December 4, 2007

Hello Old Friend

An old friend came to visit today and put an end to a week in which my wife and I were abuzz with anticipation and questions. It hasn’t been long since we saw him last, but he was in such turmoil that we have been worried sick about him. He’s one of those guys that have a truly destructive streak, one fueled by his ridiculous ego. But he’s so principled that he somehow makes recklessness seem honorable. Every time he ruins a relationship or gets fired from a job, we think that he’ll never turn up again. But like clockwork he reappears, usually in some new variation of his former self; smelling sweet as pie just like before.

When he showed up today he was looking innocent and stable and swore that he was singing a new tune. He has apparently settled down and stopped drinking, a feat that I would have told you was impossible just a few short months ago. We’re talking about a man who would drink on the job if he was feeling low enough, and who would often spend long nights sitting alone in his car sucking on a bottle of whiskey. When he would eventually turn up the next day, he was rarely even clean, let alone ready to work. So as far as the drinking is concerned I am a touch skeptical.

I will say this though; I have met his new girl before and always thought she could be a stabilizing influence on him. She wasn’t here today, but you could sense her presence in the calm way in which he turned down another friend’s offer at a night out at the bar. His eyes were practically glossy with contentedness. In the past he would have jumped at the chance to run out and throw back a couple of drinks, but not now. All he wanted to do was get home and hug the kids and have a quiet dinner. Our mutual friend almost fainted when an invite was extended to him; like he didn’t even know what dinner was.

It was just so nice to see him today. The wait is finally over and for once we can go to sleep knowing that he is going to be all right. So why am I so disappointed? Well you see, our friend, if nothing else, was never boring. Now when I watch him go through the motions in this new life of his I am sickened with the thought that he is settling. All around him life goes on and people literally are getting away with murder. If drinking and sleeping around are what it takes to keep the streets of Baltimore clean, then so be it. Besides, a little carousing never really hurt anybody did it? We sat with him for two hours tonight and never saw an inkling of the old Hell raiser. Oh well, there is still plenty of time left in the season. Here’s to Bushmills and Jimmy McNulty and the hope that he will one day soon be way, waaaay off the wagon.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why would you wish someone to fall off the wagon? Sounds like your friend is trying to make something of himself - would you rather he be miserable - or end up dead? If he is in AA, and reads your blog, his sponsor would probably suggest staying away from you. You send mixed messages, in one sentence you were so relieved he is ok, the next you were wishing for his reckless way of life. You have a beautiful little girl, would you want one of her friends wishing her an unhealthy lifestyle? I hope she has better friends than that.

December 5, 2007 at 9:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love the Wire. Long live McNulty!

December 6, 2007 at 10:31 AM  
Blogger AC said...

I guess the scary part is the thought of, what happens if things don't work out with this girl? Will he go back to his old ways? I wish your friend luck in staying clean.

December 18, 2007 at 10:23 AM  

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