Confessions of a drinker student abroad

Sunday, December 26, 2010


Here we are, sitting by the fire on Christmas night. I could regale you with tales of the airports, and my illness, doctors and car rides and candy and gifts, but you know, when it all boils down those things don't mean a lot. What does mean a lot? Togetherness? Bollocks, that's just a word, and even worse it's a word that avoids true meaning in preference of psychological weight. For example, I'm not together with many of the people that mean a great deal in my life. I am with some of the most important ones, but being together with those you care about is usually impossible.

Christmas is that time when we remember, yeah, everything. I remember it all. Not necessarily because of a particular fondness for these memories, or the overwhelming urge to wallow in them, but rather because these are my memories, they are a part of me, and I choose to remember. Without this particular collection of memories I become nothing more than I was a few years ago, and let's face it, that dude may have deserved what happened, maybe not, but it definitely had to happen to him in order for him to become me. And so, it's not a sad night sitting here by the fire, but kind of a happy one. It's a celebration. So, we're going to celebrate, by going back to a crucial night, and looking at some paintings.

The Lake

The courtyard hung out over the lake in the moonlight. The silence of the night is broken by students laughing and splashing out on the dock in the middle. Despite the swimmers it's a cold night, clear and cold, with the stars dotting the sky above, just barely visible through the glow of the streetlights. On the balcony however the only sounds that can be heard are the gurgle of the fountain, and the cool rush of the wind sweeping over the campus.
Seated on a bench near the fountain sit a young couple, her head leaning tenderly on his shoulder. His arm around her draws her in tight, shielding her from the chill night air as best he can. As the moon bathes them in a glow a faint glistening tear rolls down her freckled cheek. As the stars gaze closer they see that it is not alone, and that many tears have woven their way delicately across that soft hillside. Stealing a quick glance at the young man reveals that although his eyes are dry, his lip is trembling, and there is an ache behind his eyes. He draws his feet up under him, and as though his resolve is being pulled from the bricks themselves he gives her one last hug. He stands up, she reaches for his hand, but they both know it's too late. He brushes her hair back behind her ear, and with a murmured word in her ear turns, and walks down the wall to the gate. Her hand hangs in the air, reaching out for him, but he never looks back. Perhaps it was resolve that steadied him, perhaps it was pity, knowing that she needed to let him go, either way, she never knew. She never saw the bruised hand, the scratched knuckles, and the blood left on the stone wall around the corner. She never saw just how wrong he had been all along.

The Cubbyhole

Down the street from the library, across from the Mosque, stood an old house. A grand old house, one that had seen many days of glory and happiness before falling upon hard times. These were not those days. These were the days where the shingles fell off, and beer bottles were thrown on the front lawn. The front parlor that had once been well furnished and comfortable housed a stereo system, and a dance floor. The kitchen held nothing but dirty dishes and half empty fridges. The carpeted upstairs that had once been the residence of wealthy men, was now a ramshackle cross between a dormitory and a bar.
Up the narrow back stairs to the third floor lay a rickety broken door, hanging from its hinges. Through that door lay a dingy apartment, more dishes piled in the sink, more bottles filling the garbage cans. Across the hall from the refrigerator was a small cut out of the wall. About four feet high by 10 feet long, deep enough to pile suitcases, and desks and an old television. Behind a layer of stored materials however one could see the protruding foot of a young man. He lay in a rag tag collection of blankets and donated pillows, sheltered for the night, even for the weekend, from the cold snows, the drunks downstairs, and most of all from the memories locked up in his own room. Soon enough Sunday morning would come, soon enough he would have to leave this sanctuary behind and go back to the real world., soon, but not now...for now, he sleeps in quiet, surrounded by the cast off belongings of a house without care.

There's two for you. I shall try to get more of them down while I have time over break. :) I know I promised you all a lot less angst, well, angst isn't coming, this is just a realistic look at the things which were. A celebration of the reality and forgiveness of this most peaceful night. Merry Christmas to all.


No comments:

Post a Comment