There was a faint, asynchronous rhythm to the thoughts and feelings in his bedtime mind. Worry, dread, regret, fear and projections-unable to turn them off-and unwilling to take his pill. Emil felt that he ought to be able to conquer this by now. Twenty-seven and still living with his mom, yet, remarkably, earning a nice paycheck despite his many issues. ‘Issues’ wasn’t the right word, but it is the one his mother let drip off her tongue like a whole sentence full of venom whenever he dared to discuss his life with her.

Some nights he could fall asleep faster, even without the Klonopin, but that was usually after he’d had way too many shots. Vodka and more vodka. It was only then that he could stand to be around anyone other than Trudi and he knew it was a problem. Another issue. Another item on the list to bedevil him at night. The shame was punishing, but he knew, logically, that he had to work out a way to forgive himself or he would never really get better.

At least it was almost daybreak. He always felt a bit brighter during the day. Enough to get out of bed, go to work and pretend to like people. It was a thin veneer he often had to fight to keep up. He had to with his coworkers or they would have found some flimsy excuse to get rid of him. They did not tolerate people bringing their baggage into the office. The only alternative then would be to go back on disability and that would probably get him kicked out of the house for good. Mother was only a mother when he paid for all of the utilities and food and her colorful phalanx of diet pills. Emil didn’t get much value for that transaction, but he knew he wasn’t alone in that regard. Why do you think his sisters both left at seventeen?

© 2022 Jeff E. Brown. All rights reserved.

By jebrownwriter

Houston, TX-based Writer and Photographer. Proud pet rescuer who spends nearly all his money on them.

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