Dinner is served

27 04 2014

We were ushered in to have the admission consultation with the doctor. There were three chairs facing his desk and as Mort hobbled in and took the closest, I started to walk to the chair the furthest away, but Anne-Louise guided my elbow to the middle chair.

The doctor appeared unperturbed by the fetid state of Mort, attempting to balance his crutches against the chair; the concerned friend perched on the edge of the seat with clasped hands; and the wife, clenched and folded into herself in complete silence, except the harsh, gnashing, grinding of her teeth. Given where we were, it was undoubtedly a tableau the doctor would have seen a thousand times over.

The discussion/interview/probe went something along the lines of Anne-Louise giving the background narrative of her and Doc’s relationship with Mort and me for 9 years, my detailed run-down of various events leading us to where we were and Mort sitting there saying “I don’t know” or a dismissive shrug to every question that was asked of him as to ‘why’.

Here we were in this bubble all about Mort, his full moment in the spotlight, a professional mediator, a long-time friend offering support, his chance to dig deep for introspective ownership and responsibility and all he could come up with was “I don’t know” over and over.

It was at this point that I found myself sitting there thinking about what I was going to cook the girls for dinner. In the midst of all this shit, it was a very clear moment of the grander scheme of things. Ingredients must be purchased, dinner must be cooked and happy upbeat conversation must be had.

After a moment of silence with the doctor scribbling some notes and the three of us all avoiding eye contact I was asked if I had any last comments. “Yep, I’m making Chicken Tetrazzini, with extra parmesan….they love it.”

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What lurks within

4 04 2014

I received a call from Anne-Louise at 11am on the Friday saying that Mort had not turned up for his 10am admission into the Rehab Centre (no great shock). She had tracked down where he was staying and she was coming to get me to go get him. I groaned and asked if I really had to go.

When we arrived at the hotel we saw his car in the car park but he would not answer the calls from the downstairs lobby. Anne-Louise was doing all the talking and the concierge asked if she was his wife in order to be led up to the room. I wasn’t going to own up to it, but unfortunately she pointed to me….I didn’t even give a nod of confirmation, I just stood there silently cringing. You could read the confusion on his face as he tried to understand the juxtaposition of these two well dressed women with whatever mess lurked in the room.

Walking up the stairs I had to swallow back the acrid saliva building in my mouth. The concierge knocked on the door calling out Mort’s name. The was no verbal response but there was a lot of thumping around (you could hear the foot cast bumping off the walls) and the sound of a toilet being over flushed. Anne-Louise then knocked and called out his name to which after some more thumping about, the door opened.

It was weird how there was very little in the small room but it was a total sty. It looked like a giant bird had tried to make a nest of the bed…sheets, clothes, bandages, fast food remnants and wrappers….and of course several empty vodka bottles. As gross and unkempt as the d├ęcor was, it could have been straight off the pristine cover of Vogue Living compared to the state of Mort.

Anne-Louise was talking gently and coaxing him to throw his things in his backpack so that she could take him to his appointment. She directed me to go into the bathroom and get his stuff from there. I nearly added to the pile of vomit in the shower with my own.

My eye was also drawn to the toilet where it was clear that he had tried to conceal and flush something. There were torn up bits of cardboard from a toilet paper roll all jammed into the bowl. I had zero interest in poking around.

Anne-Louise instructed me to drive his car home while she took him in her car to the rehab centre and to then meet them there.

I realised as I drove away that I had not uttered a single word from the time that we walked into the lobby. I knew if I opened my mouth, even a sliver, it would all come spewing out ……fury, rage, and deep dark loathing and rancour.

photo credit: The Mummy 1999.

photo credit: The Mummy 1999.