(originally posted here)
A new entry for Fragments of Fiction
“There is no pain you are receding
A distant ship’s smoke on the horizon.
You are only coming through in waves.
Your lips move but I can’t hear what you’re saying.
When I was a child I caught a fleeting glimpse
Out of the corner of my eye.
I turned to look but it was gone
I cannot put my finger on it now The child is grown,
The dream is gone.
but I have become comfortably numb.”
Comfortably Numb– Pink Floyd
“I can’t pay my bills. I can’t find a job. I can’t support my family, can’t even support myself,” he said. At least I think that is what he said. Slumped against the wall he stared off into space and began mumbling again.
“I feel sad and defeated. Whatever I touch crumbles into dust. Relationships, jobs, friends all they do is go away.”
It wasn’t the first time I had heard him speak this way. He was a man who lived and died every day. His own personal rollercoaster never stopped running, at least that is how he had once described it to me.
I understood. We have been friends for most of our lives so I have borne witness to it all. I have seen the triumphant moments. Walked with him through the fire and saw him emerge unscathed. We share a million memories and a million dreams and nightmares.
He is not the easiest guy to get along with. At times he is moody and temperamental. He is a man who consumes life and that takes a certain toll upon oneself. I have often told him that if he could figure out how to take the middle road he’d be happier more frequently. The highs and lows can’t be good for you.
It is a fruitless discussion. This sort of behavior is part of his core. It is who he is. It is why whenever he has dropped back down inside his personal hell I don’t worry. Ok, I worry a little but I have never seen him not find a way to rise above it. Never seen him lose all hope, at least not until this moment.
Because now is the first time that I haven’t seen that fire in his eyes and I wonder. I wonder if the flame has truly been extinguished. Has he lost that edge or is it my imagination. Sometimes it is hard for me to tell.
I can’t walk along the razors edge the way that he can. It makes me far too nervous. But that is part of the friendship. We complement each other. There is a certain balance that we provide. So I stand there next to him and debate whether to yell or coddle.
He is a grown man. I don’t need to do this. I shouldn’t have to do this. But he is my friend and I have seen him do some incredible things in the name of our friendship. So I suppose that the question of whether I will help him is moot. The bigger and better question is what is the best way to help. How am I most likely to get through to him.
Slowly I slide down the wall until my butt hits bottom and I find myself just a hair shy of sitting in his lap. For the moment we sit in silence and then he tells me that if I think that this is our Brokeback Mountain moment I better be prepared to get punched in the mouth.
It is said with a hint of feeling and I almost believe that he is better than he is. But something feels off to me, so I am not quite prepared to accept that.
Instead I say nothing and wait for him to speak again. It is a noisy silence and it is disconcerting. But whether it is because I am really concerned or just confused is still up for debate.