I was one day short of drinking for a week straight.
The mysterious cuts and bruises that riddled my aching body were probably a mirror reflection of my insides.
My stomach was a poisonous swamp of poor decisions and lack of impulse control
while my liver was the poor whipping boy for the sins my nicotine stained hands had committed.
As my lungs seethed and surged trying to take in the stale, smokey air around me, my bloodshot eyes scanned the tomb I had locked myself away in.
Empty cans littered the small glass table; cigarette ash still clinging to their rims.
A stack of instant ramen bowls carelessly placed inside one another leaned precariously, threatening to
spill the last few unsavoury drops of days-old kimchi at a moment's notice.
Dusty pillows were stuffed into the windows to prevent even the smallest mind-numbing ray of light from entering this
wretched place and disturbing my state of decomposition.
Slipping what remained of my cigarette into one of the many beer cans
I rubbed my eyes with clammy hands.
They burned almost as bad as the acid in my guts.
I slowly lowered my head back down onto the couch that I had all but become a part of for the past 6 days
and pulled the old blanket up to my neck with trembling arms.
As the ice-cold comforter made contact with my sickly-white skin it sent a shiver down my spine -- but it felt good.
The sudden but not unpleasant shock of the cold fabric gave way to a series of thoughts that grew insidiously
inside my hazy, war-torn mind. A series of simple but profound realizations that I so longed to have had those many
months ago. For it was not that I'd been employing alcohol as my lord and saviour for these miserable 6 days alone,
it had been a serial numbing; each bottle dragging me further asunder, smiling back at me all the while.
I outstretched my bruised arm once more to grab a cold part of the blanket, bringing it closer to my rotting core, as if
it were some sort of life support system that kept my feverish mind operating on a level of lucidity that was so rare these days.
As I continued my harrowing journey through my thoughts, more and more became painfully apparent to me.
I wasn't escaping anything anymore.
I was merely making a devil's deal, trading once source of pain for another.
Wisps of steel-blue smoke still hung low in the air as I forced my body upright, becoming entranced in deep introspection.
I closed my eyes, in an act half of self-preservation and half psyche-numbing shame.
As the orchestra of assorted day-old poison in my guts and metallic ringing in my head swelled to a crescendo,
I found myself somewhere else -- somewhere beautiful.
Somewhere almost forgotten.
As if some sort of gift for my penance by higher beings unknown, within my mind I found myself in a daydream of
unparalleled realism; one of such brilliant vivacity and colour so very unlike the place where my poor body truly was.
This gift of the mind, this daydream, was one of a simple time.
I found myself on a park bench, in the grips of autumn. The trees were still cling to their last few shimmering leaves as they wait for them
to join the others, dancing in the chilly wind.
There was a girl beside me on the bench, our hands clasped together, numb from the brisk November air.
Although I did not see her face, it became apparent very quickly that she meant very much to me.
I could feel her hand, cold and dry, moving our thumbs over one anothers fingers in that way that lovers do.
I could smell the earthy scent of decaying leaves paired with the gentle sweetness of the cold air as
as clearly as I knew my own name.
I felt the warm expansion in my chest as my heart filled with that tragically near-forgotten feeling.
Birds sang songs of dulcet tones as they flew carefree overhead; their tiny wings proudly stretched out as they made preparation for the coming snow.
Although it was cold, neither the birds nor I seemed to mind as the sun wrapped us all in it's unconditional warm embrace.
It must've been getting late because the sun was low in the sky, painting everything in warm, earthy tones of red and gold.
A smile, perhaps never so innocent, came from my stomach and crawled it's way out of my mouth.
I took a deep breath and opened my eyes.
Tears mournfully greeted my cheeks as I painfully came back down to reality.
Although it felt like hours that I sat there in silence, I could tell by the smoke still lingering in it's wispy ephemeral form
that it couldn't have been longer than a few minutes that I had dozed off.
Unchanged sat the precarious pile of ramen bowls,
the cigarette-ash trimmed beer cans, the dusty pillows
and the innumerable cuts and bruises that littered my arms and legs, and probably organs.
But one thing did change, and perhaps it was the most important thing of all.
What changed was my belief that alcohol was what I needed to feel good.
Back then, it wasn't a tallboy in my hand, it was a hand of another.
It wasn't pain in my heart, it was love.
And it wasn't smoke in my lungs, it was the cold November air.
I threw the now tear-stained blanket off my lap and pulled the pillows off the windows.
I gathered all the empty beer cans and ramen bowls and stuffed them into a garbage bag
And as I stood up and let out a sheer cry;
a cry of happiness and of relief and of renewed strength.
For I felt like I had been exhumed from this festering tomb
that I had so carelessly built around myself.
This tomb that could have been my final resting place,
had I not gained the strength to fight it.
Because once you've lost that innocent smile, it's easy to drown yourself.
It's easy to lock yourself away and stop looking for the birds.
It's easy to blot out the sun and slap away it's warm embrace.
it's easy to lay down and forget about it all.
But I'm sick of forgetting about November.