Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The Streak - 45

Evan awoke around the time when ordinarily people dutifully rise to face the workday with all its petty tribulations. But he rolled over with a groan and buried his throbbing head beneath his pillow. When he opened his eyes again the cool and quiet light of morning had given way to the blaring sun; to cars and buses honking in the street; to a diligent and hopeful world, plainly capable of carrying on without him. It was 11:28 am.

He stared at the ceiling for a few moments and examined his condition. He had a hollow sensation in his arms and chest, surely a symptom of cocaine and ecstasy comedown, that seemed no less dire than a catastrophic depletion of life force. He was nauseous but not enough to puke. Worst of all, something alien, possibly metallic, seemed to have taken root inside his brain. When he sat up and set his feet on the floor his head swayed from its burden.

Nothing was right and everything was wrong. Everything good was corrupted and everything bad was really bad. Irredeemably bad. Evan thought about his wife and kid, how fucked up that all was, how everything Denise ever reproached him for was true. The stubbornness. The disregard. The atrocious sins of vanity. And Ryan, who only ever wanted to idolize him. All along Evan had perversely refused to let him. Why? To protect the kid? No. In fact, he had undermined Ryan's loving worship specifically in order to avoid having to even pretend to live up to it. To claim it was for Ryan's own good was a grotesque, self-serving rationalization. Though in the end, it might also be true. This was the most depressing truth of all, he realized. Could a bad thing possibly get any worse?

In a fog of self-reproach, Evan gingerly proceeded through the steps that would lead him back into the world. Pissing. Brushing his teeth. Putting on the coffee. He got in the shower and said, "Fuck." And as the first, cold drops of water rained on him: "Godammit. Cocksucker." Some people sang in the shower. He muttered curses.

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