American Lush

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Oh yes, you’re having a great time. You’re drunk again.  You’re lying very still in the dark in a rented apartment in downtown New York City and suffering from all sorts of decadent ills. Summer in this romantic, filthy city is oppressive and congested but you endure it oddly, madly, feverishly even. You think you’re getting used to the heat, the single roll of sweat coasting down your spine on the subway platform, the humidity heavy in the air and wet like a mouth. The sash windows are flung wide and gaping madly down onto the city and you can hear the distant, benevolent hum of air-conditioners protecting other people’s apartments from being spoiled by the heat. It’s so hot. There is no break from it, even at night, even at night there are sour breezes warm at your neck: why is it still so hot? Decadent ills. You drink so much more here. You feel like you’re drunk all the time, from the heat, sure, but also from whiskey, whiskey every evening. Smoky liquid gold on your tongue and burning bright behind your eyes. You haven’t been hung over once, though. There is something about the city and the city on whiskey that is kind to you, and the mornings are easier and the nights are spectacular, and all your friends are so happy for you, so happy you’re having so much fun and how brave you are. Yes, you must be having such a great time.

You saw a Chekhov play yesterday in a basement theatre in Soho – you sat straight-backed and cross-legged on a wooden bench while on stage the actors were draped across velvet couches drinking vodka by candlelight and crying for the old worlds. So tortured and lonely and in love, so decadent, so ill.