Califoregonian (Excerpt): Walking in the rain in the dark

by austin beaton

⅓ memoir, ⅓ essay collection, ⅓ letters written to strangers, ex-lovers, and acquaintances, Califoregonian is a walking through what it might mean to leave your home and leave your body. Buy it here.

I do meth or heroin and am shaken by the shoulders 37 years later, woken from a bad trip like a junkie Rumpelstiltskin. The disappointing stare and head shake of my wrinkled-cheek mother I now barely recognize. Dad: slumped sober and peaceful, disappointed.

“We told you alcohol and drugs ruin lives. We told you.”

This my biggest fear and recurring nightmare as a kid.


I float out the skin quick as a sea anemone closing. Fuck. I know this feeling. Anxiety from the latte? Are these my thoughts? Are these my hands over the laptop keys? Is my creation myth re-beginning?

Working full-time in Oregon is different from being a student. October, November. Oregonians usually greet strangers, but not in late autumn or winter. You walk to work in the in rain in the dark. In the office you take in fluorescent light or escape for gray out the window. Water beads on the glass. Sometimes the sky black-purple like the clouds are bruised. You walk home in the rain in the dark. Your socks wet. Your sinus infection three months long. Phlegm down a bathroom sink. Roommates stoned depressed. You tell people you don’t blame Kurt Cobain for eating a shotgun. Heroin and grunge in 155 days of rain a year? Courtney Love didn’t need to do it. Philadelphia and Miami and Alabama get less days of more rain. Here, water torture.

Here, I live inside the belly of a whale. I paddle a canoe through the streets black, the bow bumping yesterday’s phantoms.

You can buy Califoregonian on Amazon here.