After the first few days in the Rehab, Mort was allowed to have visitors. All the husbands of our schoolie friends visited him several times. There was an alarming similarity in the recount of their visits and the line of conversation. Firstly Mort talked incessantly about the minutia of things. Discussing in detail the meal that he was served at breakfast and the watercolour class that he did. One of his favourite topics was to prattle on about how hideous the décor was, especially the garish curtains. Given his surroundings, it was beyond astounding to all that he could put so much thought into the window furnishings.
The second thing that was prevalent in all the visits was the fact that he was fixated with the notion that I would take him back. He would pose the questions aloud, almost as an affirmation to himself, “Ripley will take me back won’t she….Do you think there is a chance for me and Ripley….Maybe you could talk to her and tell her to take me back.” Tied in with this obsession was the clear lack of any sort of acknowledgment of Maddie and Clare; how they were feeling, how they were coping….nothing. This was heart breaking to the other fathers who have tremendous relationships with their children. Even when they tried to steer the conversation to the girls mentioning their school or sport, he would not even flinch and the conversation would snap back to me or the ugly curtains.
And therein the most obvious omission of topic of conversation was the fact that he was in Rehab because he was an alcoholic. He never once acknowledged that to anyone.