The 8th of November 1972 – Bowling Green, Ohio

(found – coated with vomit – in the parking lot of Wood County Hospital)

Dearest Uncle,

I am pleased to notify you that I recently took your advice, and the plan went off almost entirely without a hitch.

I showed up to the party, anxious and sweaty as always, and I promptly signaled to the barkeep for a scotch and soda. Thirty seconds later, I got another, and I downed it half as quick.

See uncle, now I was ready, and, really, I was.

I was smiling. People were smiling, and I was smiling. You see, I’ve smiled before, but never like this, never with my teeth showing and my lips stretching. I was happy. I was relaxed. I was, perhaps for once in my life, comfortable.

The thoughts had stopped. Suddenly my head, my mind, felt empty. I had never noticed just how loud those voices in my head were until they were silenced at that moment. The world was there, and it was all that was there, and it was enough. Can you believe that? The world was finally enough for me.

I was at a party, and I was having fun. I was smiling. I said that, but the emphasis is needed. I was smiling like a person smiles. You’ve seen people smile, right? I’m sure you have. See, I could have been mistaken for one of those people. I really could have.

My arms were moving the whole night. Sometimes they made sense, my arms, moving table to glass to mouth and back again. But really they just danced around the room and dragged me behind them. My arms were dancing the whole night, and I danced with them.

But I quickly learned the advantages of inhibition, all the more quickly whenever I opened my mouth. I’m sure, and I’ve been assured, that nothing I said was wildly inappropriate. Instead, I spoke of grandeur and beauty and love. I spoke of the world and its people and my feelings towards it and towards them. Nobody believes me that the thoughts were always there, but they were. I had only just drank the courage needed to let them loose. You see, I spoke honestly, and that must have made people uncomfortable. That or my dancing.

I must have spoken improperly to someone or the other because I found myself out on the sidewalk with a door slamming shut behind me. It turned out to be fortunate timing. I wretched and heaved in the front yard for a few minutes until Harold noticed me through the window and came outside. He brought me down a few blocks to the hospital. They told me I might have alcohol poisoning.

Thanks again for the advice. It really did help things along,

Maxwell James


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