Living on Borrowed Time
What the hell am I doing here?
That thought swirled around and around in my brain as I glanced my eyes
around the room, drinking in the slow descent of what promised to be a very
legendary house party. As I looked at everyone I could see in turn, I quickly
realized that they were all faces I barely recognized—sending me back to
another time in my life. One where I spent most of my time at parties with
people I didn't know.
I clutched the bottle of beer tightly between my fingers, recalling how it
didn't matter back then because I would always manage to find a way to get
myself so wasted that I didn't care. I thought the screwed up, off-my-face
version of Charlie was a whole heap of fun.
Now I could see that he was just another fuck up with no future ahead of
I wasn't sure why I had allowed myself to get talked into this night, but the
more that time passed, the more I regretted it. The home belonged to one of
my old school friends, someone that I bumped into randomly a few days ago.
At the time, I thought it would be good to reconnect with some of my old
crowd, the ones I knew before everything went wrong, but since I'd been
here, I hadn't actually managed to see a single one of them.
I sighed deeply to myself, making the smart decision that this one drink
would be my only one. After I finished it I would make my way back home,
where I could reflect in peace about the prospect that I had finally reached
that grand old age where I was too old to party—where it wasn't as much fun
anymore. I'd probably gotten there much quicker than everyone else
because of my past, but they would eventually catch up to me and see that
this lifestyle was pointless.
It was time to move on, to start thinking about settling down and really
carving out a future for myself. Everything else was futile...pointless.
I hadn't done bad, considering. As soon as I discovered that Olivia—my
much older girlfriend who had been integral in setting me down the wrong
path in life—was cheating on me, my crappy life crashed around me leaving
me with only two choices.
Did I take the easy way out and carry on down the shitty route that I was
currently traveling down, or did I really put in some effort and clean myself
up, to try and achieve something more? After all, I had been filled with a
whole heap of potential and promise not that long ago—everyone told me
Sticking to the difficult option was not a simple one. In fact, I almost went
back on it more than once, but now that I'd seen the light at the end of the
tunnel, and I'd dragged myself through it, I could see how worthwhile that
journey had been.
The only problem was I'd been left with some quite serious baggage. I
didn't like to let anyone in too close anymore, and I'd purposely made
decisions to help me with that. I started up my own graphic design business,
which after a slightly rocky start was actually starting to do well. It was great
to have something so intense to throw myself into, but it isolated me too. It
kept me locked in my office, in solitary confinement, while I completed very
intricate, time-consuming jobs. It gave me a whole heap of my own company,
and no headspace to think.
At one time, that had been perfect, but as time went on I started to realize
just how lonely that was, and now I wanted more. I wanted to meet someone,
to start a future with her, to get over the trust issues that Olivia had left me
But I was utterly terrified to take that first step.
Maybe that was why I'd agreed to come here, maybe I was hoping that it
would help lead me back into socializing in a normal way, rather than what I
was used to.
Sighing dejectedly, I slowly made my way towards the kitchen to chuck my
bottle away. There was an intense disappointment crushing down on my
insides, hurting me because tonight hadn't gone the way that I wanted it to.
I allowed it to consume me for a few seconds, knowing that I needed
to really feel it before I could brush it to one side. I had gotten into plenty of
trouble in my life by trying to ignore all of my issues, so I was perfectly aware
that this was the only way...
As I stepped into the kitchen, my eyes instantly fixated on the lone girl
gripping tightly onto what I knew was a bottle of very strong whiskey. I stared
in fascination as she poured three glasses of the stuff, wondering how the
hell someone so petite and waifish would be able to handle something like
Maybe she didn't know what it was, maybe she was just about to make
the hugest mistake of her life—one that would lead her to throw up all over
someone's home, completely humiliating herself.
Warn her! I tried to tell myself, by my racing heart and my bone-dry mouth
was too scared to speak out. Tell her, she needs to know.
"Strong choice," I eventually managed to blurt out, in a nervy-sounding
voice that I was certain would put her off me forever.
But as she span around, and our eyes connected, a burst of electricity
bolted right through me, so powerfully that it almost knocked me backward.
I smiled—or at least, I tried to—while I soaked every inch of her in. That sleek
auburn hair, her pale, almost translucent skin, the body language that
seemed to scream 'fear'. But what drew me in most of all were her eyes.
They were a deep, ocean-like blue—a color that I had never seen before—
and they were windows to her soul, and what I could see in there was a
reflection of myself. That deep, intense sadness, that hollow, empty feeling,
that sensation of being lost.
I knew at that moment that I had found a kindred soul, one that needed
me, one that I would do just about anything for.
This is the one, I decided as she finally forced our eye contact to
break. The one that will change me forever. Maybe I was being naive, maybe
not, I wasn't sure—but for the first time in my life, I was willing to find out...