Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Where did you all come from?

It may very well have been September 15, 2001, the first Saturday after that fateful Tuesday; I'm just not sure exactly what day it was. You'll soon see why. We had all been huddled around each other in my house - me, my mother, my father, and my brother. However, on this day my mother and father were headed to my Aunt's house in Staten Island. I wasn't ready to go yet. My brother had plans with his girlfriend of the time, plans that were in place for months so he pressed on with those plans. This left me home alone.

I had not been alone since my trek from New York City back to New Jersey on September 12th, after being stranded there all day prior. Being alone amidst a personal crisis is hard; being left alone suddenly is harder. I was alone maybe an hour when it hit me that I really had nobody around me. So, I decided I was going to relax and have a drink to take the edge off. You know how that goes. A little vodka softens the world around you just enough. I was a big vodka drinker back then. So a vodka and tonic with a lime to refresh me, distract me, and help me settle in for the many hours I was to be in that house entirely solo.

How long does a vodka/tonic on the rocks in a highball glass last? It's 10am. One drink isn't going to to the trick. So it leads to another. And another. And another. Before long, I ran out of tonic. Vodka on the rocks it is! A friend had checked in with me to see what I was up, as most were doing periodically. Some time had gone by and it was the afternoon by now and my inability to control my lips and tongue made him aware of my state. He got himself ready and came to my house, by which point the ice had run out and I was relegated to 2 fingers of warm vodka per glass.

From that point on the minute to minute details get fuzzy with only certain moments sticking out and the rest pieced together from stories later. I suppose others had called to see how I was, unbeknownst to them I was staggering around my house in a drunken stupor. My friend had been answering the phone and letting people know what was going on and that despite his best efforts to stop me, I was finding ways to get alcohol into my face. So... they started showing up, one by one.

At some point I managed to wipe away the haze to see a house full of people. 10 or more people had shown up after speaking to one another. One drove up from South Jersey about an hour away. One took a train from NYC out to the house. Nobody was doing anything. Everyone just kinda sat around. They were just there. Some were super close friends, others were friends of friends, some were people I kinda knew from around the way.

My brother eventually came home to find everyone hanging around and me nearly in an alcohol induced coma. Shortly after that, my parents called from Staten Island to see how things were going. They heard a nervous voice in my brother and enough background noise to know something was up. From what I was told, he said something simple like, "you need to come home" before someone else got on the phone and explained things.

I vaguely recall them walking in the door, but I can't begin to guess when it was. I don't know how the night tied up - wen people left, when I went to bed, what was said. I don't even remember the next day. I do know that my behavior was never addressed. As upset and worried as my parents and friends must have been, nobody scolded me at any point. We were all searching for a way through this and for one day I had a break in logic. It was self-medicating. It wasn't persistent or prolonged. It got the better of me for a day.

But regardless of the fuzzy details, I'll never forget the outpouring of support in my home that day. I sat down to have a drink and relax and before I knew it there were more than a dozen people at my side. Going through all of this over the years has been hard. Without some of the people in my life, it would have simply been impossible.

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