He made enough noise for three people.
Lights flickered on and off through his murky mind as it struggled with the ordinary and repetitious parts of existing; he finally made it to his door. Turning the knob, he used more force than necessary to slam it open.
He looked around, his head moving jerkily and eyes never completely focusing.
His head felt thick, his feet dragged, and exhaustion seemed everywhere in the room, but was only in his mind.
The bed moved. The floor wouldn't stay flat. His closet doors adjusted, chairs stepped in the way, and he barely made it to his bathroom.
Sitting alone, he waited and waited. Why again?
It was alright. His Mom took great care of his daughter, fed her, let her watch her thirty minutes of television, then sent her upstairs to shower and go to bed.
Besides, she was only eight. She had no idea how often he was drunk.
He didn't realize how loud Mom berated him on the phone about it. Allie knew; Of course she knew. She was a brilliant spark of eight.
She was his whole life, and yet he missed out on so much of hers.
Smiling at nothing in particular, he felt great. Oh God, no he didn't. But it was better than feeling the full weight of being a single dad.
A hundred jobs wouldn't create enough busyness to stop his persisting thoughts of failure.
How many girlfriends had he introduced to his daughter? Six? Ten? Each time it was the look in her eyes that did him in.
Thank God he was drunk.
Lying in bed, he tossed and turned uncomfortably. Damn that alcohol, it was a great ride, but it made sleep completely unsatisfying.
Rolling over, he pawed at his bedside-table drawer and grabbed a flask of brandy.
Two minutes later the shot hit him, he felt warmed, and the room spun just a little more before he fell asleep.
In the morning he'd make her breakfast, but the bags under his eyes would stand out more than her favorite eggs over medium when the yolk is a little runny and the bacon's well done and crispy. She was an "A" student just like he wanted. She knew he drank.
Daddy's "A" student wouldn't say anything. She'd just smile, wave goodbye, and someday accept a boyfriend that drank despite being ridiculously underage. That was what she knew.
But she got good grades.
© 2007, JPE