23 May 2024

09 – Bitterness

I inhale the comforting smell of my drink. There’s nothing like a whiskey, even a cheap one, to calm my racing mind. I swirl the ice cubes in my glass. The sound they make as they clink together lulls my ear. After only a few clashes, they have already melted. Damn heat.

I bring the glass to my lips and fill my mouth with this sweet nectar. I quietly wait until the passage of the liquid on my tongue has finished numbing and burning my senses. Hardly have I swallowed the sip that I already feel appeased. But it is not enough to calm me down completely. Nothing is. At least the familiar taste and feel helps me to come to my senses and think clearly.

Despite this hellish heat, the country is rather pretty and welcoming. The change of scenery is good for me. The parties I organize over and over again exhaust me. I am a perfect chameleon, but despite that, I enjoy the moments I spend alone. The ones where I don’t need to appear and play a role. I am becoming increasingly unhappy with John Duncan. I am John Seed. This trip allows me to be in the moment. Like when I hit that prisoner.

Too bad he didn’t say anything. Confessing always eases the conscience. My parents taught me that you always have something to blame yourself for, even when you think you are innocent. Now I think about them. The Duncans. How many hours have I spent on my knees in the middle of the night, on the kitchen floor or in the basement, praying and confessing imaginary sins so they would stop punishing me ?

I suddenly feel an uncontrollable urge to pour myself a second glass of whiskey. The trick is to keep my balance, so I don’t tip over to the other side. I can’t. Every time, it’s the same. A first glass to stop the thought flow. A second one to calm me down. A third one for pleasure, and then everything follows. In the end, it’s not so bad. It keeps me from thinking too much, the times when the hardest moments of my childhood come back to me. Like the ones when old mad Seed used to beat me and my brothers. Or worse, the times my older brother, Jacob, would take the hits for me to protect me.

We were separated when I was still very young. I never had a chance to tell him how much those times hurt. What’s the point, anyway ? I don’t know what happened to my brothers, but I’m sure they wouldn’t want me around. After all, I am responsible for our separation. It was my teachers who noticed the welts on my body and alerted social services. I should have hidden them better. The Duncans were right : I definitely am an evil child.

I raise the glass to my lips again to forget. But suddenly, another image invades my mind. Him. Dani. My heart leaps in my chest. What if, instead of drowning in alcohol, I took action tonight ?


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