Part 4 of Dry Drunk is posted here. This is part 5.
A work of fiction.
I often wake up with this strange reoccurring dream in my head. I've snuck back into my childhood home, a place that was sold to new owners years ago. I am no longer privy to this place, and yet I want to go back there like nobody's business. After waiting for the current occupants to leave the residence, I roam around the backyard, now without the storage shed my father bought from Sears. The same trees are there, the ones that served as second and third base during childhood baseball games.
My footsteps carry me away, but in my mind I'm always going home.
But I grow bolder. I try to figure out a way to get inside, starting from the basement door. Somehow I manage to force myself in, but it houses someone else's junk now. The washer and dryer unit that Mom and Dad bought in the late Seventies, both in an complimentary, but unnatural shade of light green, two appliances which lasted much longer than they had any right to do, they are no longer present. Someone else's car is parked inside, not the reliable silver Mercury Cougar that took me to piano recitals and four small children to church.
I hear noises from upstairs. I may not be alone after all. In a panic, I rush out of the door, across the lawn, and to the street. They narrowly miss me. But the next night, I do the same thing all over again. This time I enter from the front yard and the front door, picking the lock expertly until the door swings open and I walk inside. I am not sure how I managed to learn this trick. A few walls have been painted and the front parlor, which my Grandparents always occupied upon visits now has new carpets and new furniture. It is no longer powder blue.
I climb the steps to the upstairs, ducking my head slightly, because I'm much taller now than I was then. It's all so small now. I'm amazed a single bathroom was enough for four children. I enter my childhood bedroom. The Star Wars curtains that hung across the French doors from the window facing the street are gone, too. What has not been taken down is a particular decal placed at the right-hand corner of the front window, showing its age, which signals to rescuers and firefighters that a child lives in this room.
In analysis, I've learned that my dreams are fairly easy to interpret. I'm seeking to escape the pain of adulthood by retreating into childhood. The drinking, carousing, and nihilistic behavior I saw on stage and in clubs was simply another manifestation of this same phenomenon. Some take part during waking hours and business hours, and mine took place when I was occupying a very different dimension of reality. What separated me from them is that I knew what I wanted was impossible, but they believed enough alcohol, rabble rousing, and sexual conduct might somehow undo the laws of physics.
The drinking was another escape, as was the process of chasing women. But I never sought to fool myself, because the effects of the booze always wear off. Nothing is permanent. Everything is transitory in the end. Sex with a complete stranger promises a tantalizing build up that leads swiftly to fifteen minutes or less of pleasure and intensity. When glassy eyes refocus, it's time for clothes to be donned again. One must now make a slightly sheepish, awkward, but appreciative exit.
Or, at least that is how it was before I decided to settle on one and not play the field any longer. I'm not currently sure where we stand. She still takes my calls, at least. I know she loves me, but I wonder if she recognizes she has always been, at least partially, a retreat and a crutch. She's a waking distraction, a different sort of way to break into childhood and the mostly happy home I occupied with my family once upon a time.