Saya glances over at Lan's hands, resting in his lap – considering the time, the trembling should be taking effect, but he seems still, looking out over the bay.
“You're not shaking,” she points out blatantly. He turns and looks at her, then his hands. With a sigh, he pulls them apart and tries holding them in a still position, the tremble now quite visible.
He threads his fingers together and lays them in his lap where the trembling vanishes, “You.. find positions of comfort that don't betray the symptoms.”
Lan fishes out a bottle from his pocket, rattling the orange tinted cylinder out in front of him. The benzos, Saya thinks. How many has he taken?
“Better living through chemistry,” he smiles wryly before pocketing them again, hands in his lap. “But there are signs I can't control.”
“Such as?” she asks.
Despite him cracking his neck side to side, he moves from staring straight ahead to look over at her – and were she not looking for it, she might have missed the fact that it wasn't a smooth motion – as if somewhere in his neck were a gear wheel with cut teeth, making it tick as he turns.
“It's even worse the more a muscle is stretched,” he continues, looking up and back behind him as the rattle was more pronounced, almost a vibration at the back of his neck that makes his head shake the more he keeps the position.
Returning to facing forward, his idle state was no different than anyone else's. But this is him on medication, too, she remembers.
“Doesn't it bother you? What it does to you.”
Lan breathes in through his nose and considers the question. “Of course. But not enough. I--..” he closes his mouth, still sorting out his answer. “I used to drink for the fun of it, the intoxication. I thought I was funnier and charming.”
He raises a brow and grins at her, but she wasn't returning any of the humor, so he looks back out at the water. “And it was fun, for a while. And.. manageable. I had rules. I started to tell you this before we came.”
“And then..” Lan rubs his forehead and shakes his head. “It went from something I liked and wanted to do, to.. something I had to do. To not have these symptoms.”
“And.. Mom died, and I thought, why bother stopping now? My reason to exist.. stopped existing. So, why not?”
Lan leans back against a pillar next to him, not looking at Saya, though she was concentrated on him like a laser, hanging on his words – it all felt like a continuation of their talk the other night. She didn't want to push it, not on vacation, even if he didn't think of this as one.
“So you're.. lost,” she says after a while, looking out at the water with him. “I can't imagine the feel, or the need for it, I've been in the presence of alcoholics, but not one myself.”
“What was fun is now.. required.” She leans forward and the wind catches her hair as well, before turning to look at him. “Do you want to stop?”
Lan looks down at her, finally, thinking. He shakes his head, “No. I don't have a reason to. They say my liver enzymes are elevated. I don't know what that means. I don't care.”
He turns and leans against the pillar behind him, facing her now. “Do you believe in God?” he asks.
“That's a.. loaded question for a short ferry ride.” Even now they were more towards the island than away from it, but she entertains him for now. “I do.”
“May I ask what religion?”
“The.. my parents raised me Presbyterian.”
He nods, crossing his arms over his chest. “And the Bible, do you believe that as the word of God, the.. history of Christianity?”
“I was ta--” She cringes and shrinks again as the ferry blares out its approaching horn, the forward motion starting to ease into a slower approach to the dock. People start to make their way to the end of the ship, but neither of them were in a hurry to disembark.
“I was taught that it was something to live by, but I will admit that there are.. contradictions in it, especially in this modern age.”
Lan didn't have to ask what she meant, the obviousness of same-sex relationships, how to treat a spouse, how God tested some of the first believers, he thought the same way. There was no reason to go into it further.
The ferry comes to a shuddering halt, a hydraulic ramp whining as it makes contact with the dock, the crowd having left them mostly to themselves.
“Does suicide lead directly to hell?” he asks.
Saya blinks, then studies Lan's face for a moment, looking around his features, but everything about his expression shows that he was being completely sincere.
“The..” She grips her purse, really conflicted in her answer because it was so up front, and so close to what he might actually be thinking. Initially, Saya would quote the Bible, but it didn't feel right with him, but she wasn't going to lie.
“To hell, I don't know. I do think a soul is punished for it. Whether that be purgatory, or hell, or reincarnation, I don't.. I don't know.”
Lan turns back to the deck and stands up, stretching his legs before turning back to her, holding out a hand. “And if you stop caring, does that make it suicide?”
Saya doesn't take his hand, standing up on her own as she looks towards the dock, then back to him. “Your organ failure is your choice. I don't think God would be okay with you pleading your case on a technicality, Lan.” She starts off towards the stairs down to the dock as he stands there for a moment.
“Now you're getting it, you don't know either!” He shouts after her until she's out of view.
- a recovering disaster? / twitter: @rgdrac
apologies for everything about me, it might get better.
updates will be once a day for the next seventy days since i am migrating from another platform and have those chapters - and more - ready to go. (from 8/9)
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