at a new release from an old favourite brewery, he wondered if he should take a road trip and spend the weekend in the big city. Lots of taprooms and people he knew in a slightly familiar way would mean an a acceptable amount of cover for his continued descent into the darkness. The budget wasn't exactly loose with free cash but he figured that was a problem for Monday's man and with a long weekend approaching started making mental notes on where he could go and who he could get to join his merry band of one.
Thursday's often ended earlier than other days but tonight he was headed home with a half dozen tall boys and a mickey of cheap whiskey, a warm breeze meant he would be out on the Patio long after the lights dimmed and his neighbours went to sleep.
Drinking alone tonight wasn't on his radar that morning but as was his way, he went with whatever impulse promised even a moment's relief from his ordinary and altogether unremarkable life. Not how he envisioned things turning out but that was now beyond his scope as he immersed himself into his own little world. Delving deep into his beer, he left everything else behind as he played at a hobby masking something he couldn't understand anymore. 

16 May 2018

Wednesday in the Taproom (Part 1)

"It's fine.", he said.
Picking up the tulip glass in front of him, he held it up to the light for a moment and paused at it's cloudy golden colour. What was he doing here at 3 in the afternoon on a Wednesday? Was it because he had no where else to go or was he hiding out?
He came to the brewery just often enough to get a nod and a "Hello, how are ya?", from the guy working the taproom but not enough to become overly familiar with anyone. He took a spot at the end of the bar, 3 or 4 times a week, and had 2 glasses before leaving.
Today wasn't any different but it was. He didn't know what he was doing with his life anymore, so he came here and sat, drinking first a pale ale and now a saison. He thought, "Maybe just one more.", and despite the fact that he would probably not stop at 3, he ordered it anyway
Making his way to a table, he had already decided he wasn't going to drive home and loosened his tie with the intention of never putting it on again. Maybe it was time to change the direction of his life or maybe it was too late already.
These kinds of decisions always plagued whenever he had more than 2 glasses and as he slowly dipped his fourth beer, the sour cherry note reminded him of when he was a kid and summer meant fresh cherries from the backyard, when life was full of promise.
This kind of melancholy wasn't helping and as he set his glass down and called for the bill, he realised he had done this before, last week to be exact and now he was faced with the realisation that even the thing he loved had become part of the monotony
In the cab on the way home, he held his growler close. The double IPA inside a breakwall against the night, he hoped. Looking into sunset, he pulled out his phone & called her, again, with little hope except that of a drunk with a beer fueled optimism that he could make it better