A Sobering Thought

View from My Smoking Window

View from My Smoking Window

[The Juice-Box: Anna Nalick’s “Breath (2am)” for you to listen to while you read.]

i live above a bar i never go to because i don’t believe in shitting where i live. Across the street from my apartment is a square so, while i can’t see the people in the bar, i can see them spilling across the street.

2am, last Saturday night, i was sitting and smoking at the window when i saw a group of young people pour out of the bar and onto the square. One of them was a burly guy in a black t-shirt and by the way he sloshed like a drink that was overfull, i knew he was the drunkest. His girlfriend was the cute one; i  knew she was his girlfriend because she (tentatively) took his hand before he shook her off after only a couple steps.

He struck out alone with an angry defiance that defines many drinkers, forcing the others (a four-pack of friends) to be his entourage. They then had to follow and try to talk him down with all the false jocularity of a bomb squad over a nuclear device.

Looking on the scene as a (sober) conscientious objectifier was like seeing my reflection in a gutter puddle of spilled beer. i recognized myself in the drunken boy’s swagger and heard my voice in his rising tone. What struck me hard enough to hurt, however, was the way he treated his friends. He wore on them and he wore them down and their friendship wore away with it all.

Hurting myself doesn’t hurt.

Hurting those that love me does.

____________________________________________________________________________________________

i chose “Breathe (2am)” because the above scene took place at 2am and especially because the second verse talks about drinking.

Lyrics:

“Breathe (2 AM)”

2 AM and she calls me ’cause I’m still awake,
“Can you help me unravel my latest mistake?
I don’t love him. Winter just wasn’t my season.”
Yeah we walk through the doors, so accusing their eyes,
Like they have any right at all to criticize.
Hypocrites, you’re all here for the very same reason

‘Cause you can’t jump the track, we’re like cars on a cable
And life’s like an hourglass, glued to the table
No one can find the rewind button, girl.
So cradle your head in your hands
And breathe… just breathe,
Oh breathe, just breathe

May, he turned 21 on the base at Fort Bliss.
“Just a day,” he said down to the flask in his fist.
Ain’t been sober, since maybe October of last year.
Here in town you can tell he’s been down for a while,
But, my God, it’s so beautiful when the boy smiles.
Wanna hold him. Maybe I’ll just sing about it.

Cause you can’t jump the track, we’re like cars on a cable,
And life’s like an hourglass, glued to the table.
No one can find the rewind button, boys,
So cradle your head in your hands,
And breathe… just breathe,
Oh breathe, just breathe

There’s a light at each end of this tunnel.
You shout ’cause you’re just as far in as you’ll ever be out,
And these mistakes you’ve made, you’ll just make them again.
If you only try turning around.

2 AM and I’m still awake, writing a song.
If I get it all down on paper, it’s no longer inside of me,
Threatening the life it belongs to
And I feel like I’m naked in front of the crowd
Cause these words are my diary, screaming out loud
And I know that you’ll use them however you want to.

But you can’t jump the track, we’re like cars on a cable,
And life’s like an hourglass, glued to the table.
No one can find the rewind button now,
Sing it if you understand.
And breathe, just breathe
Breathe, just breathe,
Oh breathe, just breathe,
Oh breathe, just breathe.

One thought on “A Sobering Thought

  1. “Hurting myself doesn’t hurt.
    Hurting those that love me does.”

    And yet, I’m still here. I can think of at least one group of guys that are still there for you, though, yeah, not on a daily basis…But they have acted as the bomb squad in the past, right?

    Anyway, yes, it is true. Sometimes by looking at others we see parts of ourselves reflected there which are not easy to look at.

    “Here in town you can tell he’s been down for a while,
    But, my God, it’s so beautiful when the boy smiles.”

    It is just amazing when that boy smiles and is why he is still worth my time. Yes. It hurts. It hurts to be treated certain ways by the drunk person in you. It also hurts to see him hurting himself and hurting others. Not going to candy coat it and say it does not. But I also know that is not ALL of you, not all of who you are all the time. It does wear at the relationship, for sure. But as you keep posting here, it is also the functional side that makes it bearable. There are, I noted this past weekend, some really fun aspects to him, too. He lets go and lets others in, until he gets mad at them, lol.

    I dunno. I just keep thinking, “It’s complicated.”

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