It was a New England winter. We were hunkered down in the Copley train station in Boston. It was me, Russel, and Lacey. When the night ended, I would have a new girlfriend. Russel was the youngest; I thought he was at least 18, but looking back on it I realize he was probly more like 17. He really liked Lacey--a lot. He lived on the North Shore, which is a long way from the city. Lacey was from LA. She went to college near Fenway. I was the oldest. I was 21. When the whiskey bottle ran dry, as it usually does, I braced myself for the cold and trekked out of the semi-warm train station and crossed the street and bought another bottle. I’d known Russel for a while. He and I went way back. I met Lacey, however, the same night Samantha and I had broken up. In the morning I had Lacey’s cellphone and she had mine. No one remembered how or when the swap took place. In fact, the night before I exchanged only one or two words with her, before Andrew led her off in the night with his arm wrapped around her shoulder. We were so cold. The brick-walled station didn’t offer too much protection. But we didn’t want to pay to get in the station proper because then if we left we’d have to pay to get back in. So we huddled together on the steps leading up to the street and down to the station. It was not as cold down here, but still it was brittle. We could feel the excruciatingly cold wind breeze past us whenever the doors opened : : : we all shuddered. Our teeth tremored. We were shaking. The whiskey made everything better. We laughed a lot. We taunted the people that walked past us. We had our fun, albeit fueled by the whiskey. When the bottle ran dry, I’d leave and go buy another bottle, until I was too drunk and the clerk refused to sell me anymore. It was almost like the liquor store was the bar and the station was our stool. They had to cut me off. I really wished they hadn’t. It was so cold and we had nowhere else to go. Nothing else to do. Of course, we could have just gone home. Sleep it off, so to speak. Fuck that, we were granted a gift. A gift of self-destruction. The point of life is to defy physics and see how far we can push it. Test our limits. Presently I’m sitting in an AA meeting and I recognize why the clerk had cut me off, but in the moment I looked at it like he was ruining our good time. Maybe he saved our lives, now that I think about it. I hated everyone who had ever saved my life. Those who didn’t want me to die—fuck them! They were not doing me any favors. Life is a state of mind. If you’re not living, then you must be dying. I was on my way there. I was living only to die. Once I was in Connecticut and these two young boys asked me to buy them liquor but when I showed the clerk my ID he didn’t believe it was me. He and his wife were Indian and they spoke poor English. They said they didn’t believe I was the guy in the photo. In the photo I had black spikey hair but the guy trying to buy liquor at their store had half-green, half-red spikey hair. They didn’t understand that I had dyed my hair. Eventually we did get going. Russel hopped on the train to North Station where he would in turn catch a commuter rail back to his hometown. Lacey and I were going the same way so we hopped on the train together. We were both going outbound. Her stop was Fenway and mine was Newton Highlands. On the train we met an older guy with a black mohawk and a leather jacket covered in spikes studs patches paint & chains and he invited us back to his place.
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