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February Signature Author Excerpt: So Weeps the Willow by Cole Matthews



Did you catch Monday's feature of Cole Matthew's story So Weep's the Willow? If you've ever indulged... ahem... a little too much, you might identify with the feelings at the start of this excerpt. Now the hows and whys the character makes the choices that go on in the story? Maybe, or maybe not, but that's the beauty of getting to follow along with another's story, right? Enjoy!! 



I was trying to think of the last time I woke up and didn’t do these things. Every morning I’m hung over, head hurting, stomach sour, and feeling like shit. It’s been some time, at least a month, and it scared the shit out of me.

A thirty-four-year-old man shouldn’t have to medicate himself every morning, well, sometimes, early afternoon, just to not hurt. Something isn’t right about it. Maybe I’ve been depressed and drinking a little more, or maybe my life is so fucking boring I don’t have anything else to do.

My head is pounding as I write this, Jesus Christ, it’s miserable.

Anyway, it could be getting older has made it harder to recover. When I was in college, I could drink all night, go to class, then play beer pong in the afternoon before going to work. Alcohol held no sway over me then. I could do it all and jump out of bed without a problem. That’s probably it. I’m getting old. Or, something else is happening.

Therefore, I’m committing a promise to this blog, and anyone who wants to read my ramblings, to go sober for the next thirty days. I will use this as an experiment, a case study in taking control of my life. After all, I’m a psych major who, like most psych majors, doesn’t practice in their field. I’m a waiter. My friend Maisie from college is an office manager of a real estate group. My ex is a construction worker. My college roommate is now a high school special needs teacher. We were all psych majors, and we all are doing something else.

I miss it though. I loved doing research, case studies, field studies, surveys, interviews, reading others’ work. Hell, I even liked crunching the data. I have my masters, but then I quit. I’m not sure why. Maybe this little exploration will remind me.

My headache is getting a little better. It only feels like someone is hitting my temple with a ball peen hammer, instead of a claw hammer like a few minutes ago. My stomach is settling down too. I should get some breakfast. Maybe some toast, or a bagel, nothing very heavy. It’s still a little gurgly.

To get started, I should tell you about last night, what I’m going to call, Day Minus One. Today I’ll call Day Zero, because I know I still have alcohol in my system from last night. How do I know? Because I can still smell it on my breath, Christ on a crutch, I drank about ten drinks. About. Perhaps a little more.

I’m not sure. Last night after work, Nats and I went to Gallivant’s. Who’s that? Nats is also a server, like me, at the Fisherman’s Wake, an Irish restaurant downtown. When we both work, we usually end up going out afterwards for a drink or two. We play some darts, on Wednesday’s there’s karaoke, and chillax. That’s Nats’ word, ’chillax.’ I prefer ‘decompressing’. Regardless, we walked over to Gallivant’s and had a few while talking about our night.

Nats had the worst customer, some crazy lady who tried to use a fish stick coupon for her meal. Yes, we are an Irish pub with fish and chips and things like that, but using a Gorton’s Breaded Fish Filet dollar off coupon? Really? Then she got mad, yelled at Nats and finally stormed out without paying for her drink.

I got stiffed a couple of times by old people. Other than that, my night wasn’t too bad. Well, except for Steve. But, he’s a player, I think, so I’ve come to expect it of him. He uses people and tosses them away. I know that. Still, seeing him with…it hurt a little.

So, nothing bad happened to make me drink a little too much. I think we were playing pool and the drinks just kept flowing. I wonder how bad Nats is today, now, at this time, oh, yeah, it’s almost noon.

I’m off tonight. I don’t know what I should do except maybe rent a couple of movies, go to the liquor store… wait, scratch that. I should research this first. I know a few things about sobering up. For example, I know you have to be healthy to do so. If you have a heart condition, it could kill you. I also know you need to change your habits, for example, if you usually have a drink when you go out to eat, you should go elsewhere. A different restaurant, because habits reinforce things, reinforce behavior.

God, my fucking head hurts. I can do this. I think I need to.

I’ll do a little more research and go over the things I should expect. I don’t drink that much. It’s not like I’m an alcoholic. I only have a few after work. It’s not a big deal to quit. Besides, tomorrow morning I’m going to feel amazing. After this awful hangover, I need to give my liver a break.

I should go to the gym. I can sweat some of this booze out of my pores and then have a nice meal, vegetarian or vegan or something, and maybe a smoothie. If I eat and drink healthy things, it will get the toxins out of my system faster, right?


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