1) My forehead twitches. It's an involuntary cure for a pressure in
my sinuses. Nothing will ease this pressure. I blink and move my
forehead and my ears join in and I do it all the time, more at night,
more after caffeine. For the split second while twitching, this
pressure is lifted.
2) I chew twelve dollars worth of Nicorette a day. I like cinnamon.
I eat three pieces at a time. It makes my stomach hurt. I sleep with
it pressed between my gums and molars. It gives me diarrhea.
3) In the last month, I've applied for twelve jobs. I've gotten
reject minuses on the two that actually replied. The others, nothing.
No call. No email. These aren't great jobs -- Subway, grocery stores,
4) My dog shits on the stairs. He's a Husky. He just turned six.
This is new over the last month and I think about it being some
not-so-subtle fuck you, some form of acting out, and maybe he's saying
you don't give me enough exercise or maybe he's saying I don't like
you and mommy fighting.
5) When I was young, probably eight or nine, my mom asked what was
wrong with my face. I couldn't stop blinking, trying to ease the
tension from my forehead. I told her I didn't know what she was
talking about. She said that she was taking me to the doctor.
6) When I read or watch TV, I pluck my left eyebrow. My wife tells
me to stop. I don't realize I'm doing it. It just feels like the hairs
are so long and curly and are fucking hideous and I've gotten damn
good at zeroing in on the worst offenders, securing them between two
chewed nails, and giving a quick outward jerk. I love it when the end
is white and thick. Makes me feel like I've really accomplished
7) The other day, I walked through campus and a group of a few
hundred gathered in the courtyard. There was music. They were doing
dance skits for some fraternity/sorority thing. I laughed because it
was ridiculous. My laughing got loud and then I realized I wasn't
laughing, but crying, bawling, and I covered my mouth and turned and
walked away. They'd looked so young.
8) Last month, I started to go to meetings again. I said that after
eight years of being sober, I was losing it. Not using or anything,
just coming the fuck undone, everything seeming impossible,
unmanageable. They talked about gratitude. They talked about getting
back to the basics. They told me to let go and let god. I drank coffee
and ate Nicorette. My forehead twitched. They told me that addiction's
an insidious disease, always coming back, motherfucker's doing pushups
and shit, just waiting for a chance to resurface.
9) My mom came to visit. This was the first time in two years. She
slept in the study. She woke up and I could hear her disgusted, saying
things like oh my. I got out of bed. My dog had covered the white
steps with shit. My mom said what is going on in this house?
10) I met a guy at a coffee shop for an interview and told him I would
be great at holding a sign on the side of the road. He looked me up
and down. I felt violated. He told me he'd give a call if something
11) The doctor spoke to me like I was retarded. I sat on the crinkling
white paper. This was me as a kid. My mom was there too. He told me
the tick with my forehead was psychological. He asked if something was
bothering me. He asked if I felt stressed. He asked if I was
experiencing a sense of losing control.
12) I've learned to shield my tic. I've learned to sneak one in when
heads are turned. I've learned that it will never go away -- the pressure
in the very center of my forehead -- that it's not physical, that it's
not even there, that it's fears and the future and marital strife and
shitting dogs and it's not doing what is needed to be a better person,
healthier, more sober, holding addiction and defects at bay, and
knowing this, self-pity more comfortable than change, and it's
pretending that life is fifty-yard-field goals and my relationships
are I-beam sturdy, and it's the feeling of being buried underneath
thin hairs growing from my left eyebrow and they're strong and thin
and they cover my body and crawl down my throat and it's gagging on
their coarse pubic texture and being bound by each and every hair -- each
one disgusting, each one unrelenting -- and I've learned to shield their
ripping out too, as well as not to feel like I've accomplished
anything when I see their white root of flesh because another one is
already filling its place.