Not mine but my other halves 🙂
In honour of his achievement I am posting something he wrote back in January 2008. We were both struggling with our alcohol dependence and firmly in the camp of denial at the time and this piece of writing reflects his desire to escape the prison of booze even then.
Rose’s bloodshot eyes leap out at me from thick black outlines smudged with tears. ‘If I’d have known it would end up like this I’d never of gone near you in the first place, Al. All those years ago. All those precious years. The best years of my life. Potential. Wasted. My career as a dancer. Dancers never last long… but I didn’t even get started. Because I met you, didn’t I?’
With her weaker left hand, Rose pulls me in as close to her barren chest as she can. Her right hand grips the smooth metal handrail that encircles the balcony of her flat, fifteen floors up, in that area of London where Hackney pushes its grubby nose up against Islington’s kitchen window.
She brightens all of a sudden, saying, ‘But you gave me the confidence to try new things that I never even dreamed of doing before. You made me feel special… made me feel young… made me feel clever and… articulate. For a while, in my innocence, I saw you as a… door? To the Big Wide World. A more exciting existence. A more dangerous one, at least. I remember it was you who introduced me to all kinds of narcotics, so that I could spend the night in your arms, taking you deep inside of me, til the light of dawn broke through the cocaine cocoon.’
‘My friends tried to tell me that you were bad for me. One by one, they gave up on me and left, saying that you’d changed me. But you always stuck nearby, didn’t you Al? Sometimes you were my only friend. I didn’t care. I didn’t think I was missing out on anything. I thought I only needed you. You didn’t judge me like they did; didn’t laugh at my foolishness; didn’t talk behind my back; didn’t conspire against me.’
Rose takes a deep breath of the night air, lets it out between her peanut brittle teeth and quivers like a cold clarinet in her black satin nightie.
‘You’re the reason that I never married, Al. Every time I met someone special, they disappeared off the face of the earth as soon as they found out about you and the hold that you have over me. I try as hard as I can to keep you away, sometimes for months. You always come back and ruin it for me. Like a bad smell. Your odour seeps from my every pore. I kill myself with the guilt.’
Rose gulps and seems to be holding back tears, croaking, ‘I think you’ve done enough damage now… don’t you?’
I say nothing. I have no feelings. No remorse. No desire. And Rose expects none of these things. I don’t even have the faintest idea what she is about to do next.
She holds me out beyond the railing, gripped in her trembling hand and whimpers, ‘Goodbye Al.’
With those words she pours me out of my bottle. Then with a dramatic flourish, she sends it hurtling after me, smashing into my liquid, soaking into the concrete of the car park.