I stumble along, unsteady and unsure, weaving from side to side. Looking back, my footprints mimic the map of some crazy new dance step in the loose dirt covering the unpaved road. The sun beats down, hot and steady, and my shadow weighs a ton. In my left hand I clutch the smooth neck of the near empty bottle, remnants of last night’s mind numbing session. My right hand is empty, consequent of a subtle but progressive tremor. My scattered thoughts are as blurred and woolly as my head feels.
My foot hits cement, jarring my unfocused brain into reaction as I pitch forward, slamming into a brick wall. The Town Hall. As formidable and unyielding as the brick wall surrounding it. It was the first building you happened upon entering this shithole of a town at the end of the dirt road. Clever and insightful planning by the town forefathers and founders. A dead end.
With my back to the wall I slowly, painfully turn my head, looking right. A few steps away, loud slurred voices emanated through the open door of the local pub. Pounding music merged with the sounds of a drunken heated argument, making an indistinguishable cacophony of noise. The stale smell of a thousand cigarettes mingled with the sour stench of unwashed bodies drifted my way, marring the sweet scented breath of wind ruffling my hair. In a rush, my rank cotton-dry mouth watered, craving the liquid relief a cold one would bring.
Suddenly my head snaps to the left at the sound of a car horn blaring down the street. Tall majestic maples line both sides of the street, shading clipped green lawns from the early morning sun. The faint echo of children’s high spirited play floats from the direction of the local park, filling me with a half buried longing. The subtle odor of bacon cooking tickles my nostrils, stirrings unfamiliar pangs in the pit of my stomach.
- 2 -
My hazy vision catches the vague, distant shadow of a figure walking towards me. I step forward. A flash of recognition momentarily lifts me from my stupor as I focus on the sultry parted lips lifted in an unconsciously sensuous smile. I had forgotten how beautiful he was. I walk towards him, last night’s remedy slipping from my hand and smashing on the cement sidewalk. He clasps my trembling hand in his and pulls me alongside of him, never breaking stride. We walk past the brick wall, where, moments before I had stood rooted in indecision.
We enter the dim, smoke-filled bar, together.
Editor's note: Donna and her family live in the Laurentian Mountains in the province of Quebec. She is originally from Montreal.