Discover more from Vic Koopmans
I am standing on a rooftop in a Spanish city. It is nearing midnight and I am pouring out cheap liquor into dozens of shot glasses. Surrounded by forty-something female students, I believe my life is steering in the right direction.
Messages from the early birds start coming in. A ton of people that I call friend make sure that I don’t forget that they haven’t forgotten.
The countdown commences: “…3, 2, 1: Happy birthday!” Birthday kisses by all the girls. A tipsy birthday speech. Music blasting. All are cheering. A jump in the rooftop pool, making waves. Twenty-five, what a time to be alive.
I am laying in an apartment in a city I’ve tried to flee from for years. It is nearly midnight and I haven’t slept. There’s puke in the bucket next to my bed and so much medication in my body that I’ve lost all sense of direction and gravity.
No messages coming in. My phone screen hasn’t lit up in weeks. A lot of people I used to call friend seem to have forgotten my phone number.
The countdown commences: 3, 2, 1: happy birthday. More vomit, nowhere near the bucket. As I’m unable to speak, the voice in my head shows its altruism. Advising to jump. No one to wave to anymore. Going out silent. Twenty-nine, what an age to consider ending life.
The restaurant is tranquil tonight. I’m sat across the table from an Argentinian beauty. It’s 11:00 p.m. Regular dinner time on this side of the world. I’m listening to the words my intellectual companion speaks.
She’s taking me to college with every phrase she utters. Late night classes I can’t get enough of. Enlighten me, professor. I might just misbehave, looking forward to the repercussions during recess.
I have no idea what’s going on in my phone, I haven’t checked in quite some time and couldn’t care less.
I down painkillers when she’s in the lady’s room. I close my eyes briefly, suppress the nausea and take a deep breath. Upon her return I act as if it’s all okay. Keeping the ghosts that no-one sees invisible.
Eight years flew, crawled and eventually went by since I smashed my head into a metal fence and all changed. There’s a ton of hardship I could reflect on, feel sad about and numerous choices made I could regret. But I won’t. I’ll perceive it as a learning curve and carry on. Accomplishments and progress beat endless reminiscing.
“¿Estás bien?” she asks.
I nod. “All good.”
I grab my fork and shove a mushroom from my plate onto the table cloth. I smile at her.
“This requires a fitting punishment.”
She shakes her head. “Tonto.”
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