The long road home.
I was so angry I couldn’t even think. That’s most likely what prompted me to walk home 15 kilometers, dead drunk, in the fall, in nothing but a t-shirt. I didn’t walk really, I marched. I was drunk enough not to notice the cold too much, but the problem with that is how hard it is to continue putting that one foot in front of the other. I managed alright I guess. Rage helped. Rage always does; it’s a powerful fuel. When you’re that angry you find it possible to do things that, moments before you were too lazy or tired or drunk to even attempt. Rage kept me walking; it kept me warm. Held onto too long though, it makes you careless and irrational.
I had cooled down. Marginally. The scene kept playing out in my head, over and over. A small part of what I felt was embarrassment, I had been made to look like a total chump in front of most of my coworkers and some of my friends. A greater portion was how unbelievable the incident had been. I was unable to categorize it, unable to wrap my mind around it. I could hardly grasp the incredibility, the sheer non capit muscas. Martin Luther King Jr. once said “In the End, we will not remember the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends”. There’s one thing more horrifying: when those friends speak or act against you.
No blade in your chest is more sharp and painful then the one held by your brothers. When I saw the betrayal that had played out behind my back I could only stand with my mouth hanging agape. There’s a moment before any reaction occurs, to an outside observer it lasts for a mere instant, but to the victim it can stretch into eternity. You stand there and wonder, as hard as you have ever wondered about anything in your entire life “Why?” Then you feel the knife twist in your chest, and it takes all the dignity you have not to weep in anger. When that moment came for me it lasted shorter then most I think. In spite of my total lack of reference for how to react to the situation I took it in stride. That worried everyone the most, the fact that I seemed to all outward appearances like a Rock. I simply begged pardon for my leaving earlier to my Hostess, and asked a friend of mine a single question.
“Mary… did you see that?”
“Yes Crom, I did…”
I turned to walk away, and she grabbed my arm
“…Don’t ever be sorry for me. I should have known better.”
I thought she would say more, but I gave her no time. I nodded to a few people as I left, they were still tense thinking I might be going to my car to get a tire iron or other implement of destruction. I just oriented myself to the proper direction to my house, and started to trek.
Once I’d calmed myself down, I looked at the incident again. I wasn’t mad at her, I couldn’t be. She’d not really had time to grasp the situation or take into account the already existent tensions.
I promised myself when I was just a young child that I would never strike another person in anger. That I would never hurt someone because I couldn’t handle the problems I faced. I’d never thought about his though. Some part of me wanted to just kick his head in and be done with it. To do violence to him until I felt that the price had been paid, but I would have been the lesser man. I would have let someone else’s failure to always guard my back and always look out for me break the promise I’d made to myself. This above all things, to thine own self be true. And, promises you make to yourself are the most important ones. And the hardest to keep. I wouldn’t do him any injury. I would not let his betrayal taint my conduct.
I was tired. That kind of tired where you can’t really walk all that straight, and you stumble a bit as you walk. I kept going, in spite of my desire to sit down and rest. Most of my anger had fled, only sadness remained. There are few things as depressing in life as KNOWING you’ve lost a friend. Knowing that someone has done something for which you can never forgive them. I tried as hard as I could to think about other things, but it always came back to the same reality. My shoulder blades were decorated with a dagger. Perhaps I seemed melodramatic. How many friends have you lost? Yeah.
I’m in my neighborhood now. The familiar settings make me a little more assured. I know I’m going to make it home now, and not fall asleep in front of a Country Style Doughnut shop (which would get me arrested without question). I put my head down and just keep putting that one foot in front of the other. I’m now sober as a judge, which is bad because I’m acutely aware of how tired I am. I’m depressed at this point. I’ll see him again tomorrow at work. What the hell do I tell him. He’ll probably apologize, or offer a flimsy excuse. Either of those will no doubt piss me off further.
14.9k (yeah I was standing in my yard)
I didn’t even notice walking up to it. When the automatic porch light came on it startled me into awareness. I went inside, got some water and fell asleep. The long road had finally got me to my home. I slept like a dead rat. The next day at work he came over to me.
“Hey you left kinda early last night, hope I didn’t offend you.”
I quit my job 10 minutes later. Finished my shift, cleaned up my gear from the small locker I had, and walked home.
- The long road home.
- by Crom
- Published on June 1st, 2001
More from Crom:
Insider Trader Living
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An Open Letter of Apology to My Parents
I’m sorry i threw up on the upstairs carpet. I didn’t intend to puke all over the rug, it just happened, i was 9, cut me some slack, please.
It would be nice, once in awhile to have someone assume you actually know something, and that you weren’t hired on to do the job because you’d work for a tuna-salad sandwich everyday..
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Ladies and Gentlemen of the House.
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Possible Conspiracies Against Me
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