Mostly I agreed.

A few years ago I met a guy who was an old acquaintance of an old roommate. He joined our group of friends and all in all it was a very good time for a bunch of struggling creatives. Well he wasn’t as much one of us he was in sales was looking to move back to LA. I never asked why he’d originally left to begin with. I figure friends tell each other such stories eventually. And so we all carried on. For a time he expressed interest in one of our mutual friends but it didn’t pan out. They went to a few shows and had some dinners and keep it amicable, the 5 of us or so routinely circled each others orbit with my apartment block being the epicenter. One evening some time later he expressed interest in me and I was quite surprised, the thought had never crossed my mind but I gave it thought. It was clear he really did see something in me and I wanted that kind of attention. More than I’d ever care to admit. I wanted to be loved and appreciated, at the time I had something of a drought of that in my life. All in all the lot of us were pretty happy, mostly I agreed.

Shortly after he took an new job and an apartment not far from us, it all started to unravel. I had also recently taken a new job which kept me away from home often well into the evening. I started getting reports from my roommate, “have you talked to him today?, something is wrong, please talk to him”. Every time I talked to him it felt like I was talking to Jekyll to the Hyde I knew, it was verbally abusive and mostly fiction. He claimed to be ill and it took us a few weeks to figure out he was right but not like we thought. He’d started drinking, he was a recovering alcoholic no longer in recovery. None of us new, none of us had any idea. It turns out we were never close to him and that included me the girlfriend. It was like an atom bomb detonated in the center of my apartment. Friends did their best but I didn’t blame them when they bowed out, my roommate became increasingly frustrated with the situation and as much of a pain in the ass as he was, that he was justified in.

The next several months were this unending spiraling misery I do not have words for. Endless lies, hospitals, meetings, phone calls. All I remember is “hi my name is…” always being in my car and on the phone, a trip to the jail to pick him up in the middle of the night, terrified, absolutely dejected faces, and possibly the most difficult Christmas of my life watching him waste away and disappear in front of me, “give us the courage to forgive the trespasses…”. Finally one day towards the end I remember moments in slow motion I found myself at the kitchen table weeping uncontrollably. And he stood there looking at me, he didn’t reach out, he didn’t say anything, he didn’t even try and hug me. And I felt utterly alone and destroyed. I cried at that table all day and that’s all I remember. I ate very little and the strain jeopardized my work and health too. I felt like I was being sucked into the madness until the day I picked him up at the jail and drove him to his car where he’d taken to sleeping. I can’t remember the details but that was surely the day I told him he not to call until he got clean.

A year later this guy and I tried to start over. He was clean and I had forgiven but I couldn’t shake that day at the kitchen table. It haunted me. All in all for a time we did well, and it seemed we could recover the impossible. Ultimately we didn’t work out to the surprise of no one. It was a painful decision it seemed like I was throwing out so much hard work and the suffering was for nothing. I didn’t understand it all, how was I ever embroiled in such madness to begin with.

I’ve come to believe the only thing to understand is that good things happen to bad people, bad things happen to good people, bad things happen to bad people, good things happen to good people. It just is and we move on.