Daniel has just finished his daily workout and sat cross-legged in front of the window, staring into the dark, at the lights dimming across from the windows of skyscrapers that were far, far away, too far from each other to offer a chance for humans that lived in them to ever encounter each other’s eyes. He sipped from the whiskey glass, scratching his two-day stub. He was too lazy to shave the beard today. And girls liked it anyway. 

Another thought crossed his mind but he dismissed it as swiftly as it entered his consciousness. Sharp as a blade, the thought pierced through his calm demeanor and reminded him of something he was trying to forget by not thinking about it. Somewhere deep in the back of his head, he knew that he loved the beard because it covered the scar on his left cheek. 

He hated shaving it because, if he was not careful, the coarse upper skin would interfere with the smooth shaving strokes and the scar would start bleeding. He wasn’t as skilled with the hand stroke on the left, causing him to reopen the scar more than he thought was only by chance. 

Daniel used to shave his face the old way, just as his father did, with a razor blade. “Well, that’s about all that I’ve learned from my old man”, he thought. 

“That, and how to tell the difference between a good and a bad whiskey”, he laughed sarcastically as the whiskey was taking over and he didn’t even notice that he was scratching so hard that the scar started bleeding again. 

A dog’s bark nearby brought him back to his body and his immediate senses. It was Shark calling for Isaac and Pixie to wait for him.

“Damn it, you bastards!”, Daniel grew so angry that he opened the window and threw the half-empty glass at the dogs, breaking it into tiny pieces, the crystal of the expensive glassware spreading across the street into worthless sparkle, glowing on the candelabra and reminding Daniel he just wasted another sixty dollars of the luxury set. This was the second glass from the set of six he had broken by throwing it on stray dogs, but he didn’t care. For all the problems he had, money was not one of them. Young, ambitious, and handsome, he was among the top performers in his company. Deviant as he was successful, Daniel overdrunk on whiskey on Friday nights, especially when the next day was the Saturday visit day. 

Visit days were once a month, usually on the last Saturday of each month. They were a nightmare for Daniel, regardless of how cool he kept it on the outside. Each Saturday visit day, he went to see his old man in the senior’s residency out of town. All that whiskey just lessened the pain of the imminent meeting and helped him forget about how unhappy he was under all that surface glamour.

“Watch it, Issac, glasses are flying again!”, Shark warned his friend.

“He might as well throw us a bone or cook those eggs he throws at us!”, thought Shark as he sniffed around the broken pieces, discovering soon enough that nothing was interesting for him. There wasn’t any food, not that he needed any urgently because he was still delighting on the juicy t-bone that was hanging from his grip.

Daniel closed the window and poured himself another glass of whiskey as he went on to pick up the tonight’s outfit. It was time for action, and he had to look sleek. He didn’t plan to go home early and he didn’t plan on coming back alone either. He planned a long night – it usually solved his insomnia, at least for a short while. 

Insomnia always came after he drank too much, uncontrollably. The last physical he took showed the first signs of his deteriorating body. The poor physical health followed his mind that was already a wreck. 

The doctor warned him: “If you continue like this, you won’t even wait to live your father’s age, no matter how grim his life looks to you now. No amount of weight-lifting will handle it. You’d be dead by forty.” 

Daniel secretly knew his doctor was right but he didn’t want to admit that his pain came from his head and his heart. To admit that would mean having a mental health issue on his record and defeat at work. And his boss would certainly not like that! 

Daniel couldn’t face such a career demotion so he went ahead with letting his body and soul fall apart. It was the easier, safer option.

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