Fiction: Last AAA


Misha appeared late for her weekly session at the downtown YMCA.  She glanced hungrily at the snacks laid on a bare, aging table, as if eating them with her eyes, then headed to the first empty seat.  She sat in a circle of strangers; not one familiar face welcomed her in the crowd.

“Hi, my name is Gabe and I am an alcoholic.” 

“Hi, my name is Lars and I am an alcoholic.”

“Hi, my name is Misha and I am an alcoholic.”

“Hi Misha,” the circle chorused as usual in response to each introduction.

“Why do you drink, Misha?” The counselor asked me but did not seem to address me in particular.

“I drink because I cannot live in the present.  Life happens inside me, in a blink of an eye, then I wake exhausted.  Nothing has happened but everything is over.  I can never touch another life because it has lived and died by the time I reach it.”  She felt as if she were rambling and only then noticed that her fellows were looking at her through furrowed brows.

The counselor seemed to be struggling internally with her monologue.  He asked, “Can you give help us understand what you are going through, Misha.  I am sure you are certainly not alone.”

There, under the spotlight of many glares, Misha felt nothing but alone in the arena.  Unready to fight, she trembled as if a slight breeze had passed through her. 

“We were not meant to be solitary creatures.  We were built to be one in a flock and to go with the herd,” She began, “Yet, what cosmic irony!  To become one with another, I would require a metaphysical strength or miracle.  Is there such a being among us?  A God?  Or, do we live in a solitary godless world?”

“So, you have turned to alcohol to cope with what amounts to an existential crisis?  Or have you doubts of your faith?”

“I turn to alcohol to delay choice, to obscure my thoughts, to blur my vision.  I am stumbling in a dark alley that leads to the a brighter street, but upon my freedom, I realize there is one path that leads in opposite directions.  When the choice of the matter is such: I choose the path of logic and reasoning, I also choose a lonely path; otherwise, I choose the path of faith and blissful ignorance. Neither choice grants the chooser the relief of having chosen.  Both leads to their inevitable downsides and upsides.  Whether I have chosen or stumbled blindly upon my solution, I do not stand to gain significantly.  So, even before having chosen, I sit here drunkenly and not choosing.  Perhaps, in my stupor, I will find a way out of this stalemate.”

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