Once upon a time, something inside me snapped, and a part of me that I didn't even know I had screamed. And it screamed, and it screamed.
Echoes of those screams still reverberate inside me, bouncing around to and fro off the walls of this hollow shell that defines the place where I used to keep my soul. The echoes are softer now. Usually, I have to really concentrate to be able to detect them at all. And, even if I do think I hear something, I'm usually able to ignore it. To dismiss it as a memory of a memory, not relevant at all.
But sometimes, like tonight, one of those echoes manages to bully its way close enough to the surface, close enough to the surface that I simply cannot ignore it. So I have what might be called an anxiety attack, or on bad nights, a panic attack.
Tonight was a bad night.
It started when I was about halfway through my glass of Delirium Tremens (409). There was a time when a good Belgian ale would actually calm my stomach down. But not tonight. My hands started shaking and my gut started doing flips, and I knew right away that this was not a good night for me to be at Rich O's.
Trooper that I am, though, I did try to tough it out. After my Tremens, I had a half glass of Upland Bad Elmer's Porter (42) and enjoyed that while I kept my eyes locked on the entrance to Rich O's proper. I don't know who I was expecting to walk through that door. The grim specter of death might have been a welcome sight - that would at least have explained the anxiety, the incredible sense of dread that was washing over me.
No such luck.
By the time my porter was gone, I knew that there was no way I could stay in that place for another minute.
So I left.
Eventually, hopefully, I'll stop shaking, and then I'll go downstairs and shoot some pool. I really need the practice.