The Game Of Inches

Sitting at my desk, the dim glow of the computer screen casting shadows across the cluttered space, I reached for another beer from the six-pack beside me. The cold, damp surface of the can sent a shiver down my spine as I cracked it open, foam bubbling up to the rim. As I took a swig, the familiar buzz of an incoming message on Instagram grabbed my attention. Alonzo had sent me something. I smiled, expecting our usual banter and jokes, but as I clicked into the chat window, I saw the icon of a link he had shared. “Al Pacino – Any Given Sunday.” Curious, I clicked the link and took another swig of my beer, feeling the icy liquid slide down my throat, numbing my senses as I leaned back in my chair to watch the video. The moment Pacino’s gravelly voice filled the room, I felt a lump form in my throat. His words struck a chord deep within me, as if he were speaking directly to my soul. As the speech continued, I found myself choking up, tears welling in my eyes as I thought about all the mistakes I’d made, and everything I had lost. I thought about the relationships I had nearly destroyed, my raging ego and alcoholism leading me down a path of self-destruction. “The inches we need are all around us.” Those words echoed in my head as I thought about every failed venture, every piece of content I had created that had fallen flat to the audience, and every failure I had to endure publicly. The shame I had grown accustomed to feeling weighed heavily on me, and I felt a knot tighten in my stomach. “When you add up all those inches, that’s going to make the fucking difference between winning and losing; between living and dying.” I believed that something larger than my understanding was happening, but being stuck as a character in this story, I continued to drink and cry in front of the screen, waiting for the goosebumps I felt watching the video to go away. I wiped the tears from my cheeks with the back of my hand, feeling the cold, damp residue of the beer mix with the hot, salty streaks on my skin. I took another swig, the bitterness of the alcohol stinging my taste buds as I tried to numb the pain that Pacino’s words had brought to the surface. I glanced around the dimly lit room, the mess of discarded ideas surrounding me like a monument to my failures.

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