Drunk Walk

My lungs beg me to stop walking, lest they collapse inward and eat me from the inside. Nicotine clings to them as I huff smoke, burning up my throat and chest. I can feel my blood becoming more viscous as the sight ahead of me tilts and swings to and fro. I let vomit flow into my mouth as I lean forward and spill it onto the dirt beneath me.

I can feel everyone's eyes on me. I know they're watching despite being yards away from me at least. There are only three of them in my field of view. Two people crossing the street about a dozen yards away, and another in the window of a nearby frathouse. I know there are at least fifty people behind me, but I'm not turning around to see. I know they're all watching me.

How old am I again? Am I old enough to do this? The law says no, and so does my body. My mind's response is pending, as it has been for the past year. It's been rather preoccupied, actually. Preoccupied with knowing who's been watching me, and what the watchers think; not just of me, but of the world around them. Are they aware of how many things need to be erased? Of how I need to be erased?

The street lights drag themselves across my eyes, demanding me to scream and let the world hear my pent-up distress. How many times do I have to ignore that demand? The wind makes it, my cigarette makes it, and now I'm making it. I pull the cigarette from between my lips and hack out as much smoke as possible before filling my body with all the air around me. A hoarse, yet ear-piercing scream is shot from my chest, barreling through my throat and into the night around me. I can't recall ever screaming like this, not even as a child. The volume spikes as tears are drawn, and the scream dies out. I spill vomit from my throat again.

I pray to the night that both everyone and no-one heard me. Somehow, I'm already close to my living hall. I pray again that I'm stabbed in the neck as I enter. There are three, maybe two steps leading up to the door. I enter and then there are just as many steps - maybe more or less - inside the building. I'm not making it to the elevator.

I heave myself over the steps and realize my cheeks are wet. When did I start crying? Have I stopped yet? I'm at the elevator now. I wasn't supposed to get there, but I'm there. I'm pressing the button. I'm pressing it again. I put all of my weight forward, pushing my whole body into the button time and time again as I push it. There's a ding, and the door opens.

The elevator is vacant. Nothing but the green-tiled floor and off-white wall panelling. One of the ceiling lights is still broken. I feel another scream creeping into the bottom of my throat, widening my neck as it burrows its way through. Not now. Not until I'm in the elevator. Which I am, now. I'm in the elevator. But I'm still not screaming.

The scream crawls through my lips, not as the previous cry of anguish, but as a whimper. It shivers as it exits my mouth, falling to the floor and curling up. I follow it out of the elevator, mimicking every movement.

I'm almost to my room now. The door's right in front of me, but I refuse to enter. I don't want to - I CAN'T want to. My coat is so warm. I could fall asleep here using the fur-lined hood as a blanket. I could give up.

So I do.

The floor is so comfortable. The door is too intimidating to pass through. I just want to go to sleep.

But of course I don't give up. Of course I don't have that courage. Of course I feel The Coward take control of my body, leaning into the door as it turns the knob. Of course it closes the door behind it and collapses onto the floor. My face is wet, my voice is crying, and my body is sleeping. The Coward didn't want me to show it to the whole world.

Eventually, at long last, I settle down to sleep in the warm, dark privacy of my room.


This is an autobiographical account of what happened after a college party.

I wonder how many other people know what it's like to walk alone at 2AM, scuttling through a drunken stupor and not having anyone beside them. Every week, after every party.