Consequences

The unthinkable has happened. Readers will know that I’ve had two job interviews recently. You will also know that I got the first post, which is permanent and based in London. Yesterday, I found out I also got the other one which, I can now reveal, is based in Hong Kong. That one is only for a year.

The choice is clear. Continue reading

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High-strung highway

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This is the view from my kitchen window. Over the past 24 months I’ve spent hours caked in anxiety, peering out this window, counting the buses going by, hoping for Ben to materialise, willing him to be on his feet and not lurching, limping or covered in blood. These days, I do this less and less. Ben’s recovery is something I have grown to believe in. Until now. Continue reading

Sacrifice/regeneration

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1. Ben and I create a treasure hunt for Rosie. She finds it more exciting than the organic chocolate egg at the end. Verdict: ‘I don’t really like it.’
2. Ben’s friend and rehab mentor relapses on Friday. Ben is anxious. So am I. I can’t help thinking this spells doom for Ben. Then Ben says he wants to make the 2.5 hour journey to help his friend but the guy doesn’t think it’s safe. Impressive logic for someone blitzed on vodka and valium.
3. Ben spends every spare hour on the phone talking to this guy, trying to make sure he is ok.
4. I grow bitter, thinking of all the times I was depressed and Ben found somewhere else to be. Then I tell him what I’m thinking. We revert to silent unease and accusatory sighs.
5. Meanwhile, BT hijacks my phone number and I lose both my number and my internet connection. I am not even a BT customer.
6. My providers claim there was nothing they could have done about my unauthorised disconnection, but waste no time in selling me a new package. They can’t activate my service for another 3 weeks.
7. Ben and I resume a fragile alliance come morning.
8. I compose this post on my 4x5cm phone.

Relapse

It’s happened again. I’ve lost count of the relapses. Today, I found an empty can in the bedroom closet. I know it wasn’t there when I left the flat earlier today with Rosie. When we got back (we’d gone to one of her friend’s birthday parties), Ben was looking shaky and slow. He was also lurking around the bedroom closet. A little searching and – surprise, surprise – I found a can.

Another can of Polish beer. I found another one, crushed with masking tape over the mouth, in the loft. There are bound to be many more. He buys the Polish stuff because it’s cheap. He has no money, though. He is in overdraft – just over 500 quid.

I told him to leave. I said this was it, and it was time for him to go. First he said, ok. Then he stood in front of the bookcase for a while looking forlorn. Eventually, he fell asleep on the sofa, moaning to himself. When he got up, I asked him what he was going to do.

‘What do you mean?’ he asked.

‘I mean, are you going to tell them?’

Ben doesn’t want to tell the rehab centre because he is afraid of being chucked out. He claims the programme is working a little. He has characterised this relapse as not very serious, but can’t pinpoint exactly when it began. I know it hasn’t just been yesterday and today, as he says. So, he is still lying to me, still only admitting what he needs to admit because it’s already out in the open. He won’t divulge anything. He never lets anyone see more than they can see out in the open.

He also told me it was my fault. Not in so many words, of course. He said he’d told me he was in trouble 5 years ago. I said I’m not a health professional and had advised him to go to the doctor. He said I should speak to anyone – anyone – about me and what I’m like. That I have everything to do with his depression and alcohol.

So, yes, I’ll admit that I’m not the easiest person to live with, that I can be awfully critical, and that I have the temper of a hippo. But I can’t and won’t take all the blame. Seems to me he doesn’t remember a few awful things he did to me – betraying my trust time and again. Seems to me he also doesn’t remember the months and years of neglect. He doesn’t seem to understand that my bitterness, anger and antagonism stem from all of these things.

But I’m through talking about any of this. We were never meant to be together. It was always so much hard work. It still is. And it just isn’t worth it.