This is another story from the book I was writing a few years back. Again, the book was mostly bullshit but I do enjoy some of the one-off stories.
Now that another workday was done and he lay in bed, his thought trains were his own again. Frank enjoyed the comfort, the disconnection that “bed” brought. Indeed, his midday siestas were spiritually divine. He could roam the countryside of his mind and drift in random thoughts.
One of the last times he’d seen his mighty friend, Gibson the Brave, was on a Sunday, late morning, maybe two years ago. Gibson had just finished painting his kitchen while his wife was away visiting family and he was trying to look confident and put together. It was only window dressing though, morning-after jitters refused to hide behind the blinds.
Gibson recalled to Frank how his wife had seriously said, “Don’t drink both bottles of wine this weekend” and he smiled ashamed. There was some relief in Gibson’s implied confessional but they both knew his wife would bring the fury upon him that night.
They moved to the dining room and Gibson sat Indian style on the floor, steadying himself. He looked like he’d just as soon lie down right where he was. He soldiered on though, dipping and wiping his brush in the white paint as he prepared to engage the formal dining room. His hand started to shake as he attempted to physically will his brush to glide just above the base board.
Two dollars said the empty wine bottles were hidden at the bottom of the recycling bin and too bad their dining room would end up looking like a drunk painter had cut the trim.
He felt sorry for Gibson the Brave and wondered how much hangover pain he was in. He could see the agony on his face, and knew the weight of being an under-performing drunk in the eyes of the Missus.
Diagonal across the dock from where Frank lived, Gibson’s struggle was close to home and way too familiar.
Honestly, Frank was more than glad that none of the brush strokes were on his shoulders. This was Gibson’s time to dance in the hungover spotlight.
While he watched Gibson’s artistic handy work, he himself felt the guiltiness of getting away with alcoholism. He’d been in Gibson’s house two weekends past feeding their dog. But mostly he’d been sneaking shots from the kitchen counter’s bottle of rum while the dog was out pee’ing — he had had his own shakes to tend to that particular day. In the there and then, he smiled to himself as he wondered if Gibson had taken the wrath for that drop in fluid as well.
As the final memory domino fell, his mind unwittingly wandered back to the there and then, came away from Gibson’s kitchen twice removed.
Frank thought to himself, “I wish I could loose myself in that for a little longer. Gibson was a good man.”
It all faded though and there he was laying in bed again. He tried to snatch it back one more time but barely remembered what else he and Gibson talked about that day. Frank could only recall the “don’t drink all the wine” conversation even though he’d visited Gibson for a good hour or two.
He only had pockets of feelings left from that day, only remembered how he knew Gibson must’ve felt. And how he had felt those times in the presence of a kindred spirit, bonding on motorcycles and cheap wine and marital bliss.
Gibson and wife and dog were long gone these days, having returned to the heartland to be closer to their kin.
Frank thought to himself some more, “Maybe life isn’t so much about our adventures but maybe it’s about the people we share our adventures with.”