I & I

I had to look at myself before I looked at the others.  It was too was to easy to say that they where in the wrong, their life styles invited criticism in an obvious way; they drank to excess, partook in drugs, took sexual partners on a whim and fought with strangers.

Should living a life without such debauchery a point of pride?  We would all die in the end.  Would my abstinence from what society considers morally wrong really going to make a difference.  I was sure there was to be no judgement at the end, no one totting up scores to see if I would be reborn a flea or a tree, a potato or potentate, nor would my entrance into some nirvana or Valhalla be dependent on my performance during my life, of this I was sure.  Was this reason enough to be careless in my life?

So I tried it, I tried the debauched life, I drank in excess (it caused me to vomit), I took drugs (it broke my mind and consumed me whole), I had one night stands (I felt dirty, or fell in love) and I fought with strangers (when I lost I felt pain, when I won I felt anguish).  It was harder to leave that lifestyle than to enter it.  I became dependent on drugs and alcohol to relax, I lusted after women, and my temper was a constant threat.

I struggled to remember the life I had had before.  I filled my days with recovery from the previous night or hunting down drugs which would entertain me.  I lost what skills I had previously used for recreation, my body grew slow and ugly.  I looked around and saw others who lived as I did but didn’t show the signs of fatigue that I did.  It seemed I was not made for this life, so I moved away from it.  I stopped taking drugs, I drank only in moderation, I started dating a girl steadily.  I never fought with anyone.

Although I had removed the causes of my downfall I did not return to my previous life.  I had gone to far down the line, to far from the majority of society.  I could not spend time with those who had lived a clean life, we could not connect.  Their worries seemed trivial, there lives mundane.  I had reached such artificial heights that the plateau of ordinary existence bored me.

I moved away from where I had lived, left both my old lives behind.  I moved to a different country and learned a new language.  I slowly made new friends.  When I went to parties with my new friends I drank in moderation and when some reveler would offer me drugs I would decline.  No one seemed to mind.  When a girl would approach me I would speak with her, dance with her, joke with her and entertain her, but I would not allow her to touch me.  One night there was a fight and I became involved in it, I didn’t throw a punch, I just tried to separate the arguing people.  I was thanked for this.  People seemed to value my company, and thought me wise not to indulge to deeply in alcohol, they admired that I didn’t need drugs to have fun, and though they thought it strange that I didn’t bring home any of the many girls that took a fancy to me they decided that I must love someone else.  I didn’t challenge that idea, though it was untrue.  I didn’t love anyone, I didn’t love anything, I just lived from one day to the next, sometimes from one week to the next.

I wished I had never strayed from my path, had never experimented with debauchery.  I looked at men in suits, men with fine jobs, men who commanded respect and I imagined that they had never delved into low society.  They lived in a world that I would never know, and I tried to learn about my world so that I might command respect within it, but it seemed to me that I lived between worlds, or alongside worlds, but not in one and I felt lonely and slept late on those mornings which I could.

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Limerick Writers' Centre

Supporting Literature, Arts and Culture in Limerick since 2008.

NUIG Writers' Society

NUIG's society for exploring each other's writing in a welcoming environment.

The Lacklustre Emporium

The strange ravings of Joshua Kenehan, writer, illustrator, student, madman.

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