A letter to the man who drinks wine every day at my neighborhood Starbucks to let him know—you're not alone, I know how you feel, and you will be okay.

Dear friend,

Though we’ve passed glances at each other, I know you don’t really see me. I know because some part of me knows some part of you.

In your red eyes and shaking hands, I recognize a piece of my heart.

I look at you, and I see the part of me that used to struggle just to survive, that could only feel comfort in a chemical haze, that felt desperately alone.

I’ve watched you refill your cup, again and again. Remember when I helped you clean up that spill? I doubt you do. You could hardly get up.

I’ve seen you. I’ve seen how you don’t see me, don’t see anyone, as you stride to the bathroom, eyes burning with purpose-filled ferocity. I know what you’re looking for.

I used to look for it too.

I’ve seen you call all the women in your address book, one by one, each phone call less coherent. Trying, trying so hard to just find someone to connect to. And yet, with each moment, feeling further away. Because, in those moments, the moments when the wine has done as much magic as it can, you look down the bottom of the empty cup and see nothing.

When the bottle gives you everything a bottle can give, underneath there’s a profound loneliness, a deep and gaping love-sized hole that begs to be filled.

And you fill your love-sized hole with wine. But it’s not wine-sized, so you drink more and more.

We can never have enough of what we don’t need. I’ve learned the hard way. And I know that, maybe, one day you will learn too. I hope you do.

Each day, you come in earlier and earlier.

And each day, there’s a hint of hope in your eyes as you take the first sips of your nectar, thinking that today, unlike yesterday, will give you something else, something more.

But it never will.

And that’s okay. Because it doesn’t need to.

You see, you’re not alone at all. None of us are. We’re all connected in a spiritual, interconnected, energetic way. And even if you don’t believe in that kind of thing, you’re still not alone.

You’ve got me.

I care.

Here I am, grasping to understand you and connect with you. And there are hundreds and thousands of people who are suffering, deeply and ravenously, from the same hole within. And there are so many people who are looking for you, while you look for them from behind your crimson shield.

I know, in the end, that you will be okay.

I know because, some days, you come in and you open the blinds so you can see the sun. And in those first few moments, before the gap between impulse and action becomes ever smaller, you know you will be okay.

I see it in your eyes.

And that gives me hope.

Not just for you.

For all of us.


(Photo by Demi Brooke)


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