putter

Golf like church on Sundays. Puttering around the house, shuffling feet, and waiting for the TV to reel me in. Terrycloth bathrobe and slippers. Tissues stuffed in the front pockets. Hungover with a cold. Head like a balloon, hanging hesitantly but ultimately giving in to its insane weight. Regular black coffee sits undisturbed in the kitchen. Still hot. The smell is familiar, yet nauseating. There is a glance at a photo that hangs on the wall of a happy family. He cannot make eye contact. Sniffling, he resolves to continue that trek onwards to the kitchen and force himself to drink the stuff is father always told him would be one of the first steps in curing a hangover. His stomach rejects the notion, but he pours a cup anyway. It takes an insurmountable amount of strength. Defeated and with a moan, he abruptly puts the pot back, the coffee cup filled only a third of the way. The noise he makes as he lets go of the coffee pot back on the heated element is deafening and he almost gags on the spot at its intensity. But yet, in these miserable, pathetic moments, no thoughts ring out of “never again”. No self-criticizing remarks on stupidity or idiocy. He hears footsteps on the stairs and tenses up with fear for two reasons: First, he has no idea who it is coming down and begins scanning his brain for possibilities. Two: Simultaneously as this is happening, he is dreading them to reach the bottom step, for now he’ll have to assume a somewhat cordial sociality, even if he says nothing at all, which he just might end up resigning to, being that he cannot recall who it is what is making their way down. The footsteps are light, but still make the floorboards creak. A woman. He thinks to himself. But then – Did I come home with someone last night? Again, scanning his brain and recalling the nights with such speed that it hurts to just stand still. Parking the car in front of the bar. Drinks all night. Laughing. The baseball game. More shots poured. Food consumed. And as he continues this personal play-by-play, he realizes his memory stops at about the 5th shot of Jagermeister and then it resumes again with a pounding headache, waking up in darkness in a light, damp sweat. Was there someone in the bed when he woke up? He could not recall, and perhaps took this woman’s still shape for a pillow, or sheets bunched together. The bottom step is reached. And the footsteps come closer. It is a woman. And not just any woman. But as –