The path to treatment was long and meandering.
The driveway, with a 10 mph speed limit, wound lazily through a bunch of lush landscaping and statues of various religious figures. Treatment centers have it all wrong. The road to recovery does not roll through Eden. We had barely entered the triumphant iron gate to begin the long sober journey when Skip yelled Stop! Shit. Bryan winced. Here was the true path to treatment, a maze that often ended before it started. Bryan and I froze in the front seat, speechless, angry. We didn’t turn around to look. We didn’t want to see. That’s how it was with Skip. You just stared straight ahead and waited for what would happen because something always happened.
He got out and I hated him as he stumbled toward the front of the car. We had driven 3 hours and he was about to fuck it up and I hated him. I hated him for constantly fucking up and for always fucking up at the very last second. He climbed on the hood and muttered something about readiness and sobriety and Plotinus. Bryan and I were a pissed off choir of admonition: C’mon! Get off the car, Skip! You’re gonna get kicked out before you sign in! Off the car! Get off the car! Christ, Skip! Get off the car!
But he just stood on the hood, clutching two beers.
Bryan and I spoke with our eyes about how we should just drive. We shrugged our defeated shoulders and shook our tired heads. The only alternative was sitting there until he needed more beer. Bryan took the car out of park and smirked. We lurched forward and Skip fell to his knee. How could this end well?
But he regained his composure and popped open a beer. He tipped the can to his mouth and posed like a statue in the garden as the car crept toward recovery. Bryan laughed in disbelief as I stared ahead. Skip switched poses with every deep gulp, mocking the gravity of his own demise. Inside my chest occurred a blurry conversation between hating and loving. Which was which? My eyes met Bryan’s and we laughed and laughed.
Skip popped his 2nd beer, this hilarious failure.