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Jonathan's Alcoholism

by Miles King 2 months ago in Short Story
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A Flash Fiction About An Alcoholic Giving Up

Tulip Fields in Northern Washington State; Personal Photo

Lifting his right hand slowly, Jonathan blindly scrubbed at the crust in his eyes, and took a shaky breath as he surveyed the room he lay in. The yellowed, once brown wall paper peeled and curled off the wall in long strips, an occasional cigarette burn mark along the room at eye level. Jon lifted his head to see if he could find a bottle, something to cure the ache blooming at the base of his skull. The ache began to feel like a stabbing sensation, increasing in pain as he moved his head. Scanning the floor, he realized how much he had the night before, how little to nothing was left for now. Panic began, tears burning in his eyes as his breath sped up and the room began to spin. White spots tethered at the edge of his vision. Nothing, there was nothing; his throat was dry, nearly choking on the emptiness in his stomach.

Mornings like this, before this man has the chance to dash to the liquor store, before the frenzy in his addictive brain begins, in the silence of his one room, small kitchen acquired lonely house on the corner of 48th, miles outside of Cedar City, Utah; Jon wishes he could change it. Go back maybe, make a difference in the choices he had made… It didn’t matter anymore, and in half an hour, when the liquor store opens, it truly won’t matter. The memories will be blissfully out of reach. But this moment, right here, right now? He misses his happiness and old life more than anything. He misses it all so much that the ache in his chest grows until he can no longer stand it.

The fifty-two year old man groans as he struggles to sit up, his large stomach working with gravity to keep him down. Bunching his fingers in the wrinkles of his duvet, Jon heaves himself to the side, and then pushes until he can sit upwards enough to catch his breath. More aches and nausea follow his thoughts down a vicious, sober rabbit hole, and before he can stop himself, Jon pushes off the bed in order to march into the kitchen on the other side of the thin wall in order to ransack the room for the keys to his truck. Maybe Suto would open the store fifteen minutes early for Jonathon, just enough time to make it out before the lunch rush in town. Just enough time to make it home before anyone can notice he had gone out in the first place. Just enough time to stay away from the real world.

Hours later finds Jon on an adventure. Who knew that two fifths of rum and coke could make a person feel so young? His knees were bouncy, elbows flying, and head held high; Jon found a clarity in the haze consuming his thoughts. As he knocks his head back for another swig, the warmth and sensation of a blanket surrounds his body, as if he were to lay in a nest of heated blankets. The warmth was so comforting it almost brought tears to his eyes; Jonathan had to slow his steps and purposefully quiet his breathing in order to continue moving forward. Nostalgia, that was the word for this hybrid ache and comfort coming from both sides at equal strength. Jon knows he has a problem. He knows he won’t survive like this much longer, that drinking pushed everything and everyone he knew away. But he can’t bring himself to stop, he can’t fathom his life without being able to cope. Without being able to think.

“So stupid…” He grumbles. Jon slows to a stop and finds a seat on a wooden bench along the pathway. Everyone thinks I’m so god damn stupid. Jon’s inner monologue follows the lines of sympathy, attempting for empathy. Empathy for himself. Yet he can’t bring himself to mind the problems at hand. Is he a bad person for not caring? Is he, is he broken? Why doesn’t his life matter to himself? Shouldn’t it? Fuck! His head hurt from this type of thinking, Jon doesn’t have fucking time for this. His inner voice could leave for all he cared.

Jonathon went to bed that night in a half awake drunken stupor, an incredibly high heart rate, a feeling of stones in his lungs as a sharp stabbing sensation knotted itself into his lower abdomen. He didn’t understand what it would really mean if he didn’t wake up in the morning. I understood.

Short Story

About the author

Miles King

Published Author; Student; Peace Corps Representative

Writing has been a long time coming for me! I am a connesour of flash fiction, poetry, and journalism. Please message for any collaboration of job offers:)

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