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.