Maki looks angry when he drinks but I know he’s wearing a mask. The mask sprouts from his heart, across his entire face. Sometimes it spreads to his limbs and makes him destroy things. One night he smacked his son when he asked, “why are you crying so loud daddy?”
I was there. The little boy crashed against my torso until my voice involuntarily rose out of me. Maybe I was shocked he wanted my consolation. I was just a friend of Maki, not blood. Maybe I was charmed by the sorrow I saw in Maki’s eyes as he watched me pet his son’s skull.
He says there’s no greater feeling in the world than a complete buzz. “It’s not just that relaxed, sleepy feeling normal people enjoy. It’s the careless, almost destructive feeling you get when you’re finally free from all miseries for a moment. You no longer feel responsible for any bad behavior. Suddenly everything you’ve ever felt goes to space; the universe cradles your conscious and laughs at all your torment.” He told me if he could experience that state forever, he’d never worry anyone again.
When he runs out of money for wine, he begs friends and family. When they say no, he tears through couches, pant pockets and dressers for buried change. One evening when there was no hope left in him, he sat in the middle of the room and surrounded himself with several empty wine bottles. Maybe he thought they had magic.
Growing up, Maki was called devil eyes. He had this unpredictable, malicious look about him even when he smiled. I noticed his sensitivity more though. His pupils were always swollen as if he was about to weep. I called him sad Satan. He laughed about it but I knew he was desperate to talk about the depression that made him appear this way.
Tonight his son ran to me before I reached their front door. “What does it mean?” He frantically asked while tugging at my arm. We walked inside their house, where Maki’s drunken body lay sprawled across the floor, Cabernet spilling around him. “Is he sleeping?” The boy questioned.
“Maybe.” I knelt beside Maki’s body to examine it. Shortly after, I lead his son out of the room. I told him I would take care of his father, sleep now. Once back in the living room, I saw those devilish eyes looking directly at me. They were sparkling in the dark room.
“Why did you do it?” I begged. “Your child is too young to experience the horror of grief!”
“I know. That’s why I left him tonight. I was a walking dead man. It just wasn’t official until now.” We both stared at the wound in his abdomen.
“You had a lot of courage to cut yourself there.” I said.
“I figured my liver needed to bleed out first. It needed the most relief.” That was the first time he confessed to being an addict. It was also the first time I talked to a ghost.
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