The following is part of a 20 day challenge to get into a better habit of blogging. Each day presents a new prompt. Today’s prompt: On day four, you wrote a post about losing something. Today, write about finding something. Each post is a rough draft, so please excuse typos, flights of fancy, or hyperbole. (But feel free to leave suggestions for improvement, corrections, constructive criticism or crass remarks in the comments below.)
The fluorescent lights above deliver bolts of pain to the back of my eyes. I shiver as I lie curled up on the cement floor. I look eye-level to where the seam of the yellow-painted cinder block wall meets the gray slab. In the foreground, a small drain conveniently located to push water down after hosing the floor. In a far off corner, the only thing to break up the pattern of block, a stainless steel toilet and sink combo, and a metal door.
I’m not sure how long I’ve been here. There is no clock. No voices. Just my breath and the pain in my head. I roll over and I wretch. I crawl toward the bowl. No shoes. I get my head over the toilet and I vomit.
My night, like so many lately, started out drinking at a local bar. It ended with a call. A woman, I think, invited me over. Physical touch, warmth, affection, hormones. My need to fill the void that sat in the center of my chest overcame my better judgement, already impaired by the booze. I had not made it a block down the road near my apartment when two officers pulled me over.
I must have looked pitiful. The cops were kind enough, considering the stupid situation I placed myself in. I vaguely remember the handcuffs, the hard plastic seats in the back of the cruiser, and the processing. They asked if I was depressed. I said yes. Was I suicidal? Not yet.
I reach down. They took my belt. I gag a few more times, then I sit with my back against the wall and for the first time in a long time I cry.
A mustard seed of doubt, of existential crisis planted when I was a child, watching my grandfather suffer and die, leaving me to wonder the point of it all, has come into full bloom over the past few years. Or, perhaps, it was always there, just waiting, no particular reason. I’ve sought solace in so many places. I hang my head low. I sob. The words sputter out of my lips.
“Grandpa, if your there, please help me.”
I wipe away the tears and the snot with a sleeve. I doze off for a minute, then I hear the metallic clang of the door open.
“You’re free to go,” I’m told.
I follow the guard down the hallway. I remember the processing room. I am given a slip of paper with a court date. Then someone off to the side hands me a brown bag. Inside, shoes, belt, wallet, and a pack of cigarettes.
It is grey early morning. A soft rain falls as I walk back to where the officers say they left my car, a courtesy, not having it impounded. “Please,” I mutter again. “Please.”
I hurt so bad. Then, in the middle of that walk, shivering in the cool rain, there is a brief clearing, a sudden calm.
Life goes on, you go on.
For a brief, inexplicable moment, I find hope.