I didn’t want to wake up, I didn’t want to confront anyone or do anything so I stayed in bed once I had returned and hid in the sheets. Though no one dared approach me anyway. I had been outcast by my family. Quarantined and stifling in the freezing atmosphere of the cold shoulder, I couldn’t think. I couldn’t breathe.
Feeling emotionally wrought, I begged my siblings for understanding. I needed
attention support but they had resolved to keep out of it, in effect pretending that I wasn’t there at all. I couldn’t bare being invisible any longer so I chose to run again but this time a little further than down the road to the local.
I hastily packed a bag of clean pants and toiletries and headed to the train station. In the midst of purchasing a one way ticket to anywhere I got a call from an old friend. She persuaded me to stay with her for now, it had been a while since I had visited.
The train wasn’t due for a while and I had been ignoring a barrage of calls from my family; I took this time check their messages on my voicemail.
“Where are you?”
“What the fuck do think you’re doing?”
“You’re not running away to kill yourself!”
“You better be in this house in the next ten minutes or I’m calling the police!”
Wish I hadn’t heard all that… Oh no. I hold back the shiver of panic, now more determined to get the hell out of here and away from them.
The train was delayed (what a surprise) and I watched anxiously as the expected time on the platform display got later and later. My phone rang constantly, I imagined with more threats. They’re going to find me if this train doesn’t show up soon As I took my eyes off the clock to look over the platform I thought I saw him, my step dad. Wow paranoid, much I put my hood up just in case. No, There he was! I could hear him approaching. My hands started to tremble. Don’t let him intimidate you, please… calm down I pretend not to notice and personify a disposition of aloofness.
“There she is,” his voice was closing in, I still hadn’t looked up; purely relying on my hearing to determine their distance.
“Excuse me?” Another voice, followed by the crackle of her radio. A copper. As I looked in her direction I realized the surrounding crowd of curious onlookers were also awaiting my response. “Yes, can I help you? I’m sorry but my train is due to arrive and I can’t miss it.” nailed it! My step dad was infuriated by my distant attitude, he was exclaiming that I can’t get on any train, that I was a risk to myself and others. although this was true But I was clearly showing no such evidence to his claims. The officer looked me up and down and I could see her disbelief. I was exuding a confidence that couldn’t be fought. He wasn’t going to win this one; I was in control.
The train scuttled along the line and with a wave I hopped on it. My step dad was still arguing his case as I departed. Phew, I made it. My mask could come off. As it did I became extremely aware of the whole coach’s gaze and gossiping whispers. I sat at the nearest available table and the seats around me were clearly avoided by other passengers; regardless of the rush hour and delays. So embarrassing!
As I sank further into my seat and sighed, “there’s no turning back now”. The adrenaline was still rushing from the confrontation, I was pleased with my performance but it left me questioning myself and my identity all the more. Is it all an act?
I brush it off and call my friend to let her know I’m on my way and to get the shot glasses out, I’m celebrating freedom! Fuck sobriety!
The weeks went by and before I knew it it was Christmas eve. I hadn’t missed a family Christmas yet but as far as I could tell they would be better off without me. I was completely lost in a void of irrational thinking, I couldn’t make sense of anything so I simply stopped trying. I felt the best way do this was to be inebriated Bring on the booze!
That night I had gone out alone, on the hunt for drama I guess. And that is just what I got. A guy was following me back to the house and I had to run to escape. (I’m a stealthy drunk ninja)
It was five in the morning as I climbed through the window because I had dropped the keys to the door. They were easily found on the front step when light broke that morning. (Ninja skills clearly don’t include night vision)
I slept the holidays away, tarnishing what tradition there once was. The following months got worse, I was still alive (surprisingly) but I was constantly getting into trouble (usually because of my big mouth) and I had awoken to a few too many strange faces, which was my least favourite part of the whole “alcoholic lifestyle” I had fallen into.
I became more paranoid and fearful of the “what ifs” created by the drunken blackouts and was on edge, jumping at every misheard murmur from the shadows, just out of sight. Dark feelings stirred rabidly with every shot of the strong stuff. Nowhere was safe.