A Life More Ordinary
A Life More Ordinary
I tossed my bag of school papers onto my couch and rushed into the kitchen. The one night I needed it and there was no bourbon in the house. Not even any vodka in the freezer. I heard that vodka won’t freeze because of the low freezing point of alcohol. But all spirits have alcohol, why doesn’t anyone put scotch in their freezer? Maybe they don’t want to look like a pussy.
I kept my alcohol, when I had any, in the pantry right next to the cereal. Those were usually the two things I was after. Bourbon or Froot Loops. But never together. Not again, anyway.
The pantry emptily winked at me, no bourbon and no cereal. It was a real shitter of a day.
The rest of my house was about as empty as my pantry, or my soul if you asked certain individuals. There was a couch in the living room, but it wasn’t specifically facing anything. There was no television, no DVD player, I had a laptop that functioned as my all-round home entertainment system. If I was ever drunk enough to want entertaining. The living room was just a space to sit, or drink. I never drank in bed. The carpet was dirty, but it was like that when I moved in. There was always a faint smell of wet dog in the house, but I usually managed not to take it out into the real world with me. When you worked in an environment with nearly a thousand hormonal adolescents someone would very quickly tell you when you smelled like wet dog.
My kitchen had a nice enough table and two chairs. I bought the second one when Elina first planned to visit. The chairs didn’t match, but I never really cared, neither did Elina it would seem. I owned a fridge, though never had much in it, and there was an oven so I never bothered with a microwave. As you could imagine, there was minimal cutlery and placement settings. I was rarely out to impress.
I walked up the stairs that led into my bedroom, the only room above the ground floor, excepting the en suite. I kept my clothes on my stairs more than I did my small wardrobe; as I walked I saw I still had three different piles, it must have been Wednesday. It wasn’t a preference to put the clothes on the stairs, more just a habit that I quickly fell into. They were wooden stairs, probably carpeted once upon a time. I liked the sound my shoes made as I ascended each night. Much better than the sound my sober bare feet made descending each morning.
My bedroom sprawled out in front of me, as impressive as anything else in the house. The bed was never made. It didn’t made sense to me to spend each morning tucking in sheets that I wouldn’t want tucked that night when I retired after a few drinks. I also once heard a theory that bed bugs loved the warmth that was trapped when you made a bed really tightly. It was grounds enough for me to stop completing that chore. My top cover was thick and dark, I felt no need to have a top sheet. The bottom sheet was dark, and I washed it once a week, drying it quickly and putting it back into action as I did not yet own a second sheet to form a rotational basis with. Every weekend was the weekend that I was going to buy that extra sheet. I guess things just always got in the way.
Sometimes I wouldn’t get the sheet dry in time and would sleep on the mattress. It really wasn’t that bad, but it wasn’t something you would brag about either.
As much as my house was slightly messy, it was always clean. I owned an extensive collection of foamy sprays and acidic powders that could be used on all of the surfaces within the house. I wasn’t a dirty person, just someone with a busy mind who didn’t fill his life with useless furniture. It was Spartan by way of laziness.
I could remember once going to a second hand book shop in a small town on the Hume Highway that was run by an autistic fellow. That store had no system whatsoever, and he would buy whatever people brought in. If you wanted to find something you just had to look and hope. He didn’t even know everything that he had. It was a great store because you had just as much chance of finding a hidden gem as anyone else. And he rarely knew how to price things in any sort of comparison to real world economy. It would have felt like you were taking advantage of him, if it weren’t so much fun. Looking down each aisle of books was like finding a new country that hadn’t been colonised, raped and repackaged for a generic audience. It was haphazard, but was also very natural.
That bookstore had the same system as my bedroom. There were books everywhere; along the walls, around the bed, under the bed, in the bed, stacked on shelves, creating shelves, and in the en suite in just as many random places. I liked books and I liked having them close. I never knew what I might want to read. I kept my options open.
But, I wasn’t home for books. I changed my shirt and walked into the en suite with my shirt still unbuttoned. The light in the en suite was the brightest one in the house by far, or at least seemed it because of the extremely white walls. I looked into the mirror.
I wasn’t eating enough.
I was drinking too much.
I needed some exercise.
I needed less time in pubs.
I needed some sun.
I needed a life. Any life.
It’s hard to look at yourself and know that your life is nowhere near perfect but know that you just don’t care enough to put it all together. Not again. What’s the use of building a perfect life if it can so easily be taken away from you? Redundant was the key word in my head, and in my life.
My chest was shallow, like I had been injured and never fully healed back to life. That was actually true enough. There was some hair there, it floated around like debris in the water after a boating accident.
As I looked up into my eyes, I saw what I thought of myself. I had given up. It looked like there was less blue in my eyes now, and my hair had grown longer. It hung dead across my face as it brushed my nose.
I held my beating well. It didn’t look like I had fallen down a flight of stairs, but if anyone took the time to inspect me they’d see the slight swollen areas that rose like dough in the oven. The cut across my lip was not too deep, but I knew I would run my tongue across it for a week and not aid its healing at all. I was serviceable but no longer showroom condition.
I didn’t even shave every day for work. There was a time that I would have considered such complacency a horror, but so quickly it became just who I was. The stubble on my face was another barrier I put up between myself and everything around me.
Elina had never minded the stubble, even liked it at times.
I couldn’t think about Elina. Not without any fresh bourbon anyway.
The small container in the mirrored cupboard had enough ibuprofen to get me through the night and past the fight. If that didn’t drown out the ringing in my head then the alcohol sure would. I was sore but like a seasoned drinker I knew it would be much worse in the morning. A drinking hangover was bad enough, couple it with the panel-beating I had received and I knew my bed was going to be hard to escape come sun up. It was nothing to cry about though, I had somewhere to be and someone to see.
I rushed out of the house, buttoning my shirt as I went. There was a shitty pub I could go to while I waited to go meet her.