Sunday, 2 December 2007

Painted in an unfair light.

Part 5482372, Ben versus the world. Give him a break already.

One of the hardest parts about being the close friend of an alcoholic is that the mistakes they make, or the slights of their past tend to overshadow their good deeds, their efforts to change and gain trust and be better forever. As in infinitely, neverendingly.


Looking at what I have written about Ben I can see where he is made out to be the bad guy, mostly through poor self-control and impulsive and sometimes retaliatory actions. Why not? He's the yang to my yin. He and I never grew up, we never made it past the childish outbursts and petulant rock-kicking that can be at once endearing and incredibly fucking annoying.

Put us together and we take it out on each other. People have asked us why we're still friends and I could only say that sometimes there are moments of incredible clarity and gentleness between us that make it worthwhile. We are sometimes the male and female equivalent of your stereotypical asshole person. We have deep personality flaws and wild streaks and that's why we get along so well and so badly all at the same time.

I am less perfect than he is, but you knew that already.

He did come back last night, poured out all of the alcohol, made me eat dinner and sit up until I was sober and then he handed me the key from my front porch and also told me to lock the door at the end of the hall which secures the main part of the house from the den and guest room and he stayed in the guest room last night. Close enough but with enough safeguards in place to help rebuild the trust we've eroded together in the past two years.

I poured him a cup of coffee early this morning and took it to him, unlocking the hallway door and then knocking gently on the door of the room he slept in and invited him to breakfast when he opened the door and took the cup.

He asked me how I felt and I said better and then he asked if we wanted to go play in the snow today, that he would stick around if I wanted him to and hang out with the kids.

It's quarter to four and he's still here. He's piled up the snow in the backyard and is snowboarding out there on the mother of all bunny hills.

He asked me if we, if I wanted to go away for Christmas with him.

I said yes.

His family has a house in Canmore, and we're going to stay there and snowboard and celebrate Christmas quietly with the four of us and without the ghosts of Christmas past breathing down our necks. We're going to enroll the kids in snowboarding classes and we're going to teetotal our way through the holidays together as friends and not fight or be awful or be miserable like we sometimes are here.

He's going to prove that he is trustworthy and I'm going to prove that I'm still alive.

No strings, no expectations (so quash your harsh judgment) and no regrets, because I'm already looking forward to a brief change of scenery.