Recovery – Jamie Iredell

What it means is that you snap the lid back down on it. Can’t see that shit anymore. What it means is that you find again what once was lost: the other sock, the GI Joe action figure Ace, the Sky-Striker pilot, launched skyward from your mother’s clothesline, a toy finding itself like Wile E. Coyote on some enormous slingshot, and falling back to earth, somewhere in the oaks of the backyard, and found years and years later, when your father weedwhacked the California brome out there, Ace a bit faded, dirtsmudged, the toy brought back to the boy, the boy now a man, the toy useless other than nostalgia; and then you find the other sock. It means that in the event that a nuclear device is stranded on an oceanic shelf 12,000 feet deep, you must organize the efforts to get the device before the Russians do. For that there’s a lot of sweat and cursing involved and it all takes place in the movie. It means the paycheck cashed at the Sands Casino on a Friday and the bills counted into your open palm after a long week after long nights at tiny Mr. O’s, at dingy Freddie’s, at the filthy Fourth Street Jazz Club, your deflated and starving wallet filled again, with a free drink toke and a free Ace to boot. It means a different kind of Ace here, one you stash up with the others and later toss down on a Blackjack table and rake in the winnings, until, of course they discontinue the free Ace for obvious reasons. It means the long days huffing it around the bars on crutches while your tibia mends, when you and Mike almost fistfight on 4th street at 2 in the morning, you’re so goddamn tired of him stealing a crutch or both and nearly doubling over as you hop around the bar to find where he’s stashed them. It means the shot of pain when you stumble on the steps leading to the bookstore in downtown Monterey and knowing the pain means your leg’s mending. It means the week you spent in detox and the 6 weeks spent in PHP and the months—years—of therapy to get over the reasons you’d turned to the bottle when life dealt you lemons, cause when it does that, like everyone knows, what you do is you make a whiskey sour. What it means is coming out beyond the relapse with a chair thrown, the front bumper hanging like a broken leg, the bottles Sarah takes and stashes or dumps or whatever she does with them, after the awful unspeakable thing you said that you have to confront, after the relapse when you woke whiskey drunk and tried to cook the spaghetti and Sarah told you, “just go to bed,” it means that after your own kid goes to the looney bin for a week, and after their own PHP, and their own yearslong and ongoing bout with therapy, what it means is what you do every goddamn day: keep breathing, keep breathing. What it means is, I can hear you respirating. That means you’re alive. You can’t see that shit anymore. Snap.