It was his eighth bottle. It had been an unusually long night for him too. In recent times, he had found himself spending more and more time out here on the beach. It was far from the madness of the city’s hustle and bustle. The noise. The crowds. The constant movement. The horrible road traffic.
Here, it was a different world. Sanity ruled here. And peace ruled right beside it. Since discovering this oasis many weeks back, he had returned here again and again, drawn by the serenity.
Now he spent his evening hours here, sitting still. Or lying down. The ocean breeze gently caressed his face as he stared blankly, his eyes almost devoid of emotion. Life does that to people. Hit again and again by the bitter realities of life, this solitary figure had sought refuge outside of the cacophony of human community. Outside of the storm.
Here, there was no storm. Just peace. At least some semblance of it. Yes; it lasted only a few hours, and then he had to head back into the storm. But he reckoned that any break from the storm was a good thing.
This night didn’t seem any different from any other night, except that he was particularly depressed. A dark cloud hung over his heart. Business had been particularly bad today, and news filtering in suggested that things would get worse over the course of the next few days. Heavy debts. Terrible prospects. A nightmare.
There was no-one to find solace in. Friends and acquaintances had shown their true colours when his fortunes had taken a nose-dive. Funny how you could hang out with people for years and think that you knew them. You were sure that you could lay your life down for them, and they would do same for you.
It was a rude awakening for him. Life wasn’t like that. Life was a jungle – and it was every man for himself. He found out the hard way not to depend on any man. He bitterly wished he had known upfront. Nothing had prepared him for the rude realities that he had been thrown into.
Today, he had sought his old friend – the bottle. It had become too much for him to deal with. He needed the numbing effect of the alcohol. It was the best he could do at this point.
Suicide had been a consideration, but he was too cowardly to go through with it. He wanted to live. He wanted to rise again. He wanted to feel life, feel love, experience success, and smile again. Yes; he wanted to live. But for now, he needed the bottle. Badly.
The cold liquid had sparkled at him, beckoned to him again and again like a long lost friend. Finally, he had succumbed. How many years had it been since he had last embraced alcohol? So, so long ago. The dates were fuzzy now. Everything was fuzzy.
That was good, because the pain had gone fuzzy too. The misery. The sadness. The frustrations. All seemed a bit distant at the moment. Exactly what he needed. That was all that mattered. He put the green bottle to his mouth and drank slowly, never once taking his eyes off the body of water in front of him. He drank like a transfixed man, like a man in a trance.
There he sat still, watching and listening, yet not seeing or hearing. Lost to this world – its pains, its sorrows.
To be continued.