I’m up, showered, dressed. Fresh cup of coffee, sitting outside on the porch in the temperate humidity of the Florida morning. Can see the river from where I sit, hear the windchimes in the breeze. Last night we all had chili at the youngest sibling’s place. The older brothers-in-law helped fix a ceiling fan, because we’re family and why not. I’m safe and happy and not wanting for anything at the moment.

Somewhere not far from here, a career alcoholic is rolling over in bed, groaning as he realizes, perhaps a bit bemused, that, for at least one more time, last night wasn’t the last night. Even if, maybe, he’d thought it really might have been… even willed it a little by going out for a third bottle after the first couple. Not for lack of trying, then, he supposes.

Yesterday morning he grabbed all his cash, got on his electric bicycle (COPD and a permanently suspended license), got two fifths and a cheap motel room in a sketchy part of town. Forgot his oxygen, but who needs it this is going to be a bender, boys! Maybe his sister will bring it to him later, just to up the odds a teeny bit in his favor, not give Death all the cards.

That’d be nice. She shouldn’t come alone, though. I’ll bet her son-in-law will ride shotgun just to be there with her, probably stay in the car, though, while she goes in to plead with him to not drink himself to death. He’ll sit there, mostly thumbing through his smartphone but occasionally stealing a peek through the crack in the curtains, trying to be sure everything’s OK in there, that this impromptu intervention is still peaceful.

Budget Inn room 114 is around the back, there are kids running around and riding scooters even though it’s dark out. A guy eating take-out on the trunk of his car with a plastic fork from a styrofoam container. His driver’s and passenger doors are wide open and his music is unjustly loud. “Bitch suck on my dick and put your pussy on my face. Pussy on my face. Pussy on my face.” The kids sing along gaily.

Today, though, I’m clean and fed and surrounded by friends and family. Wish everyone had the same.

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