The Ride Down the Hill

As a kid of six or eight,
my favorite time of day
was the car ride with my dad
down the hill to the liquor store
where he was always in a good mood
pulling into that parking lot.
I didn’t know why back then,
But I did when I grew up
and learned to drink too.
The trip to the liquor store
was the turning point of my day.
Getting oiled for the evening’s clubbing.
Girls in painted on clothes.
But as my thirst grew with each year
and drinking was no longer a choice,
but kept the anxiety at bay,
the trip to the liquor store was filled with relief.
Pulling into the parking lot,
I completely surrendered to the thirst,
gave up the fight to quit that plagued me.
Not today, maybe tomorrow.
Maybe when I’m forced to.
Until then, just ride it to the edge.
“Hi,” I’d say to the cashier,
always at my friendliest with a cold twelve pack
on the counter in front of me,
my fingers tapping out a rhythm on its sides.
It was the closest to happy I would get,
just like my dad.

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