He sat in his room, alone drinking whiskey. He didn’t have any friends outside of the school setting. He was sure to get home from school as fast as he could to open up another hard bottle of whiskey.
This routine typified his high school experience. Despite his drinking, Thomas was able to get into college. His adequate grades in high school allowed him to make the trek to Chico State in northern California. He had heard that it was a party school which is what attracted him to the location. Although he drank heavily, which was characteristic of the other students, his endeavor into the matter guised a different purpose. His friends in college drank with all the best of intentions, while Thomas drank to the point of belligerence, attempting to mask the all-encompassing sorrow that had become to define his life.
Although he did not have a girlfriend of his own, he and his friend, Peter, and Peter’s girlfriend strolled to one of the neighborhood coffee shops. It was a magnificent day that he could not ignore. They sat down and enjoyed a couple of iced coffee’s where there was no more needed to enjoying the day than good conversation.
The first thing in the morning, Thomas poured a cup of coffee and lit up a cigarette. The thought of facing a day without the solace he found in alcohol was assuming, thus, he poured himself two or three glasses before class.
The first night at the dorms was memorable, in that instead of drinking to a stupor within the confines of his home, he did so in the midst of a college party in which he had been immersed. At the beginning of the night, before his drunken haze kicked in, his mask of depression was hidden well, like it had been during the morning hours in high school.
“Make a move,” one of his recently acquainted roommates said to him. “She likes you,” he said in reference to the girl who had made her way through the party to sit next to Thomas.
In response to the suggestion, Thomas took another swig of whiskey and chased it with gulp of beer. He did not know how to talk to her or how to make a forward move.
The party went on. As the hours past Thomas sank deeper and deeper into the grips of his accustomed inebriation.
At about 11:00 p.m. at night, it was time to exit the party and retreat to his room. He stumbled there to relish a few more drinks without the distraction of the party in which he could pursue his own misery.
He brought along the half-empty bottle of whiskey and turned on his stereo to a collection of his particularly depressing CD’s. It was his endeavor to despair to which he actively pursued. He put on a Willie Nelson CD. It had a fine selection of drinking songs which highlighted his mood and helped him wallow even deeper into his personal desolation.
“Whiskey River, take my mind. Don’t let her memory torture me. Whiskey River don’t run dry. You’re all I got to carry me.”(Willie Nelson)
He fought back the tears in a way he didn’t have to while he was in high school.
Over his first two years in college this was the manner in which he led his life. He was not as transparent in his misery as he believed himself to be. Although, none of his friends ever mentioned it to him, at times, they discussed it among themselves.
“What we gotta do it to find him a girlfriend,” one of his friends said to another.
Once a girl, one of his friend’s girlfriends finally confided in him. “Why do you drink so much?”
“I don’t know,” he responded. Not ready to open up to anybody, not even his close friends. He poised his answer as if he was drinking just to be part of the crowd.
She did not want to be intrusive, so she didn’t mention the oblique depression which he seemed to strive for. “You’re a smart guy.” She guided him.
She didn’t know how to tell him, she couldn’t believe he didn’t know. But she thought it would be better to tell him. “Everybody already likes you. You don’t have to drink so much.”
It didn’t quite hit him then. He continued to live his life in a bog of self-pity.
After years of depression, one day he woke up and noticed a bright, cool, spring day.
It was not through his own willpower that he made the discovery. It was only after complete resignation that he was able to discover that there were actually things to live for.
He woke up the next morning and, once again, the sky was blue and the air was crisp.
The next day, Thomas woke up early. Instead of a hangover, he enjoyed a fresh cup of coffee and a cigarette on his balcony welcoming a new day. He walked to class with his eyes wide open and as he ventured through campus he could not count all the reasons to live for. It was another sunny day. For no reason that he could name he had a smile on his face.
He got home from class and he put on one of his roommates CD’s. It was The Beatles Abbey Road. He stood on his balcony and enjoyed a cigarette and a cool glass of iced tea. He noticed one of his neighbors. Her name was Alicia. Although they had been neighbors for over five months, they did not know each other well. He gazed upon her auburn hair.
As Thomas basked in the early afternoon spring air, the music played in the background.
“Little darling, I feel that ice is slowly melting. Little darling, it feels like years since its been here. Here comes the sun and I say. It’s all right.”(The Beatles)
Alicia looked up at Thomas and flashed him a smile. He took another sip of ice tea and lit himself another cigarette savoring the invigorating spring day.