I hate being sober.
Not the clear headed part ‘per se’ but more the loss of perspective.
All of you sober people out there reading this will just not know, so let me give you an understanding: When you are on a drug, life is different. It is bigger, or softer, or harder, or more colorful or less colorful or whatever it is that your drug of choice does for you.
You accomplish more, love more, live more when you are on the drug. It gives you a sense of control over life, something more than ‘life mundane’ gives any of us.
Then you sober up. The colors go out of the world. The tones are muted. The sun is harsher. People smile less at your jokes, and you even realize that half your jokes weren’t even that funny to begin with. So, you take another hit at the pipe, or another line of powder, or even let that little tablet dissolve on your tongue, and life is worth living again.
You may not be the life of the party, but the party follows you around. Everything is perfect, or if not perfect at least you don’t care that it isn’t perfect. The small details don’t matter, and the big ones can always wait until tomorrow.
Rashad always let me experience the world at a much greater level that I could just on my own. I could see birdsong floating on the breeze; smell the colors of the plants, people, and animals that walked around me. I could taste the joy that other people wore on their faces and feel their grief grate across my skin in its roughness.
Now, all of that is gone. My Rashad is gone. I conserved it as long as I could, but even a hundred doses will eventually run out when taken daily.
The sun is harsh in my eyes now. I try my best to keep my smile, but even the act of wooing a woman has lost some of its savor without the ability to smell her smile or see the dulcet tones of her voice. I still engage with my companions, but I think even they can sense that something is missing. I still drink from my flask, but without the Rashad, it is only water. Alcohol was never something I liked to consume for its own sake.
Luckily I was able to keep up my doses for the duration of the time that I worked with Greminor. A more demanding taskmaster I have never met, nor likely to again. He is an Ogre for all that he claims, and appears, an Elf.
Don’t get me wrong; he is the greatest of Alchemists in all of Palladium, but he has all of the personality of a wet porcupine and the social skills of a yearling-dragon with a toothache.
I have to laugh at myself. I think I am taking some of my foul mood out on the nearest source of aggravation. It is possible that Greminor is actually a pleasant companion, but I shall only brave his company in the future well fortified with mood altering substances and after a coital binge to make even Tyvernos blush.
Two new spells grace my arsenal, a debt incurred to the group I now call home. I hope they appreciate the sacrifices I make for them. If not, it shan’t alter my willingness to do what is necessary to bring this quest of ours to a happy conclusion.
Deep breaths, plaster on my smile. Check it in the mirror and make minor adjustments until it looks real. Now I am ready to make my way into their company and go haring off into adventure.
Image from Sittin’ There on Capitol, Hil