Wednesday, May 21, 2003

Party Lights

I think about it every time I see those party lights, the little palm trees and pink flamingoes. I remember breaking them when I walked out of the room and swung my arm in rage, pulling the scotch tape holding them around the door frame and smashing one or two of them. Even in that moment of monstrous rage, I felt a small tug of remorse for having broken my sentimental favorite string of lights, but then I quickly turned that sadness into yet another reason in my litany of complaints against you.

I stormed into the other room and slammed the door as hard as possible, and to my own surprise, let out a screaming roar of frustration that must've shook up the neighbors some, even though that was not my intention There were no intentions at that very moment, only a blur of emotions and needs. I wanted someone to come in and comfort me and talk me down, make everything alright again. I became scared that if I made too much noise, the police would be called, and there was no intelligent way to describe the psychological battle being waged in that vacation house.

Bathroom floors have always offered comfort to me in my darkest moments. Hungover, feverish, depressed, or raging, whatever my ailment, the coolness of the tiles and the privacy of the locked bathroom were a reliable refuge, and my only refuge that night. Lying on the floor, I listened for footsteps in the hall as I tried to calm down and make sense of my situation.

Funny, trying to make sense of a completely senseless situation. I was stuck miles from home in a vacation house with you - a lunatic, who was my oldest, dearest friend up until a few months previous. I didn't have a car with me, and couldn't take yours and strand you there. I was having a miserable time, you were acting beyond irrationally, and up until that night, we kept trying to keep up the pretense of being on an enjoyable vacation together. If I starting packing my things, there was no telling what you would do. Weren't you already keeping me in check by saying how suicidal you were? Such a drastic action might push you right over the edge. Even if I had decided to pack up and leave right then, and called my brother and asked him to come get me, I would probably have to explain the situation to him, and he would dislike you even more than he already did by that point. I didn't want him to know how you were behaving, or anyone to know what was happening. I was still trying to protect your reputation at that point, so no one would know that you were behaving like a lunatic. I thought I was being a good friend covering up your behavior and trying to help you work through whatever was going on. I guess I wasn't really helping.

It was the silent treatment that really got to me. If we didn't talk about this one issue that was bothering you, we weren't allowed to talk about anything. You said it was because it was bothering you so much, that you couldn't concentrate enough to make small talk. I remember reading something about how John Lennon's Aunt Mimi used to discipline him by giving him the silent treatment, and how it drove him insane. I didn't totally understand how effect that was until I was trapped on vacation with a raving lunatic who wouldn't talk to me about anything but her singular obsession.

It wasn't that I didn't have sympathy for what you were going through. If I didn't, I wouldn't have tolerated so much abuse for so long. As a matter of fact, I thought it was my obligation to help you see this crisis through. And I did my best for as long as I could. Until I couldn't help anymore. And then I had to let you go.

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