On saturdays i have to meet with father Boyden. I got an OWI five years ago and i had never had enough money or been sober enough to go to the counseling to get my license back.
I figured a while back that a twenty five year old man should have drivers license. Most sixteen year olds do, and Im at least at that level of maturity...eh, maybe. I graduated high school at least...barely.
Anyway. I have to meet with the father twice a week for two months. Today was my last meeting.
“You need to understand Mr. Wilson. You have a privileged life. You have every advantage. From a decent family, above average intelligence, white male. You are throwing what god has given you back in his face. You have been given every opportunity to serve his will.”
And I’m out. First staring at the wrinkles under his eyes and the dandruff in his silver hair, then at the the way the fat builds up around his collar. The way his glasses ballon his eyes and dwarf his pear shaped head. He smokes a cigarette and it curls in wisps around his dome.
Two weeks ago he said that the first thing to go when drinking takes over is your ability to make good decisions. “Sure, he said. You can plan not to drink and drive but then the drink takes over and suddenly you believe that you can make it tonight. Just one more drink, just one more shot of booze. What is your drink of choice again?”
“Whiskey.” I say. It’s a simple answer.
but out again.
I look out the third floor window of Saint Lukes and snow starts to flutter slowly from the heavens. And the memory and the present flutter down with them. I day dream of walking to the bus stop on Winnebego just past the old brewery. I search for a lighter or matches in the trash that has built on the fence around the footbridge. I go home and make a Hot Pocket and drink a Pepsi, then a Mountain Dew then a larger bag of Cheetos. I go upstairs and eat and watch Mad Men reruns on Mega Video and then I sleep and Carter coils up around my feet. And I dream.
Father Boyden snaps in my face. “I don’t have to sign your sheet, you know?”
Boyden ... red faced, fat necked fuck. “I understand. I drifted off.”
“And you may or may not remember your childhood but i bet as you sat with your friends at the lunch table talking about the party on saturday, or the movie on friday or sunday brunch and football games. I bet there was a friend that was staring into his soup not saying a word. Do you know why?”
I shake my head.
“Because he spent his weekend alone in his room, pretending to read but actually listening to his drunk father call his mother a stupid whore.”
We stare at each other and he puts out his cigarette. I know then, for sure, that he’s right. I am privileged and no matter how poor I get, or how strung out, or how alone - I’ll never be as sad as him. I’ll never put myself in his hopeless position, speaking to walls and praying for nothing.
He signs my paper and I’ll have my license forever now, or until I get arrested again... which is more likely.
I walk to the bus stop and can’t find a lighter in the trash heaps along the footbridge. It's December now and it only takes a few seconds for my fingers to go numb.
I see her again though, her summer dress blowing in the wind. Its yellow and blue and her black hair swirls around her olive face.
I walk towards her but she disappears. I take the bus home, eat a bologna Lunchable and a cup of Trix yogurt. I nap.