On a backlit neon city street, I struggled to clear my mind of its alcoholic stain. I hung my head, watching the cracks in the pavement slide beneath my feet. I was glad to hang my head because the buzzing pink tubes burned my eyes like whiskey, and I had to squint to keep the tears from forming. That was another reason I was happy to be looking at the cracks in the sidewalk as I hunched my way down the street.

My eyes.

I hate people looking in my eyes when I’m drunk. It makes me feel like I’m inferior or something. Really, it’s just me being paranoid, like the other person would care that I got a little carried away drinking alone on a Friday night. But that doesn’t make me feel any better about it.

If it were raining I wouldn’t bother hanging my head because everyone else would be. That always cracks me up, seeing people running through the rain with their shoulders hunched all over, like they’re gonna avoid getting wet that way.

I always pretend it isn’t raining, even when it’s really pissing down. The more it’s raining and the harder the wind’s blowing, the more I pretend like the sun’s shining and the slower I walk to let everybody know that I’m not bothered by the rain like they are. But really I hate the rain. I only like the idea of not hating the rain, and that’s why I don’t hide from it. There’s nothing I like more than walking in the rain and pretending I don’t hate every goddamn second of it.

It wasn’t gonna rain, though. If anything, it looked like the fog might come in again.

Before I moved to the city, the fog was romantic. I imagined sitting up early in the morning with a mug of over-steeped Earl Grey tea, watching the fog roll in through the Gate and over the city like a comforter. I didn’t imagine myself lost, stumbling through the streets, drunk as hell. One week living in the city and I was already sick of the fog.

I was trying to find my way back to my appartment, but I’d just moved to the city and I didn’t know my way around all that well. All I wanted to do was crash on my futon and sleep the booze off, but I was just sober enough to admit to myself that I had no idea where the hell I was. That’s what really got me; it pissed me off more than those goddamn neon lights. I’ve always been pretty good at finding my way around. I almost never need a map, and if I’ve been somewhere a couple times, I can usually find my way back without a problem. I’m not boasting or anything, it’s just this thing I’ve always been able to do.

The thought of wandering around in the fog all night looking for my street wasn’t really appealing. Even with my pea coat and wide wale cords, the cold was getting to me, so I started looking for a cafe or some place where I could get some hot tea. Sometimes, a hot cup of tea is the only thing in the world that’ll make you feel right.

© Reed A Raymond 2011