The time was 8:35 p.m. on Thursday night. I had the Smirnoff in my hand and could smell its cold and crisp scent. I saw the image then. I was older than my seventeen years and was drinking. There was no piano, no books, and no smells of food. In this incredibly realistic vision, there was only myself and a bottle.
I looked to my left in this dream world and there was a couch with a blanket on it. It was dirty, and the upholstery was torn. I looked to my right and there was a mirror. In it, I saw my reflection. I was emaciated, and my eyes had a haunted and sunken aspect. I looked like some kind of creature from a horror movie. The resemblance was there. I wore the same clothes, but they hung on me like curtains.
I looked down at my hand and the tips of my fingers were missing on my left hand. I realized that in this future, I really couldn’t play.
I took the bottle to the bathroom. I poured the vodka down into the toilet and brought the bottle back out with me. I set the empty thing on top of the piano and started to play. Now, it was a Bach piece. It was my favorite three part invention which I had been working on before Gar had heard me try to play Rick Wakeman.
I tapped the keys and tried not to rush the tempo. I repeated the first section over and over, trying to get the right phrasing down. After a while, I heard the knock at the door. It was accompanied by a loud yell. Someone was screaming my name outside.
“Hold on! I am coming,” I yelled. For a second, I hoped that it was Gar so that I could slam the door in his face. Then, I realized that this was childish and that we would have to learn to be friends because we were part of a community.
“Lully,” it was Big Marky. He sounded frustrated. When I opened the door, he rushed in and gave me one of his bear hugs. He came in the apartment without asking. We were friends, but come on.
“What is it? What’s wrong with you? Is everyone crazy tonight?” I said.
“You couldn’t wait, could you?” he said and waved at the piano.
“I realized that I would have to move on. Yes, I can’t just wallow,” I replied thinking that he meant the piano.
“You don’t think that all that Vodka is wallowing. You’re like a pig…you…” He looked at me quizzically. “You don’t smell like alcohol,” he said. He started sniffing my mouth.
“What is your major malfunction, loon,” I was really starting to wonder if the world had tilted the magnetic field around it causing all of the males to lose their senses.
“Gar called me up and told me what he did,” he said.
“So, you’re giving up on Sori or something. And you call me swine?” I said.
“Nasty! That’s not even cool. I was worried about you,” he said. He stopped and kind of stared at me. He looked at me like my Dad did when he saw me do something like flip a fried egg in the pan without breaking the yoke. “I am surprised that you’re not drinking.”
“I was going to. I am surprised that you had the time between fantasizing about Sori and thinking up ways to pimp up your car to come over.” I smiled while saying it.
“Yeah, well. I had about a couple of minutes and…”
“Bitch,” I said. “Do you really think that I drink too much?”
“Duh! Everyone says it. That’s why no one takes you seriously,” he said as gently as he could. “I mean. I want to design cars. Gar and Loni have their band, and Sori wants to be a lawyer, but your world revolves around booze. That sucks. You could play.”
“It’s boring classical. No one likes that,” I said.
“Yeah, around here! We are in the ghetto, and if it’s not about robbing, getting high or having sex, the music is not all that popular.”
“We like…” I was about to defend Gar’s music.
“Yes. We like songs that mean something, but that’s a different style than what you play. You’re going to play things that mean something to the soul, but people aren’t going to slam dance to your classical music.” He was on a roll. “You have to get out of here.”
“I want people to have fun,” I said.
“Whatever! Just don’t make it about them having fun at your expense,” he said. “Well, you’re obviously okay. I am going back to fantasizing and thinking about my car.”
“Mark,” I said. I was so confused right at that time.
“Thanks,” I said. He looked at me and reached out for another hug. We hugged and he left. My mother was at the door to the living room.
“The chicken tastes horrible when it’s burnt,” she said simply. I turned on the player. The song was destined to be our graduation song, “Don’t You Forget About Me” by Simple Minds. I went to make the food for my mother and I. My dad was on the road. He sold guitar amplifiers.