Pedro Ávila

“Don’t tell me where you live, you drunken sack of shit,” Wes was yelling at me from the front seat. “I’ve taken your drunk ass home too many time to have to listen to your mindless babbling.”

“butI dontmmmmlive there I-urrp-live here…,” and he turned left at the light. “Turn green at the lightmmmmmmdammit. You’re lllmmbbbpp had to turn green at the left.”

“What’s he saying,” asked Patrick, who was driving the car.

“Never mind what that animal says,” said Wes.

They dropped me off in front of my parents house, where I hadn’t lived for a few weeks since moving into my own place. But they didn’t know that. Fine, I thought. Wonderful. I’ll just stumble into my old bedroom and sober up in the morning. No problem.

It was a cold night and very bright, with the moon a hyperactive beacon in the sky. I stumbled up the two or three steps to my parent’s front door but found it locked. I couldn’t find a key so I took a step back and gathered myself.

Easy, man. Maintain some kind of grip on yourself. You must sleep soon but first you have to get into that door.

Right. Easier said than done, but thanks.

It’s not that cold, I thought to myself. I bet I could make it home in what? An hour? It’s only 3 miles.

And I started walking down the street, towards the bike trail through the woods. A hundred meters down the street I realized that the night was spinning all around me and that things were starting to take the shape of those stories that end up with the guy waking up in a 7-11 bathroom with his back against the wall and one arm supported by the toilet, bile dripping from his lips and his pants soaked in his own urine while the thin Indian man knocks violently on the door and threatens to call the police. And I didn’t need that in the morning.

So I turned around and decided to face the music. It was going to be an ugly story but at least it would have an end to it. I managed to jump over a fence into my mother’s garden without more than a few minor scratches and bruises from landing shoulder-first against the sides of the two-by-fours that hold together the frames for her tomatos. This put me within reach of their bedroom window so that I could tap the window and wake them up.

Aahhh, shame. You think you know shame when you’re walking back from the freshmand dorms on a Saturday morning? Or when you drink that cup full of everyone else’s food and juice in the canteen for $5? You know nothing.

My mother came to the door in the back yard in her pajamas, her hair frazzled and a sleepy look of disgust in her eyes. That much I remember. She took me in, told me I reeked of gin and turned the shower on for me. She smacked me upside the head, kissed my temple and called me a jackass. Then she told me she was glad I was safe and that I hadn’t done anything stupid like drive or worse, and that I was always welcome there.

“But for god’s sake, drink something else. You smell terrible!”


Pedro Ávila Pedro Ávila

For a reasonably sane & productive member of society (arguable, but let’s not complicate things), I’m far too mobile and unrooted. I travel quite a bit for a job that is simultaneously my greatest privilege and my worst burden.

So I write. And I write. Travel pieces, political journalism (a stretch from ranting but, still), short stories, poetry and other such riff-raff. I contribute to a handful of publications and will probably just keep going until something gives out, or someone gives in.


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Of smiles and roars