The Middle of the Beginning of the End


I awake in a porcelain-lined bathtub.
She stands before me. I study her stunning face, her well-preened hair, her virgin-blue eyes while she massages my forehead with an icy, moist towel. What is she doing here? And why do I lie in this waterless bath?
Oh, yes: Pockets warned me last night before retiring: I walk in my sleep, he said, urinating everywhere. Only the other night I left a shite in the closet, he said. Mind yourself, it could happen again. No— it will happen again. No one’s perfect, said Pockets.
That is when I huddled a pillow and comforter into a neat bundle before staggering off to the safest room in the flat given the circumstances—the toilet.
She studies me, still holding the chilly towel against my crown.
“You look like the walking dead.”
Stiff and sore, I rise to crawl from the tub, to study my wan reflection in the vanity mirror. Your man in the mirror is not me, not the me who was standing in some blissful river three years past— happily married and well-employed, nor the me who stepped into the river two years ago and emerged on this side of the pond, nor the me who stood at the pulpit just yesterday and denounced his professed faith. And by no means is he the me who tied one on last night in the Botanic District and then stepped out in front of a speeding taxi. How I avoided being crushed by that taxi is a mystery to me. If not the grace of God and quickness of the Daryl Hannah Look-Alike’s reflexes, I might now be a dead man.
I believe God is not yet done with me.
“Feck all. I do look bad, don’t I? Say, I thought ye went home after breakfast.”
“I did.”
“Did ye meet up with yer husband?”
“He quizzed me nonstop for days.”
“Days you say? But only yesterday…”
“Yesterday? Yesterday? We landed in Limerick four days past.”
“Four days?”
“And nights, now have your fry and then it is down the road with us.”

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