- Inspired by the song "Standing Outside the Fire" by Garth Brooks
The atrocious and very painful hangover he felt this morning was not new. Living his life as an alcoholic for many years, it was customary.
Last night, alone, in his apartment, around 9:00 p.m., he sat in front of the television. A bottle of whiskey by his side and a six pack of beer in the refrigerator, he strived in an endeavor of inebriation which would surely lead to an early death.
Jonathan worked long hours at a menial job, bringing him sufficient money for a cheap, one room apartment in a nice part of the city. He was the manager of a fast-food restaurant. The dollars he did not spend on whiskey and beer were free to be spent on the other necessities of life such as food, shelter, and clothing. Financially independent, he was not left wanting from the income he was receiving.
He worked long hours at his job as manager. Usually he didn’t have to be to work until about twelve in the afternoon. Every night he would return to his apartment alone and begin the ceremony which had defined his life for the past fifteen years.
He was sure to keep a sufficient inventory of whiskey and beer at his apartment, so when he arrived home from work he immediately took a shot of whiskey and quickly followed it with a cold beer.
As he sat in front of the television, his morbid depression was defined by his excessive consumption of alcohol; or was it that his excessive consumption of alcohol was defined by his morbid depression?
It no longer succumbed to motive; it was simply the only lifestyle he knew. He watched the television as it pleaded with him to some sort of sanity. The movie, about a relationship which contritely mocked his own existence, did not invoke feelings of emptiness, for they were already ingrained into his soul.
Whenever the television in front of him called for them, tears would be shed. The anomaly of emotion was rare, however, and it failed to serve as a crutch to sensitivities that were a thing of the past.
He changed the channel in an attempt to mask his feelings of desolation which had graduated from those of loneliness to what amounted to be a complete lack of disposition.
He awoke this morning shortly before twelve in the p.m. to start another day. The magnitude of his hangover was nothing new to him. He poured himself a cup of coffee and then another. He turned on the television.
“The chances for rain are very good today,” the weather girl stated. She continued, “It will be overcast all day. Chances of showers tonight are expected. If you are going to go anywhere tonight be sure to wear a warm jacket and bring an umbrella.”
This was the time. There was nothing to look back to, so all that was left was to look forward to whatever may come. For years on top of years, he had led his life, haphazardly confusing misery to be merriment. This was the time for it to all change. He went through his apartment. There were empty beer bottles near his bed and more by his couch. He through them all into the garbage symbolizing, what would hopefully, be a new start.
The next morning he poured himself a cup of coffee, but not to combat the customary hangover.
A week later, getting out of bed, he realized how clear his senses were.
He decided if there ever was a time, this was it. Once again he awoke with clarity of thought which had been eclipsed from his consciousness.
He awoke one morning, put a pair of running shoes and began to jog. He, at first, jogged around the block. Soon after, he began jogging around the neighborhood at further and further distances.
“If there is ever a time,” he thought to himself, “It is now."
A man that, just over a year and a half ago was too sick to get out of bed each morning was now standing at the starting line for the Los Angeles marathon. He had been training for almost a year now, and was about to compete in a twenty-six mile journey through the city which would test his endurance in a way he did not think possible, or care enough to consider, just a short time ago.
He ran, with diligence and fortitude, mile after mile, he continued. The marathon, a test of perseverance for any man, was more meaningful to Jonathan because it represented a completed goal of resolution unthinkable to the man he had been in the past.
As he crossed the finish line, sweat covered his body and tears seeped from his eyes.
This morning Jonathan woke slightly after eight. He savored his coffee as he watched the morning news.
The weather girl began to speak, “We can expect a sunny day today. Highs should be around 72 degrees with cumulous clouds forming in the early evening hours.”