Friday, October 28, 2016

Chapter 21

This is the beginning of the first chapter of Part III:



I lit my first cigarette and watched a small kid
Cussin’ at a can he was kickin’
Then I crossed the empty street
and caught the Sunday smell of someone fryin’ chicken
And it took me back to something
That I’d lost somehow, somewhere along the way

- Kris Kristofferson, “Sunday Morning Coming Down”

We lived in a four bedroom loft apartment on the top floor of a ten story apartment building, directly beneath the fifty-foot golden clock tower perched atop the building, which lit up Greektown and the Near West side like an Athenian full moon. If I felt out of place amongst the yuppie crowd in the lecture halls and library aisles of my law school downtown, things aren’t much better in my home neighborhood of Greektown, where I am an Irishmen in search of whiskey and sports on streets that were lined only with classical architectural columns and statutes of Greek gods, where the storefronts are adorned with Christian relics, homemade wax candles, wines and cheeses, where the streets are lit up with the neon lights spelling out “Greek Islands,” “Artopolis,” “Rodity’s,” “Pegasus Restaurant and Tavern,” “Santorini” and “The Parthenon,” out of place among the old men and women in wool caps waiting at the bus stops and the thirty-something parents pushing newborns in strollers. I don't even like fucking gyros. Some dozen miles away, I might have found home in the tree-lined streets of Wrigleyville or Lincoln Park, where young college students and post-grads like myself guzzled beers on the front porches of townhouses and in the windows of Chicago’s corner bars and pubs while searching for their way in the world, but since I was in Petoskey all summer I left the apartment search in the hands of my roommate Ryan, the Naperville native; I didn’t give Chicago the forethought I should have, in retrospect. The only place I feel any semblance of home in Chicago is up in the tenth floor window of our apartment skyrise beneath the clock tower, listening to Red Wings play by play announcer Ken Kal narrate another winter night in Chicago for me through my headphones, a tall glass of whiskey soda at my side, but even there, I’m usually alone; I would often get up at whistle breaks and intermissions, to look out the living room window into the Chicago night, the skyline bedazzled with glimmers of red and white lights in the Sears Tower and other skyscrapers -- great Chicago, where my classmates and roommates are out beginning the rest of their lives, and I’m amazed that in a city so immense I could feel so utterly alone.

Most mornings, I take for granted the view of the sun rising from the East over the cityscape; its appeal had quickly been lost on account of the blinding light it greeted me with every morning at six a.m.. But something in the whiskey beckoned me towards the apartment windows at night time. It was all there at my fingertips, the vast skyline domineered by the geometric angles of the skyscrapers, reaching for stars mired by smog; the steeple-topped churches humbly genuflecting at the feet of the steel skyscrapers; the factory chimneys waving endless handkerchiefs of smoke into the frostbitten air; and behind it all lurked the mysterious enormity of Lake Michigan frozen over, where icebergs squeezed forwards towards Lakeshore Drive, hoping to climb ashore and rest their weary masses; even further out on the edge horizon lurk the deepest depths of Lake Michigan, where the souls of sailors lost to the Great Lakes are frozen in debaucherous howls in the ship graveyards at the cavernous bottoms of the lake. The slow march of life and death exists outside my window, but I am stuck inside that tenth floor apartment, alone in a room with a guy that I judge worse than anyone else, stuck in the past. 

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Michigan State

This game will always be for when you stopped saying I love you the day after I got out of the psychiatric emergency room, for never once even bothering to ask if I was okay.

Fuck people and Fuck State. See ya in East Lansing in two weeks.


Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Wednesday, Before Dawn -- Notes for the Therapist

It's that little souvenir of a terrible year
Which makes my eyes feel sore
And who would've thought the books that you brought
Were all I loved you for
Oh the devil in me said go down to the shed
I know where I belong
But the only thing I ever really wanted to say
Was wrong, was wrong, was wrong

It's that little souvenir of a colorful year
Which makes me smile inside
So I cynically, cynically say the world is that way
Surpise, surpise, surpise, surpise surpise

Here's where the story ends
Oh here's where the story ends

- The Sundays, "Here's Where the Story Ends"

It's that feeling of coming alive when the depression breaks after a bad episode, when the Sunday and Monday blues fade into the manic highs of Thursday, Friday, Saturday. It feels all too similar to my drinking years (note to self: discuss this phenomenon with the new therapist), when I would suffer through withdrawal in a world all of my own on Sunday and Monday only to be reborn again on Wednesday or Thursday, when I would emerge from the despair and isolation of alcoholic hell into the outside world again. It's like the depression is mimicking those years, making me revisit old visions and memories that I had revisited plenty of goddamn times by now thank you very much. Listened to this song this morning (read: dawn) after a sleepless night -- still no sign of the sunrise -- and it made me feel alive again after a rough two and a half days in which I spent a lot of time in bed feeling homesick and singing the blues (strange as it was the first time I had struggled with a depressive episode since moving to Superior). I don't know what it's like for most people; maybe they feel alive all the time. But for me, I've learned to appreciate those moments when you feel truly alive, when the darkness breaks and the sunrise of a new day peaks its head over the horizon.

Nevermind. You wouldn't understand.