If you were abused as a kid, you might be prepared for how shitty your life can get. But, even that is not without its own measure of delusion. You think you’ll finally be free of it once you become an adult, and start living your own life. Wrong. There is a pretty good chance that once you start having relationships you’ll find a similar douchebag that will treat you how you’re used to being treated. It’s comfortable. You’ve grown accustomed to the abuse, and it’s now how you perceive others as caring for you.
What’s worse than that is if you become that percentage of child-victims that later become abusers themselves. How the hell do you live with/like that? You’ll find a way to justify it, don’t worry. If not, you’ll find ways to numb what you’re feeling.
I’ll take anything to turn my brain off.
“When you’re forgetting more days than you’re remembering, and drinking to the point of drunkenness pretty much daily,” said Bizz, “that would be what I call an alcoholic.”
She ashes her cigarette on the red brick planter my grandma used to let me plant flowers in when I was a kid. Since I’ve been living here the planter is all dirt and cigarette butts. I’m a terrible tenant. Bizz opens her beer, and begins to chug, putting her cigarette out in the dirt of the planter, next to the rest. I shake a Camel Red out of my pack. My lucky. I light up as I open my beer.
Sometimes it becomes difficult for me to get at the truth of things. To discern what’s real from what is not. To understand the great deception we play on ourselves. It gets confusing deluding yourself.
“We should head to the store to pick up more beer,” Bizz says, because we’re drinking the last two, and we’re only slightly buzzed. I don’t want to get too wasted, but telling her that is pointless. Telling myself that is also pointless.
When I smash my cigarette into the planter dirt, I pick up my pack off the bricks, sorting through it for one of the four joints I mixed in with my smokes. If I have to go anywhere public, I have to smoke. People frighten me. It sucks. And since we have to venture to the store for more beer, smoking is necessary. 7-11 is just down the street, but their selection is shit.
So, we walk to the produce market, which is a little further, but they carry a large local brew selection. While there, I grab some peaches, apricots, plums, rainier cherries. Summer fruit. My birthday is in a week. I’m turning twenty-five. I’m feeling like this may be the mid-way point in my life. I’m not sure if I even want to live past fifty. I’m unprepared to get old.
Bizz sets a twelve pack of Moose Drool, and another of Stella into the cart. She’s trying on some cat’s eye sunglasses when I notice this guy that looks like my dad. I mean, exactly. Only my dad died five years ago, and that was in California. Shit, he’s even dressed like my dad. My mouth is probably hanging open when Bizz finally looks over at my awestruck face. Her eyes follow my gaze, then echo it. What the fuck. So, this man who looks exactly like my dad, but couldn’t possibly be my dad, finally looks over at us, confused by the ridiculousness of our expressions. He waves, and continues shopping.
Bizz and I look at each other, then begin to follow him through the store as discreet as two stoned ladies in their mid-twenties who are trying to keep their buzz going can be. I open a beer, chug it while we’re in an empty aisle, watching my dad at the other end sort through the produce.
“I’m gonna go hit on him,” says Bizz, “get to the bottom of why your dad is alive, and here in Missoula.”
“Shut the fuck up, Bizz, that’s not my dad, no fucking way. Also, gross.”
She heads towards the end of the aisle, the produce, his cart. I follow because I don’t really believe she’ll even talk to him. I am wrong, though. She walks right up to him, shucking corn, and putting it in a bag. “You look super familiar, have we met before?” Uttering the most generic thing you could possibly say to open up a conversation with a stranger. He looks at her, laughs the same laugh as my dad, and then speaks in his voice.