I used to be fond of sake. Like really, really fond. The sort of fond that isn't really all that healthy, because you end up missing half your life in a haze and the other in a hangover and none of it is at all productive. But more than that--I loved the taste of it, the burn of it. Oh, don't get me wrong, I loved the black veil it drew over memory and blame just as much or more, I was fond of the stuff itself. After a youth of cheap ale and gin, sake was truly the godsend I thought I found in Japan.
I can't get drunk anymore. How funny--it was a set condition of becoming a hero, for me to stop drinking, but little did we know then that it was about to not matter anymore. My ability manifested fully. I woke from the dead. And, believe you me, promise or not, I worked desperately hard to get drunk that night, but to no avail. The sake burned out of my body the way it used to burn away regret, and left me face to face with the reality of what I was becoming.
Still, I drink for pleasure, now, for the taste and the loose-knit memory of a kinder oblivion than any I've found in ages, but it isn't sake. God, no. I won't touch the stuff unless forced to by politeness or custom, and only then if I'm in a mood to be conciliatory, not offensive. For the sake of a business deal I need or a connection I want to keep, I'll force the stuff down, but I don't enjoy it anymore.
It's laced with too many memories, too much lost hope, too many disappointments, too much failure. Every sip brings back something I'd rather forget, instead of driving an errant memory away, and when I cannot lose myself in any pleasant escape even, then I find it far more wise to avoid it when possible. If I'm going to drink, let it be a wine that brings to mind the halls of Versailles, or a beer that reminds me of afternoons with mates in a pub, or a solid whiskey sipped by a fire, imbued with memories of conversations and dreams that never quite died. But not sake, not anymore. That love, like so many others, is dead, and I'm fine with it staying a ghost of a past I won't repeat.