According to Ferret, George's cookout today was a huge success.
"There was about twenty people there out at the lake," he told me excitedly. "We all drank beer, grilled burgers, fished, and talked about various things. It was so awesome to get to drink free beer instead of that damn mouthwash. George's mother made potato salad and the most delicious baked beans I have ever eaten. George can grill a damn good burger as well."
George's mother is an incredible old southern style cook. I felt so left out and alone. I wanted to go so badly. I want to be able to go to parties, drink beer, and have fun like normal people.
"Want a sandwich?" I then asked Ferret, worried he was probably too full from lunch. He ate anyway -- a homeless man never turning down a free meal.
I had prepared some egg salad sandwiches for Rosa's and my lunch. I made some extra wax paper wrapped sandwiches to carry down to the shopping center to give out to Big S, Ferret, and Clara, or anyone who wanted any. I ate quite a few myself on the walk down there.
"George kept talking about you," Ferret said in between bites of his sandwich -- his mouth full as he talked. "Said it just wasn't the same without you there. He loves you to death."
I left Ferret talking to Clara and Big S and walked back down to the tracks and disappeared behind that grand old abandoned cotton mill. I was sulking. On the loading dock behind the mill, my cheap Wal-Mart tent still sat after all this time after my urban camping experiment down here months ago. I looked inside and it was still water free after all the rains we had recently. My magazines, a cheap flashlight, and an old pillow sat inside dry, safe, unused, and neglected. I was rather surprised all this hadn't been stolen or torn apart. It goes to show how isolated and unused this little area is, nestled in between that huge old mill building and the railroad tracks beyond the river. I crawled inside and sat Indian style upon the hard concrete for a long while listening to the wind whistle in the broken panes of glass in the windows of the cotton mill behind me. Frustrated tears began to roll down my cheeks, my cigarettes my only solace. I felt safe, isolated, and alone, and I let the tears flow freely knowing no one would ever know I broke down sobbing. I wanted a drink so badly. It has been a long and tough day.
I wiped the tears from my eyes and walked across the highway, past the service center, to my fortress of solitude -- that little park across the highway from the cotton mill. I sat on a bench as I pulled a bottle of Gatorade out of my backpack, taking long drinks between pulls of cigarette smoke. Pigeons scurried at my feet taking furtive drinks of water from the muddy and tepid puddles on the ground. Squirrels ran playfully up and down the big, old oaks that surrounded me. These are my true friends, I thought of my little feathered and furry companions. They don't encourage me to drink and bring true joy to my soul. It was then that I thought of just walking out of town to just disappear from life. I looked in my wallet to find two hundred dollars and some change -- just enough to feed me for a few weeks or to buy a bus ticket. I longingly looked down upon the highway running out past the city limits. Wanderlust called out to me.
I can't bring myself to ask for help -- to call out to Rosa or my family for aid. Which, I am sure, infuriates some of you that read. I know you all get tired of my rehashing the same old ideas about drinking and homelessness -- thoughts like a broken record. I can't bear the imagined glares I am getting from my readers about all this talk of alcoholism, the disdain. I dread what the future might hold now -- one step away from doing something rash and unthinkable. That is why I get so tired of fighting and wish to just be a drunkard of a homeless man -- my only worry being the next beer I am going to drink and where it will come from. A simple life filled with simple means and simple pleasures. I am constitutionally incapable of living life in a normal manner. My life feels like the proverbial square peg being forced into a round hole -- it just isn't working and doesn't fit.
I really need something to take. I want to call my father, the pharmacist, and ask for a few Xanax or Librium to calm my nerves -- anything to take away these urges of self destruction, this all encompassing will to drink. A few pills to make me sleep peacefully and restfully. To wake refreshed and anew. He will not give me any for fears of it causing me to want to drink with even more earnestness. It is maddeningly frustrating. They don't want me to drink, but no one wants to help me when I am trying to stay sober. My drinking will cause spurious activity, but nary a lifted finger when I am on the wagon.
Simple things I tell myself. I need simple pleasures tonight. I am going to treat myself to some brie, big long triangle of it, and some water crackers -- a gourmet cheese and cracker usually reserved for special occasions. I paid far too much for it and it has been calling out to me to eat it. Also, the warm comforting embrace of Rosa awaits me when she gets home tonight. I can't wait to hear about her day with her granddaughter -- their relationship growing more steadfast as each day passes. I sometimes wish I had children so my usual selfish inclinations would be turned outwards towards others.