The Other Shoe


Imagine it: Everything works out.

It’s a fantasy that every alcoholic/addict has at some point. Each of us has been tied to the pendulum on the downswing, and, almost always,  we have learned to travel at high velocities — hurtling ourselves toward impending disaster. Catastrophe has been bequeathed to us in perpetuity.  So, these days, I find myself wondering — what is the meaning of this? This uncharted feeling. Is it — happiness?

No. It can’t be.

For a drunk, it’s expected that, with sobriety, the release from some amount of psychic pain is imminent. Certain issues — more often than not — resolve automatically as a result of the whiskey-fueled-inferno being extinguished. But, do not mistake a temporary resolution for normalcy. No. — It has been my long standing belief that Alkies, such as myself, never graduate to “hunky-dory status.” There is no way to truly leave behind the murky half-memories of a crazed existence — those spells of insanity made possible only by excessive quantities of bourbon, angst, and the constant threat of emotional squalor. This “hunky-dory”? — A myth. I’m certain of it. Or, am I?

I tap my foot nervously while I sit, comfortably, at my kitchen table. I’ve been living here, in this apartment, for almost three years. Even with nothing hanging on my walls, there is a sense of permanence. A stability. A reassuring goodness that, today, is decidedly — off. I woke up this morning  grappling with an unsettling feeling that — I do not feel unsettled. A notion so foreign that, in its ease, lies its own inexplicable difficulty.

When does the other shoe drop?

Is this faith? — Moving in and out of my own equilibrium? I hang tight to some invisible force that tethers me.  A strong and strange pull that’s enough to carry the full weight of me. I’m moving into an upswing — I think. I feel my feet release from gravity.

This is it — a new feeling — an uncomfortably good one too.

On the way out the door, I lace up my sneakers, real tight — just in case.


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