There's Still Time

I’d get off the train at my stop, the cold winter air hitting me like a punch to the gut. The darkness of night surrounded me as I dragged my feet down the street, my boots crunching on the icy pavement. The only sound was the distant hum of cars in the distance, as I made my way to the store. The neon sign outside flickered on and off, casting an eerie glow on the surrounding buildings. I walked inside, the warmth of the store enveloping me. The shelves were stocked with rows upon rows of alcohol, each one calling out to me. But I didn’t need to look. I knew exactly what I was there for. I made my way to the back, the familiar sound of the beer bottles clinking together as I picked up my usual six-pack of Heineken. The cashier didn’t even need to ask for my ID anymore. He knew me well enough by now. As I walked out of the store, I cracked open a beer and took a swig. The cold liquid burned my throat, but it felt good. It was the only thing that could numb the constant feeling of inadequacy that I carried with me every day. I walked back to my apartment, the streetlights casting long shadows across the pavement. I took another swig of my beer, the taste becoming more familiar with each passing day. It was a routine that I had fallen into, one that I couldn’t seem to break out of. As I opened the door to my apartment, the warmth hit me like a wave. My wife Brenna was sitting on the couch, watching TV, alongside my daughter who slept. She looked up as I walked in, a smile on her face. But I could see the worry in her eyes, the concern for my well-being that she tried so hard to hide. I tried to push it to the back of my mind, to focus on the fact that I had been getting decent work through FirstLive and a partner company Hardwired, and was able to provide whatever I could for my family. But the nagging feeling of failure always lingered, like a dark cloud hanging over my head. The work was grueling and tested my ego. Having to prepare stages for musicians to perform, all while dealing with the failures of my own artistic endeavors, would only fuel my desire to drink, allowing myself the luxury of a false sense of confidence. I would think, “XYZ didn’t make it until their 50’s. There’s still time.” I’d go down the same road every night, gradually obsessing more and more about the fact that I still wasn’t where I wanted to be, and was in no position to provide for my family the way they truly deserved.

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