The new drink

This guy’s sitting there, drink in hand, just staring at it.

His family’s around him, but he doesn’t even notice. They’re there, but he’s not with them.

His mind’s elsewhere, kind of in a stupor.

Oh yeah, definitely in a stupor.

What’s weird is, his mind’s active, just absent, like he’s in a dreamland almost, a different reality. And the more he’s there, the further away he is from here.

With that drink in his hand.

He’s like this every night. Comes home, grabs the drink immediately.

Hours pass.

Feels like only a few minutes.

The drink blurs time.

It started off socially, he said. But now – and he admits this – even though he still enjoys his drink while out with friends, it’s become more and more a solitary experience.

Alone with his drink. While everything around him continues without him.

But it helps him unwind, he says.

His son sees this. His son grows up seeing this. His son grows up expecting this of his dad.

It’s not unusual.

In fact, it would be more unusual if, suddenly, “I’m home. Let’s go outside and throw a baseball.”

That would be weird.

“I’m home.” And then that drink. That’s normal.

Days.

Weeks.

Months.

Years.

Like something out of Winnie-The-Pooh, Eeyore style.

And then.

And then nothing.

What, he dies?

Maybe that’s how it ends?

Or does his son follow suit?

“I’m home,” and then the drink?

This son sitting there, drink in hand, just staring at it?

Okay, now reread this, but every time you see “drink,” read “phone.”

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