The mug was half empty. Or half full but it felt like it was half empty. I dumped the remaining contents down my throat. It felt like I was swallowing a burning rock as it slid down my throat. Unbearable. I stared down the bottom of the mug. Bits of the foam remained, preventing me to see the bottom of the glass. At least the foam will eventually clear up, leaving only a trace of beer. Clearing up what was real and what was my imagination.

“How much?”

“Fifth one tonight is still three dollars”

I looked into what was left of my wallet. Just loose change. I dumped it on the table. The clanking sound of the few coins seemed to echo a dead note over the music.

The dense fog of perspiration and smoke clouded my senses as I stumbled out of the chair. Clumsily, my leg caught onto something but I managed to break my fall with my hands. I could smell the floor; the putrid smell of years of soaked alcohol. Quickly getting up, I fought the swarm of the dancing crowd as I headed for the door. It was futile. Impossible to fight against them. No matter how hard I pushed, all I could do was dance with the rest of them. I managed to slip through the grasp of the swarming flesh. The exit looked just heavenly. I braced for the cold as I stepped out into the winter air.

The cold stole my breath but I eventually relaxed in the unforgiving air. I took a deep breath. It was still difficult as it cut into my throat but it was better than the humid, disorderly air inside. The music was now replaced by the din of the city. The horn of car blared somewhere as another car speed by, throwing grit into my face. Street lights glared onto me. I had no money to pay for a taxi. I had nobody to call so I decided to walk away from the light, down to the dark alleyway. The stench of the rotting dump was only mild.

Slowly, the chatter of the city died off, leaving an eerie glow from the ambient street lights. Without warning, I heaved. Bent over, staring at the ground, I added to the odour of the alleyway with my dinner and beer. Funny. None of the vomit actually had a chance to rest in my mouth. It just flew out. It is amazing the things you notice when you were isolated from society, away from reality. The few stray beams of light that stalked me also died off. I was now walking in complete darkness away from the stench.  My energy slowly drained away as I continued until I collapsed onto the ground. In complete darkness, nothing was sure, only that I was on ground. I smiled realizing this was the only certainty in the world. My beautiful escape from—