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It's Nelly's World

Drunk Again

alec vanderboom

Have you ever had an emotion hangover? It's worse than the day after those four martinis you artfully talked yourself around, because not only do you feel physically sick, you are also empty, corroded from inside, and certain you must be black and blue, although when you look there's no evidence of it on your skin.

That was the result of the emotion binge I went on last week, when all the heavy boxes I had precariously stacked
on the closet shelf -- there! that's handled, she smartly tells herself and shuts the door -- came tumbling, brutally, out at once. Knocked senseless to the floor by cartons of realizations.

Every damn thing was in there--every wound, every anxious moment, every aspect of how I live my life from how I greet the store clerk to what ambition I have as a writer, every piece of what I am, or were, or will be.

A Dark Night of the Soul was had there, in the closet, all my psychic possessions now naked on the floor, where I could see them exactly for what they are.

The next day, puking sick. Revisiting the site, like the party that never got cleaned up, I saw all of it still strewn, and now I could see how meticulously built the whole thing had been, over the past few weeks, this disaster meant to resemble the original disaster I've repeated and repeated and repeated my entire life.

I have used others, too, in my precise creation (that which hides as it simultaneously rips off veils, endlessly). To them I say, I am sorry. It's not your fault. Even if I do still want to spit bullets at them for their selfish cruelties. I never claimed consistency. Still, I apologize. I was the one who cast them in this drama. I was the one who wrote the play.

The day after it all fell on me, after I wiped up a bit, no hair of the dog available, I placed an emergency call to the only one I could think of, my go-to guy for truth, A. He ladled it out in ample spoonfuls, an act of generosity. Then an emergency visit to the shrink, where she commented, "You know, A. really loves you. Maybe more than anyone else." I know, I know. Perhaps this, then, is the curative that will bring about the end. So that I will never again find myself on the floor among the detritus of what I always do.

Then, to the walk with my dog, the streaks of tears dried by the stiff spring wind blowing across the freshly tilled cornfields. Not the portion of fields where I'd been--the one of the deadly rat poison, the one with the carcass of raccoon into which the dogs would delicately dip their pulse points like teens at the perfume counter--but the other one. The one that to Nelly is a candy store of wild animals; the one where I've lost her, time after time.

From the point ten minutes in that she flushed the wild turkeys, then, she was gone. I took the walk by myself, cursing myself for coming back here again. Why do I keep looking into the alluring blue eyes of disaster, and proceed anyway? Another box hit me on the head.

Sick of this, too, I tell you. I rounded the field, wondering how I was going to find her in the twenty minutes I had left. That is as nothing in Nelly-time. I stopped to listen; do you know how many birdsongs precisely mimic the distant sound of dog tags jangling? Oh, she was well and truly gone. Why did I come here, the scene of past lives in hell?

I walked back, dejected and pissed at myself. The car came into sight, way over there. And then, what's that? Can it be? Nelly! She was there, waiting. She had thought it was I who was gone. She was now ecstatic to see me. She ran to the encircling leash.

And so, this time it did in fact end differently. I am thinking, now is the time for it all to finally end differently. I am going to try, in twelve steps or less. The first is to stay away from anyone I can write into the script called "Here We Go Again." I hate hangovers. Today is the first day of the rest of my life.