Chronicling the circumstances of an alcoholic life in an attempt to write the best possible ending is risky. Swenny and Cher was intended to help me find what it was I wanted most: a happily-ever-after-alcoholism that continues to elude. After fifty-nine posts holding 20,705 carefully placed words my fairy tale ending remains at large.
And in the process of reaching for a better tomorrow, I lost sight of today. Somehow content to leave it misplaced, I continue to fill pages with words I hope will reveal the answer to my favorite question: “How will this story end?” Time and again, I have granted myself an extension with the expectation that it will emerge in the next post. A post that I often anticipate will follow a relapse trailed by an empty threat dampened by an equally hollow promise.
Eventually, because extending can defy gravity for only so long, a person has to land. Always choosing to land as far ahead as possible on the calendar I keep, I have decided it’s best to land in the here-and-now. To give less to the future and more to the present.
Last weekend, I found myself exploring the neighborhood where Swenny and I first shared an address. The apartment building we called home appeared unchanged, and the sidewalks that surround it remained filled by students, families and shoppers making their way from one place to another as quickly as possible. In the busyness of that afternoon, I got in step and returned myself to the good old days of Swenny and Cher. The time just before alcoholism staked its initial claim on the future we now see mostly in hindsight.
Never then would I have risked a today by reaching too far beyond tomorrow. If I had, the grounds I stomped would have been empty of any memories worth collecting. I would instead have been picking up remnants of a couple that chose to mark days to an end that is still, as of yet, undefined. And while all good endings are, the best are reserved for those who live each day toward what it is they want most.