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Drinking Fire and Ice
The night isn’t kind to this home. Where the day’s trials have piled up, withheld from the sun, they spill out and fester under the moon. The poisons of addiction, insanity, and despair seep out of the doorway and scuttle away to choke our neighbors and friends. It is as if the house has given up on love and faith and allowed the devil’s workers to take shelter in its pipes. There is no help to turn to, and I fear that I am lost until the morning sun rises and I can leave.
I have tried to leave this house at night and seek solace, but where is there solace at night? Where is one to go in this modern world where trust is scarce and lies abound? Like a dog on a leash I had to circle back, for the whispering demons in this house may poison my mind, but the demons in the woods are alive and hungry.
I whisper like a child that I want to go home, even though I am home. A home where god, dignity, and diligence were tough on the body but soothing to the soul. Sleep is my portal to another time. Sleep is my solace, to sink into my innocent subconscious and return to the home without demons. Where evil is dark and death, and pain is physical.
The demons hide in the sun, where eyes watch, judging, keeping my heart safe for a time. I wake in the morning to find that it is a modern world I live in full of work and history. Time is exponential, and the days are short, lately. Ears do not judge like eyes do, and though we may hear a wolf cry in the dark, our homes, these walls protect us from confrontation and duty. Our neighbors may hear a song in the day, they may hear a person pass by their house, sobbing at 10 PM, but their ears mouths and doors are closed. Silent witnesses to the horrors heard.
I returned home today to find that the sun was low in the sky once more, and my father’s truck was missing from the drive way. The clean one, I once thought him, but time has revealed that he has buried his troubles deeper than others and reveals his sin with neglect. One beer does not hurt my heart. It does not hide who you are from the world like a bottle of vodka will do, but many beers, and many cigars have cause my father to slowly sink into a distant euphoria. The truck is not in the driveway, but my father is watching TV in his room, his fishing partner has driven him home. How many beers does it take for 6 foot man with great beer belly to get drunk? I don’t know how one man can consume so much in such a short amount of time, but there my father lays, propped up lazily on one elbow with a false, lopsided grin plastered on his face. I’ve set one foot into the room and already I’m retreating, closing the door behind me before sin will spill out of his mouth and pour into my ears, staining my memory of him. Seeing him like this is like seeing the fall of an angel from grace. Why you would turn your back to such privilege and beauty is beyond many, but more clear to me than I would like.
My father is still cleanest in my eyes. I am more like him in comparison to the other side of my family, and if I had to choose one of my family members to live with, I would still choose him. I am like my father, in that I feel little. We are like ice where my mother and sister are like fire. Passion and rage lie in the bottle of my mother where sloth and gluttony lie in my father’s. From their respective cups, my sister and I drank.
And there lies the root of evil. In my mother’s veins runs an inherited poison, drawing her to alcohol like a moth to a flame. Pride. That is my mother when she is not drunk. She takes pride in her home, work and studies, but when she’s given into temptation, control replaces pride and she is god of this house. She reins with terror and threat, playing games with my mind.
As a child, the danger was physical and I have one distinct memory of holding my father’s hand while we walked away from a house as my mother throws alarm clocks, cell phones and anything she can get her hands on out the door, screaming at us. In the present, the threat is different, but the pain and fear I feel are of the same degree. One moment she’s “mom” and then next she’s “Cheryl”, her name, but the name I associate with her second personality. The stark contrast is like having a loved one die. One moment they’re there and the next they’re not and you don’t know how much they affect your life until they’re gone. For me, one moment my mother’s caring and considerate of her children, but the next she’s evil, hijacked by poison she has chosen to take. The crux is that she’s chosen to become a malevolent nymph, over her usual hard working self. This evil self of her has driven my sister to insanity and my father into despair.
While I have run and hidden myself from the mother I cannot trust, my sister has clung to her, refusing to recognize the difference, and in this way, we have been driven to the opposite sides of the universe. We are hurt in different ways, my sister and I, and while she has retained a taste for feelings and drama at the cost of her mental stability, I have grown old and withered to protect my sanity.
I feel nothing when a friend is in pain, for I feel nothing when I am in pain. No pity, no empathy. It estranges me, makes me mean in a sense that I can’t help when help is needed. I am cold to the world and myself, and self hatred abounds. In my sister I see the opposite. Self-love abounds. Where she is the tropics and sun, I am the tundra and the moon.
Love and hatred both run hot in her, burning her mind and emotions to insanity. The colors she sees are a brighter hue than reality. Love and pain are endless for her, but this stark contrast has driven her friends away. A cycle or rage, sadness and joy have halted her mental growth and she is a13 year-old in a 20 year-old’s body. Where she is younger than reality, at times I feel old beyond my years. Everything is in perspective and everything is compared. I don’t know how to have fun and laugh with friends because I am counting my responsibilities and scrutinizing those around me. I always wonder, how it will turn out for us in the end.
What is it like to live in a happy household? How does it feel to look forward to your college years, rather than looking forward to retirement? What joys am I missing? Is it a glimpse into sanity or insanity when I feel happy for no reason and dance and sing alone? These questions I ask myself, but trust no one else to answer, for no one do I feel understands my situation better than me. I recognize the sins within others, and trust them not, as they cannot help themselves. I only trust the mysterious, the strangers on the street who have not revealed themselves, and are thus perfect in my eyes. I have but one resolve and that is to hibernate within myself, crying at night and living the façade of a teenager during the day. A tired soul in a child’s body, I look at myself in the mirror every day and do not recognize myself. I wait to be released from this cage, and hope that rather than a wilting flower, I am a dormant seed.