I stood on a beach, staring back at my city, surprised to see the water at such a low ebb. I’ve been to Alki plenty of times over the years—I’d never lived there, as one friend had—but I’ve made the journey enough to think that I would have seen low tide there before. Apparently not.
We were gathered there to celebrate, to raise a morning toast in honor of my friend’s 40th birthday. For a while, I had planned on day drinking that morning, but instead, I stayed sober, my skin burning under the sun as I conversed with a friend, the conversation looping from baseball to politics to technology and back to baseball before we each took our leave. Towards the end of the conversation, he poured his gin and juice out onto the beach, and shuffled sand over it with his sandaled foot.
The night before, I’d been drinking, a statement that’s both factual and an understatement. A 5pm conversation led to 6pm drinks, from which I took my leave as midnight approached. I later learned my friends kept going, leading to 3am cheese sandwiches and an awoken, unhappy girlfriend. But their moods were different than my own that night, just like I felt out of place on a sunny beach the next morning.
I laid on the couch, staring at my computer for hours on end. My attention span had been shot throughout the day, and I’d been unable to commit to any course of action, even video games unable to keep hold on me. We had talked about drinking once again, about getting the band together for the one night two Seattle expats were both, coincidentally, back in town. As I awaited word on some course of action, I remained prone on my back, my eyes on the screen, a sense of existential dread creeping in as the daylight drained away without me even noticing.
It had been dark for at least half an hour when I turned the lights on.
When word finally came through that we’d be converging on a bar, I changed back out of my pajamas and walked across my neighborhood to the place we always go.
I sat beside friends, the night having taken its usual turn to the gay karaoke bar after I sighed my agreement. The three of us had been a motley crew as we walked the block down, and as the two of them smoked before we walked inside, we recalled a different, happier night, hopping between different bars in the same area, coincidence rearing its head in the funniest way possible.
Inside, a shitshow awaited. Less packed than normal, but the lack of quantity came with a lack of quality, too, as we suffered through renditions of “Total Eclipse of the Heart” and a minor Madonna hit. By the time a bro took the stage to belt out some CCR, I was drained, my energy as low as the tide had been that morning. As I stared at the words on the screen, I read while trying to not listen.
Let the record show: It didn’t rain yesterday.