by Nathan Graziano
When Lisa and I split, she took it all—the house, our one respectable car, and Gary, the parrot I taught to say fuck you. And she cheated on me. Go figure. But this was back before I got sober, and at the time I did what any jilted drunk would do: I rented a cheap one-bedroom place in a bad part of town and spiraled into a stormy bender. Days melded into other drunken days, weeks into interminable weeks, all boiling in a cracked caldron of my own self-loathing.I was three weeks deep into my bender and pretty tight the night Jackson called. It was the first time I'd heard from him in five years, and he called to tell me his plane would be arriving in Logan Airport at 10:15 p.m. Jackson—a beefy guy whose real name was Brian Unger—gave birth to the nickname one night when he did an improbably perfect moon walk across filthy kitchen tiles while looped at a frat party. Mind you, this was a good decade after the dance step reached its peak of popularity. When Jackson called me from O'Hare in Chicago, he said that he and his wife Stacey were on the skids, and that's all he said. So I wrote the flight number in red ink on the back of my hand then drove, heavy-lidded and sweaty, to the airport in my dented-to-shit Honda Accord with a Styrofoam cooler of cold Coors Light cans in the backseat.
As I waited