The oddest aspect of a friendship / relationship with a drunk is that you find yourself hoping he’ll/she’ll fail. You hope she’ll hit rock bottom faster so she’ll get help and you’ll get her bullshit off your back. It’s so soul sucking waiting for someone’s destruction. So you can wait or you can walk away. I’ve never loved anyone enough to wait or be the martyr.
Am I driven by politeness or obligation or fear? I don’t know. I do know I’m not motivated by intention or altruism. And I do know I’m driven.
I sat on the grass and watched her enter through the gate. We used to be friends. Since childhood. Before puberty. She’s been in my life for most of my life. And then she wasn’t. Her actions toward me were untoward and I walked away. Well, no. I’ve stood staid; I’ve just remained silent. But when I see her I say hello. I acknowledge her without warmth. Out of spiritual obligation and not nostalgia. No longer affectionate. Once in awhile I’d look away from my group and see her across the patio. Am I angry? No. I’m not an angry man. And although I am an Irishman, I do forgive and often forget. So I’m not angry. Am I saddened? No. I don’t think of the loss; I think of the less. She’s less than what I assumed. I assumed loyalty. I assumed fidelity. I didn’t hope; I believed.
We live in an angry and bitter world. We’ve become the Divided States of America. And so I guard myself from a deep seep. I refuse to allow myself to wallow or to stew. So I sat on the grass and examined my conscience. I’m not angry. I’m not saddened. But I am disquieted. No. I’m disappointed. Yes. That’s the adjective.
It’s bigger than the less of a friendship. It’s bigger than the loss of a believed. It’s a reflection of my soul. I’ve held a human to an expectation. I took her probity as granted. I’ve considered the word. Disappointed. Not properly appointed. I appoint people to positions in my life: loyal friend. Sage adviser. Amusing clown. Disappointed is a reaction. Disappointed is mine. I’m responsible for disappointed. So now I guard myself. I must avoid my bitter. I refuse to embrace my hateful. I repudiate a sarcastic. I will not have a pointed personality.
I walked into a bar and saw a bartender I know. Now he’s a bartender and not a friend. But we know each other by name. I’ve essentially quit drinking since this heart diagnosis, so I haven’t seen him in a good year. We shook hands and he lowered his voice and said, “How are you?” And I replied I was fine. And he moved closer and said, “No. How are you?” And then I knew my close buddy (who I don’t hear from anymore since I got sick. He didn’t even visit me in the hospital. Now there’s a fuck-you friendship) had told the bartender about my health. And frankly I felt angry.
No one has the right to my intimacy without my permission. I decide who knows about me and my life. I’m a writer. I’m entitled to tell my tales.
But you know what? You don’t call me, visit me, assist me, or ask how I am – we aren’t friends. And I’ll grab my ankles and fuck myself before someone uses me as an entertaining story. My life is not gossip.
There’s one really great aspect of facing death: I so easily and effortlessly remove people from my waning life who make my struggles about them. They can make their own film because they’re not starring in mine. Amen.
I love that theater is illustrative and instructive. Theater is almost unique as a vehicle to provide an echo of humanity. Like a child marveling at the movement in an aquarium, we can watch emotions expressed that either mirror our own or antagonize us into new emotions. And it changes us in an almost singular way by demonstrating behavior worthy of emulation or demanding condemnation. It gives men permission and women communion. And theater isn’t limited by space. A parent teaching a child to tie a shoe is a life altering performance. Theater is show-n-tell.
The thing about age is that you don’t need to take your finger and poke the corpse. You know it’s dead. You mourn the apathy, not the loss. And you walk through the door; you don’t slam it. You don’t turn around. You just don’t love them anymore.
I just had a conversation with the nurse who’s taking care of me. I’m very open in my life so people share with me. She’s very sick. I won’t reveal her illness. But it’s severe. We talked about two things. We talked about having an illness that isn’t noticeable. The wound nurse treated my foot ulcer last night. It’s an open bleeding sore. It’s obvious. But when you have an illness someone can’t see, it’s dismissed. We talked about not wanting sympathy – merely wanting acknowledgement. I told her that I’ve lost most of my friends since I’ve been sick. I didn’t know why. And then she told me. I love she had my answer. “People don’t want the emotional responsibility of you.” I love that. So true.
And then we talked about hatred. I’ve noticed there’s an undercurrent of snide and snippy in conversations. I feel like people are ready to pounce. I had a conversation with a buddy the other day. As I spoke I felt like he snatched the words from my air. It was nearly violent. And the nurse and I talked about it. She feels it too.
Lately I feel sad and bitter and hopeless and full of hate. That’s not like me. That’s not who I am. I need to change that. I won’t let my soul become wounded. And I can’t inflict my sadness and hopelessness on others. So. Hopefully the docs will be able to adjust my meds to a reasonable and livable baseline. I’m going to concentrate on my play. And I’m going to tuck my writing aside and not gush until I’m certain I can control the flow.
The best aspect (okay only) of being sick? Examinations of Conscience. Inactivity makes one introspective and fear makes one reflective. I haven’t been as good of a man as I should have been. I should have been a better friend. Now I sit in waiting rooms alone and I know:
I’ve known people who were sick and I didn’t help them.
I’ve known people who were confined and I didn’t visit them.
I’ve known people who were alone and I didn’t sit beside them.
I’ve known people who were afraid and I didn’t soothe them.
I’ve known people who were troubled and I didn’t even ask them how they were.
I’m glad I’ve felt it.
Now I’ll amend my life.
See the thing about grief and loss is that only the one experiencing the loss or the sorrow has the right to determine the length of time his emptied heart or his saddened soul can grieve, experience, or feel. And if he wishes to feel the emotions and thoughts that his grief produces, he can. For ten minutes or as long as he fucking decides to deal with his new reality.
You know how people drunk text? (Oh I’ve done that. That’s why I delete an Ex’s number the moment we break up.) But I don’t drink anymore. So I write when I’m filled with emotions. Someone should probably take away my keys. (Is that why they call it a keyboard?) I think I use Facebook wrong. I use it to face my fears. I post to face my facts. Maybe I should’ve kept everything at face value. Doesn’t really matter either way. I thought about the idiom “save face.” Yeah. I’d say it’s time I did that.