Monday, February 18, 2008

Paler than the Moonlight


I talked to B everyday while I was away in Arkansas, that Thanksgiving of '88. He was indescribably upset. His friend was gone, and I know he blamed himself. I know he felt, as I did, Bob had nowhere to turn, and he saw no hope in the eyes in the two people left in his life.
"The hospital was so mean to me when I called to ask about him." B told me one day on the phone. "They just said: 'Oh, he's dead. O.D.' and hung up. The police were just as bad. I guess if you're an addict, you're worthless to them. When they saw his only possession was a backpack full of clothes and condoms, they dismissed him as a hustler, and left."
"Do you think they'll be back?" I asked. I had no idea what I'd be walking into once I got home.
"No, they won't be back." He said.

Paper Float

I talked to Erin everyday while I was away, too. She empathized with Bob, and told me some of the terrible things he experienced growing up, and really didn't know how anyone could survive what he did, without intense therapy, which Bob hadn't got. Then she started to bring up the idea of me telling B to move out.

"He's a bad influence on you, and he knows it. B told me himself. He does love you, but you can't have him in your life and expect it to go anywhere." She said.

Part of me knew she was right, but part of me couldn't accept this person, who had saved my life so many ways and so many times, and on so many levels, could turn into a destructive force to me. I couldn't change me perspective of B over night.

"Spend time with him, talk to him, keep loving him, but just don't live with him. I'm afraid what will happen if you do."

I made up my mind I would try to help him. I would try to get him to go to NA or AA or where ever I could. I saw him heading down the same path as Bob, and I wanted to do my best to try and stop that. I would quit doing drugs. I would drink less. I would spend more time painting and drawing and making clothes.


I bought Erin a tiny blue sapphire ring, at the JC Penny in Little Rock, for Christmas, as a way of showing her how much I valued her in my life.
I told my family what had happened, but kept it vague: B's friend died. They didn't press me for more details, I'm sure out of fear, but had they, I probably would have spilled my guts; I was so at the end of my rope.
Erin picked me up at the airport, and went to my apartment with me. I talked to B the night before, and we promised each other we would get through Bob's death together, get through everything together, make some changes, and find some happiness; find something other than what we were finding. I thought we were on the same page. I thought he understood...
I walked into the apartment to find him in bed with a trick, drugs everywhere.
I lost it. I freaked out.
"How could you do this, with Bob death just a week ago? What are you on? How much have you taken? Why do you want to die like he did!!" I went on and on, to the point the guy in my bed ran out the door naked. I was crying in the kitchen after my outburst, and Erin came in to console me.
"Do you want him to leave now?" She asked.
"No. Just talk to him, Erin. Get him to understand. I don't know what to do." I said.
After a while, to lighten the mood, I gave Erin her gift early.
We talked through the night about everything: what had happened to Bob, our futures together, and what we would do next to make our lives better. I didn't believe a word B said, nor a word that came out of my mouth.

In a Manner of Speaking

Links: Duran Duran, Cassetes Won't Listen, Babyshambles, Nouvelle Vague


Anonymous said...

Isn't it crazy how some people (eg you, me, all those other messed up folks) can be with a person who is treating them terribly and not be able to accept it for what it is? Did you notice if your friend, Erin, was pounding her head on the kitchen table when you refused to leave him?

Doctors, nurses, police, EMTs have no patience with drug addicts. They can't be reasoned with and they chew up time and money. Think of how many addicts they deal with in the course of a week versus the number anyone outside of the recovery industry encoutners and its obvious why they get so bitter and jaded. It's scary to be called on to save someone's life and fear becomes anger. Should they try to disguise it and be professional? Absolutely. Just saying I get why they're not sympathetic to the plight of the addict.

Had a dream with you in it. You were in drag but you looked like a church lady. Tres unglam. Sorry, next time I dream about you in drag I'll try to give you a better outfit.

Aaron said...

Drugs turn people into something that has no resemblance to themselves. I feel very sorry for addicts, but having known a few, I can't stand being around them either--they're erratically cruel. Ironically, the ones that get cleaned up are the strongest people I know and are hardly ever mean! I guess what doesn't kill us DOES make us stronger.