||[Jun. 28th, 2005|01:00 pm]
Adam visited last weekend. Friday evening I walked down to the station to meet him. It was stormy and the sky sagged under its own weight. Under the Victorian awning of the station, the paint flaking away, yellow-cream over maroon, I waited for his late train. Everything glistened and it was darker, at six, than it had been at eleven the previous night. Almost an hour after it was due, Adam's train pulled in and a few smudged people stepped off, putting their palms out, turning their faces to the sky, opening umbrellas, putting up hoods. Adam wasn't among them, and momentary anxiety convulsed through me. I heard a shout from behind, my name, he was there, hair in straggles plastered to his face by rain, a wine bottle and a book in either hand, he grinned, he looked terrible. "Where's your bag?" was my bathetic opening gambit, all I could think of to say as he stood soaking in front of me, the last people from the train skirting round us. He sipped from the bottle and offered it to me. I took it but didn't drink. "Don't need one." he said bluntly, "Shall we go?". I grabbed his wrist and pulled the hand with the book towards me, "What are you reading?", it was 'She Came to Stay' by Simone de Beauvoir and a trickle of embarrasment melded with the discomfort of the situation; I didn't even know that she had written novels. "Oh, trash!" Adam yelled, suddenly animated and pitched the paperback hard at the window of the train, causing a dozen pairs of eyes to turn our way. I steered Adam out of the station and under my umbrella which blustered and gusseted in the wind and rain. He snatched back the wine and began walking quicker and quicker, wouldn't talk. |
At home he collapsed onto my bed and was asleep within the first ten minutes of 'Heart of Glass' which I had rented on his recommendation. He woke up just before the end and fixed me with condescending eyes, a little more lucid now, and nasty, "Are you enjoying yourself?" he said, "What do you make of the, er, stylization?" the last word he pronounced syllable by syllable, dwelling over it, making it deliberate and crisp despite his slurs. And then fell asleep again. He woke the next day remembering little, nothing of the cruel outburst that kept me up virtually all night, only dimly aware that he had gotten an earlier train, drank too much on the way, tried to find my place but couldn't and so returned to the station where, fortunately, I was waiting. We spent the rest of the day in quiet chatter, I don't think he noticed my guardedness. He left Sunday evening around eight, the sky was blissful and cloudless, it could have been midday. As I was walking out of the little station, a concerned looking elderly man in uniform approached me, "Is this yours?" he said, proffering a book. For a moment I couldn't think of the appropriate response to the situation, I didn't recognise what he was giving me and in my panic believed that he was offering me some sort of gift. "Um, did you drop this here on Friday?" he filled the gap in the awkwardness of our silence and I looked at the book more closely. It was Simon's de Beauvoir, the pages water damaged, like it had been dropped in the bath.
I don't know how to talk to him or to rationalise to myself the problem he currently has with drinking. Admitting it to myself has been hard enough, but I have seen this situation worsen over the past few months. Being at home depresses him terribly, he is alone and argues a great deal with his parents. I can't write about this either. So far, in the few entries I've made, this journal has been a strange kind of therapy, I appreciate that I have been prettifying events, fixing them to narrative structures at times, this helps me I think, though I realise the limitations of that help, it's transience. I can't do that with this situation, I don't know how to confront it. What scares me is that I don't think I am enough of a friend to him to be able to talk about it, I don't think our friendship is intimate enough - and I know that partly this is my own fears and yearnings for attention - but what really worries me is that I don't think he has anybody intimate enough with him to confront this problem. My methods are too close to his own, writing about the incident above, I can't help consider the writing of it, the structure. He is the same, he romanticizes his self-destruction, it's a hero story, it's literature. It's a dangerous delusion. At the same time, for those who want to help him, like me, a more dangerous delusion is thinking, as I am prone to do, that it is his romanticism, rather than the drink, that is the real problem.