So, Rosie and I are leaving for a month. We leave in a few days. Ben is still drunk, claiming he’s detoxing himself slowly. I don’t see much evidence of a detox. He is glazed over, unshorn, and reeks of beer. His stomach is bloated – a sure sign he’s been abusing. He’s usually thin as a city fox. As soon as he drinks, his stomach inflates like one of Louis Armstrong’s cheeks.
I’m stressing, of course I am. If he isn’t sober by Monday, he’s in trouble, because the rehab centre he is visiting doesn’t offer detoxes. He has to be clean before he is admitted. I have little confidence that he is going to turn up, anyway. He’s already blown two appointments with them. Am I going to have to miss my four morning meetings to make sure he gets up there? Am I going to have to put that time in? Or do I leave it to him, and if he comes back, tell him he can’t come back?
The disappointments keep adding up. I can’t restrain my anger when I’m around him, either. I find myself telling him horrible things – harmful, undermining things. I tell him he’s a failure, an idiot and a waste of space. I slap him on the legs – twice – when Rosie and I come home and find him drunk and crashed out on the futon at 4 o’clock in the afternoon.
Then I leave with Rosie, and meet a friend in the park. I apologise to Ben over the phone. As long as I am not actually looking at him – seeing that glazed over, red-faced, stupid expression – I can speak rationally to him. But if we are in the same room, I feel revulsion… and guilt. I look at him and feel responsible.
He’s on the sofa right now. The tv is blaring as usual, and he is umming to himself in his sleep. He’s on Prozac, beta blockers, vitamin B and booze. He is permanently sweaty. I can’t bring myself to sit on certain parts of the futon. The smell is too off-putting.
So, it’s Saturday. A few more days and that’s it. If things go to plan, he’ll be gone by Monday. Much as I want him to go, I wonder what it will be like to be on my own with Rosie. Just the two of us from then on. The thought of it fills me with sudden and unexpected dread. I’m scared. Why?