I’m convinced it was the rum.
It dulled the sharp edge of my wit, made my tongue leaden up, burned the air in my lungs and turned my words to smoke. But it was the game of Ring of Fire that set my cheeks aflame. Crowded around that tiny table, dirty pints glittered darkly at its centre amongst a scattered deck of cards. A concoction of Coke, rum, gin and beer, it was onyx in the dimness of the bar of the youth hostel in Amsterdam.
And damn if I wasn’t undone by those two little words – “What’s wrong?” Jesus, where to begin? Everything and nothing.
The words to explain the hollowness choked me, scratched my throat in a fight to leave my lips and yet to be swallowed whole. Undone. Undone by my own enjoyment. Undone by dancing and singing and drinking and staring into mirrors while high. Thinking the reflection is like a tv show. Watching it like a tv show, surprised to see yourself in this surreal and unlikely sitcom. Undone by a game of Ring of Fire, whose idea was it to play that in the first place? Not me. Who came up with the stupid rule that if you drew a six you told a secret? Me? Christ, well I regretted that decision the moment I wretched the card from your hands with clumsy fingers and saw that dreaded six. And you asked me. You asked me to tell you a secret. The only one that came to mind was not a secret at all, not to you anyway, you see through my glass walls, even when I won’t let you inside. Those two little words. Tears burned my eyes, my cheeks; rum burning down my throat, through my chest through my veins. Everything and nothing. Everything. And nothing. What’s wrong is I am human. What’s wrong is I’m alive, feeling the pain that everyone feels and in this moment I don’t know how to cope, how to quell that little black kernel of melancholy in the pit of my stomach. I don’t know how to tell you I’m plummeting down the rabbit hole of bad thought, tumbling backwards into the blackness of an elevator shaft.
What’s probably wrong is I’m tired. I’ve been traveling for several days, and I’m drunk, sleep deprived, and want my Mum. And a McDonald’s.
Dutch Uncourage is by Katy Flynn. You can find Katy on Twitter at @indeedKaty.