I’d hoped to write a post about something upbeat today. The fact that I’ve been flexing my receiving muscle all weekend having been cooked for, listened to and generally loved by a group of old friends. Or how I’m getting a whole lot better at manifesting these days – I arrived home from my trip to see that a raft of unpaid invoices have been settled. £1,200, which oddly enough is how much The Journey process cost me, has landed in my bank account.
But…there’s always a but isn’t there? I got an e-mail from the Journey practitioner this morning. We were fixing our next telephone call and I’d told her about my friend dying and how this had left me feeling. I’d cried, done my camp fire chat and thought I’d just about processed everything, but one small sentence sent me into a spin. She wondered what the truth behind the ignored calls was.
I didn’t wonder. I know. As soon as I read those words, I felt burning anger in my chest. I ignored those calls because I was furious with my friend and even writing this, it seems wrong to be raging against somebody I loved who has just died. But it’s true. I was really angry with him. So angry, I’d told my husband that the friendship wasn’t working. I knew he was on a path to self destruct and would die shortly, but that wasn’t my problem. I was so fucking cross.
This is why. I met Jack in my late 20s and adored him. I was single at the time, but he wasn’t my type. He was small, pale and thin and I had an eye for big, swarthy Spaniards. I smoked a lot of pot in those days and would chat to Jack into the early hours. He was so funny, profound, charismatic and sweet. I couldn’t get enough of him and one day, I decided I was in love with him. Like IN love. I wasn’t sexually attracted to him, but that didn’t matter – this love was bigger than that.
I was too afraid to tell him, so I wrote him a letter. He read it, we went out for a drink and Jack told me gently that although he loved me, he wasn’t IN love with me. I wasn’t his type. And that was that, or should have been at least.
I quickly realised that I wasn’t in love with Jack. The idea of me being in love with somebody I didn’t really fancy was ludicrous. Nobody enjoyed shagging more than I did back then (it’s at moments like this that I am thankful this blog is anonymous). My crush on Jack was a reflection of some sort of dysfunction within me. It didn’t make any sense, so I found myself a pyschotherapist and set to work to unravel the mystery.
It worked and a year in, I met my husband. I couldn’t wait to introduce him to Jack. He seemed to like my other half, but the next day he called by to say ‘You can do a lot better than that.’
Initially, his comments cast doubts in my mind. Perhaps he was right. This new man was unlike any other I had dated before and deep down, I wasn’t sure about him either. I wondered if he might be too nice. Yes, really!
One night, I’d taken my husband to see Jack’s comedy show. Jack shook his hand and happily accepted the offer of a beer. As my husband was queuing at the bar, Jack confessed that he regretted turning me down. I urged him to forget about that blasted letter. We weren’t right for each other and I’d fallen in love. I was happy. We should move on.
I fell pregnant with our first child quickly, the years rolled by, I moved to a different part of town and soon Jack and his sister moved away and we lost touch for almost 20 years.
We reconnected when I’d felt compelled to look up his sister and read in the papers that she’d killed her child. It was a huge shock. I could not imagine her doing such a thing. She was a gentle soul. A beautiful soul. How had it happened?
Obviously Jack was deeply traumatised by this and we spent many hours speaking about it. However, every time we talked on the phone, he’d mention the letter – the one I’d sent him all those years ago. ‘Let’s not talk about it,’ I’d say. ‘It’s history. We’ve moved on.’
But he ALWAYS talked about it. Every single time I called him he talked about it. I was too afraid to tell him that I hadn’t really ever been in love with him. He was an alcoholic. I couldn’t hurt him as I feared he’d console himself with wine. What’s more, we could never have a short and cheery call. Jack was clever. He could keep me on the phone for ages – one conversation lasted almost four hours.
Jack went into rehab not long after his sister committed suicide, but checked himself out early. He wasn’t as damaged as all those other alcoholics. He knew himself. ‘You should try therapy,’ he suggested.
‘You have stopped drinking though, haven’t you?’
‘I know what I am doing. I can handle it. Don’t worry.’
I was getting angry. My husband was too. He hated the way Jack was friendly to his face, but cracked onto me as soon as his back was turned. ‘Tell him to piss off. He’s manipulating you, can’t you see it? ‘
‘No. He’s my friend. He’s in pain.’
And so it went on, until I realised that this friendship wasn’t working. ‘I can’t do this any more,’ I told my husband. ‘I know he is going to drink himself to death, but so be it. I can’t be part of it.’
That is why we hadn’t spoken since early this year. Why I deliberately ignored his calls. Why I didn’t ring to wish him a happy birthday. It had crossed my mind, but I couldn’t stomach the thought of having to talk about that fucking letter one more time. Kids, let this be a warning to you, NEVER write anything down that you might regret later!
I never stopped loving Jack. He holds a special place in my heart and I honestly don’t think I have ever enjoyed anyone’s company as much as I did his, but as the darkness inside consumed him, our relationship became twisted. Addicts are so good at manipulating and I didn’t have the courage to face him head on.
I am angry. I am sad too. And full of regret. I wish we’d been able to move through this and out the other side. It’s too late now, he’s gone and now I am going to write him another letter. This time, he won’t be able to use it against me. It will be the whole truth and nothing but the truth. It will set us both free.
I am not afraid of the truth.