When you come to the city of Toledo, find the street of Victory and follow it onto Elysian; there your destiny lies…
It was a sluggish and frigid Friday morn. A man trudged out of his small white house, cursing as he took hold of a large green trash can. He again swore as he pulled it, every step he took, a new inventive profanity came out. It was easy to pull but the man could only move at a snail’s pace as if it were a great weight, like the weight on his heart.
He wore a thin red sweater, jeans and had a bald and bare head, the wind blew through him making him feel as if the very world and God were conspiring against him. He pulled past his rusted out black Honda, its dilapidation maybe a reflection on the man himself. He was a pale man for the sun had not shined for many days in the city of Toledo. And as he pulled past his car he remembered that a bottle of Sobieski awaited him within.
His car was his refuge. His port in the storm when the pressures of work and family had grown to great. His debts were in arrears, his children, teenagers, despised him, and his wife, now fat, would remind him of his many missteps. But in his car he was free. After whisking him to work, it would ferry him to his favorite place…The Liquor Store. There was always a bottle in his car, and music too. Usually Sobiesky and the rustic ballads of country singers.
After pulling his trash can to the curb he made a slow march to the car, opening the door, and putting the key in the ignition. It roared to life. He quickly turned the heat on and as the car warmed he took sips of his clear elixir. His hand then went to radio, turning the dial to a classic rock station.
As he did this he thought of what his life had come to. He was once skinny and now he was fat. He once had a good job and now he was a janitor, and he once loved his family but now they were a source of constant woe. The man realized he did not have to take it anymore. His brother, a debauched profligate, had promised him a place in his house.
It would be a paradise, his brother was rich, had a young beautiful 19-year-old wife, and lived a life of partying. He too could have this life, all he had to do was a call. But what of his wife and children? Even though times were now tuff he had precious memories of baseball games and ballet recitals, and remembered times when his wife had been his best friend. How could he leave them?
He took another swig and anger welled up in him. Last night he had been sworn out by his own children, and his wife had slapped him for drinking. Could better days come from these? No, he thought, not soon not ever so he picked up the phone, letting fate lead him as it may…
–Written by Tim Takeda