Tomorrow Comes

Reads: 55  | Likes: 0  | Shelves: 0  | Comments: 0

More Details
Status: Finished  |  Genre: Other  |  House: Booksie Classic
You're a drunk and a near bum; you've wasted yesterday and today is gone, too. Tomorrow, you hope to change.

Submitted: June 13, 2011

A A A | A A A

Submitted: June 13, 2011

A A A

A A A


The intermittent beep of your alarm resonates from the center of your cracked, plastic nightstand. A fog from last night lives inside your head. When did you fall asleep? Did you sleep with Susan from apartment 4B again, or were you both too limp for arousal? No sound from the bathroom so you doubt anyone is in your apartment.
You pull your face off a flat, sweat-stained pillow, tap the off button on your alarm, push your body from an empty mattress, and blink. At first, for only a second, but the morning sun piercing the blindless windows is too strong and you blink again, keeping your eyes shut much longer. There is comfort in the darkness—no job, no bills, no family—only the perfection of escape.
Last night’s rain blew in from the open bedroom window and a slight puddle reflects light from the yellow radiator. You run your right hand through thick brown hair and pull towards the sky, hoping to stretch your scalp until the drummer stops pounding inside your head. Coarse patches of orange stubbles have collected on your chin. You wonder if you actually swallowed sandpaper last night or if it just feels that way.
Susan is already gone, or maybe she was never here. The memory is gone either way. You drag the front of your toes along the smooth, hardwood floor from your bedroom, first into the hallway and then into the bathroom. In your bathroom is the scale purchased at the Salvation Army last year. The red dial fails to reach past 150 pounds anymore. Not that it matters.
You pull the metal handle and start the shower, adjusting the cold and hot knobs until a warm stream sprays in all directions from the four working spouts on the showerhead. The water crashes against your head and you arch your neck backwards, letting it run down your face and past the protruding bones of your chest. The thin, yellow bar of soap slips from your hands, not because of the texture, but because your hands could not squeeze a tit until drink number three. The CVS-brand shampoo bottle is empty and the porcelain tiles are cracked. One day, it will be time to replace the mustard, dirt-lined shower curtain with something more uplifting. QVC sells ocean-themed shower curtains that look nice.
A blue towel, unwashed since last football season, is in the sink. You dry with it anyways. The coarseness feels good against your skin.
You struggle to pry a new red toothbrush from its packet. The toothbrush is a gift from your cousin, the dental hygienist in the strip mall off Route 85. You shake hands meekly with the brush, add toothpaste, water, and scrub all. Floss comes next, then a scope bath. Bar tramps refuse sex with men missing teeth.
Wearing nothing, you start a pot of Maxwell House and open the freezer door. Inside are two full plastic bottles of White Wolf Vodka. You grab one bottle, unscrew the lid and swallow twice. A burn navigates your bloodstream. The bottle hangs in your right hand as you dress for work. After three more slugs, you could spin it upside down on your palm. You throw on yesterday’s boxer shorts, a white undershirt that smells like coffee-scented Febreze, navy blue Dockers, a white button-down shirt, white socks and brown dress shoes with frayed shoelaces. A ten-hour day of data entry for your favorite medical supply manufacturer is a fifteen-minute bus ride away.
You rinse the plastic thermos in the sink and fill it with equal parts coffee and vodka. Breakfast. The bus will arrive ten minutes from now on Canfield Street, two blocks south of your apartment. You lock the door to your apartment and walk the ten yards to the elevator. The heavy metal doors part, you step over the pieces of a shattered Budweiser bottle, press one and descend. The air outside is crisp for the end of April, and your hand soaks up moisture from the handrail of the front steps. You wave good morning to the attendant in the empty parking lot directly across the street and turn right, past a vacant employment center. The only sign of life on the street this early is Ace’s Lock and Hardware shop. Ace opens at 7 AM. He probably just finished his third or fourth cigarette.
A minute or two passes at the empty bus stop while you drink breakfast. The bus is empty except for the driver and a wrinkle-faced man with no teeth, a green sweat suit and Velcro shoes. You walk with your head down to a window seat in the middle of the bus and enjoy another sip of breakfast.
You go to work and spend all day hiding. You hide your breath from the overweight mother cursing her children all day on the phone in the cubicle facing yours. You hide your bloodshot eyes from the arrogant prick who calls himself your boss. He weights 130 pounds soaking wet and highlights his pale, bony arms with short-sleeve button down shirts in the spring. Your senses dull as the day drags. The caffeine and alcohol buzz fades and soon one of the two flasks you keep in your desk is empty. Shit, half-past two and the booze is running low. You smoke two cigarettes outside instead of eating lunch.
What’s the date? Are you supposed to be somewhere? Anywhere? Two years ago, you were the funny brother, the cousin who carried summer barbecues into the night with humor and spirits. A year ago, you were the family project, the charismatic nephew with so much promise who needed a kick in the ass to straighten out. Six months ago, you were their charity case, the target of your family’s middle class guilt. Now, you are nothing. Your family has a separate life that you attend occasionally on birthdays and holidays.
You want to stop, pick up the pieces, and apologize to your former friends. You want to get up in front of your family at Christmas, wearing a reindeer sweater and green corduroys, drinking water, apologize and prove your trustworthiness. They will question your sincerity but laugh at your sense of humor and welcome you back. Family has to forgive.
You want redemption, but you want to be numb, pain and responsibility free. You want another sip, another taste of a life not worth caring for. Most of all you just want to forget. Forget the world; forget your family; forget yourself. You need another drink.
The day evaporates. You board the bus home. It’s twelve minutes past seven and the only people you spoke to can barely acknowledge your existence. Your booze ran dry two hours earlier and now your body misses the one thing it connected with today. The bus wheezes to a stop at Canfield and Moore. You immediately cross the street.
The old wooden building on the corner lacks signs. You pull the vertical metal handle and step inside, disturbing a cloud of smoke with the fresh air. The eyes of the three patrons spread around the U-shaped bar never leave the tops of their Budweiser bottles. Silent, the sweaty, heavyset bartender opens a bottle of Budweiser and places it on the bar in front of you. From underneath the sagging wood bar, he grabs two dust covered shot glass and fills each with Jameson. You drink together, brothers for three ounces of liquor but nothing more. The bartender wipes his grey beard with a chubby hand, pours you another Jameson and walks to the cash register on the opposite side of the bar. You take a long sip of your Budweiser, finishing half the bottle. The second shot of Jameson disappears with the remaining half.
Somewhere, a family sits around a rectangular dinner table. Four placemats are set and a mother serves meatloaf or some other awful recipe she learned from her mother. The kids will fall asleep a few hours following dinner, after finishing their homework. The husband and wife will lie in bed together, laughing about her dinner and the way everyone pretended to enjoy it. They will love each other good night. In three separate rooms, four people will fall asleep smiling. You can picture this family. You can create the perfect imitations of their imperfections in your mind.
You slide a ten-dollar bill underneath the empty Budweiser bottle and leave the bar. Your untied shoelaces drag through tiny puddles on the sidewalk. A light rain falls onto your shoulder. Except for the wind blowing storefront locks against their metal gates, your street is noiseless and empty for the short walk home.
You find one and a half bottles of White Wolf inside your freezer. You grab both bottles, turn towards the sink, remove the caps and pour. The vodka collects briefly in the half-clogged drain as the sink braces for the onslaught of liquor. You drop the bottles into the black plastic trash can in the corner of your kitchen and think about tomorrow.


© Copyright 2017 Kelly Lytle. All rights reserved.

Booksie 2017-2018 Short Story Contest

Booksie Popular Content

Other Content by Kelly Lytle

Shelly Atkins

Short Story / Other

Tomorrow Comes

Short Story / Other

Catch

Short Story / Memoir

Popular Tags