Radio silence

30 01 2015

The next few weeks were bliss knowing that Mort was a long, long, long way from us. Those clenched up chunks inside my brain and my heart that were in perpetual fearful anxiety of the notion of him turning up at the girls school, or randomly bumping into him in the city (me in my killer heels on my way to a meeting….him being the drunk in the gutter), or him actually showing up to my new workplace (my role being in part that of networking I would have turned up easily in .34 seconds on a Google search)….could relax…. just that little bit.

There was also a bubble of relief knowing that my parents wouldn’t be harassed by the incessant sounds of the phone heralding a barrage of slurring, ranting, swearing and blaming.

There was for that month only one phone call from him. Given that he was in rehab and without access to alcohol, at least the call was devoid of the slurring, it also featured a lesser degree of the ranting and swearing….but he doubled up on the load of blame. As usual there wasn’t even a modicum of responsibility but it was clearly pointed out that I was a cold-hearted selfish bitch for not being supportive ….”all the other guests have their partners who visit and bring them muffins, and stuff, why don’t you do that Ripley…what have I done to you for you to neglect me”. And yes, that is a quote. I wrote it down at the time to conserve conciseness. I particularly love the term ‘guests’ as though he had been invited to an exclusive soirée.

During that time I got a phone call from Bob, his best friend since the 5th grade. He reported that the conversation with Mort consisted of Mort spending the greater portion of the time recounting peccadilloes of their primary school teachers and the other part whining about the food selection at the Rehab facility. (somehow at $60k a month I doubt they were eating beans on toast). Bob noted that there was not a single mention or acknowledgement of the fact that his life had fallen apart due to his alcoholism and his decisions. Bob kept saying, over and over, “I have no idea who this guy is”.

Bob confided that he thought Mort had melted a part of his brain. He thought that the absence of alcohol would return Mort to a lucid state, but it clearly didn’t, Mort was living a delusional reality.

I am sure this was his mental self-image: photo credit:

I am sure this was his mental self image: photo credit:

this is what was really going on: photo credit:

this is what was really going on: photo credit:


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 décor 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.

The Edgar suit

14 01 2014

I am happy to report that my absence from this blog has been due to lack of time….but that time has been wonderful and fulfilling, and not rife with life altering complexities of three years ago. So while these times have been good, let’s continue the story in the days of the bad, the ugly and the down right repugnant.

7 February 2011.

This was supposed to be Mort’s first day of attendance in the Rehabilitation Program that was organised by Doc. Under Doc’s advisement, I was to allow Mort to come by the house after the day-long session and report on how it had gone.

Getting that sinking feeling?

I heard the slam of the front door but there was no sign of him. I peered out to see him ranting to himself and his car askew in the driveway. I raced back to the kitchen and called my parents, with the frantic plea to come over immediately.

Mort made his way through the house out to the backyard. The girls were in the pool but he didn’t acknowledge them, he was attempting to pace but given that he could barely stand, he just sort of bumped around.

Although my dad had spoken on the phone to Mort in this condition, my parents hadn’t actually visually witnessed it. Mort had an ungodly smear of something all down the front of his jeans…puke, shit, really not sure and didn’t want to get close enough to assess it. Shock, disgust, and sadness all sat heavy on my parents faces.

He stood (swayed) there in his shit stained pants and told us that he had gone to the rehab counselling and it had all gone really well. It was as though he rationalised that if he believed his lies that everyone else would. It was purely delusional.

The next few minutes were a delicate dance, my dad trying to usher him in and my mom running defence, going outside to be with the girls to shield them from this disgraceful foul mess.

I called one of the hotels where he had been staying and when I gave his name the reply was ….”Oh, is that Mr. Mort? Terribly sorry but we won’t be able to accommodate him.” When I questioned why, the concierge paused, taking a long slow breath and blurted “let’s just say it has to do with some working girls.” He then caught himself and said, “is this his wife”, my swift reply was “not anymore”.

This revelation took it to a whole new dimension of having no idea who this person was. It was like that scene from Men in Black with the alien bug wearing an “Edgar suit”.

This fetid disgusting cretin was wearing a Mort suit…..the outside looking hideously distorted…..and I sure as hell didn’t know who/what was lurking on the inside.

 photo credit: Edgar from Men in Black

photo credit: Edgar from Men in Black

Mind games

18 06 2013

26 January 2011 was the last night that Mort stayed in the house.

The next day he arrived home (supposedly from work*) and stumbled through the house trying to avoid me. I followed him back to the closet and watched…..he could not stand still, he had zero balance, he was literally fall down drunk. I swiped up his car keys as I went to call my dad. I sure didn’t want him in the house but I also could not let him drive, I couldn’t put this drunken tornado behind the wheel of a car.

As I was on the phone I heard the front door bang open. I ran outside to see his car backing down the driveway (he must have had a spare set of keys). I noticed that one of the front tyres was completely flat and the car was riding on the rim of the tyre. I was screaming out for him to stop. He didn’t.

I went back inside and started checking out rental properties on-line. I would not have him in this house again.

A couple nights later Michelle and Bella stayed over. Our night of soul sister nurturing was interrupted with phone calls. Calls asking if our wills were in tact, comments about “what if this is the last time I say goodbye.” Ridiculous inferences. But in all that not a single, I’m sorry, I have fucked up, I’m sorry what I have put you and the girls through. Michelle fretted, but I knew, this was not a cry for help….this was a manipulative gesture and nothing more. I wasn’t playing the game and saying consoling things…and he didn’t like it. I told him I wasn’t experienced in this space and that he should call ‘Beyond Blue’. I then went back to my cheese platter and the laughter of the girls.

*somehow he was still getting a monthly salary, what he was or was not doing at work I really didn’t know.

The Garden of Earthly Delights

17 04 2013

The next 10 days were like living in the third panel of Hieronymus Bosch’s “Garden of Earthly Delights”. I remember seeing this triptych painting in an art book as a kid. It had a visceral effect on me. I thought it was the most bizarre, disturbing and downright fucked up shit I had ever seen…..not unlike those 10 days that folded into a macabre loop.

I basically quarantined him down one end of the house and kept the girls with me at the other end. There was a great deal of vomiting in the first few days. He was either in the toilet or asleep in bed. When I did catch snippets of him he was scatty and delusional. At first I put it down to withdrawal though he insisted that he just had a stomach bug (because to admit withdrawal would have been to admit addiction). It then occurred to me that he was assuming carte blanche given that medical professionals and friends had recommended that he stay at the house. He wasn’t even bothering to conceal the manifestations of his addiction choices, though he did still attempt lies, because lying was not even second nature, it had become his first.

I woke up one night and heard some movement at the front end of the house. I snuck down the hallway and stood unnoticed outside the open bedroom door where Mort was sitting on the edge of the bed. He was leaning over with his fingertips touching the ground by his feet. He was trying to upright himself to sitting position. He would attempt to push off with his fingertips and then mutter something unintelligible to himself. It was like his fingers were caught in a web of chewing gum. He would look at his fingertips and then laugh and the process would begin again and again and again.

I stood voyeuristically for 20 minutes….he was clearly in some psychoactive “Garden of Earthly Delights”…..and I was in hell.

photo credit: Hieronymus Bosch

photo credit: Hieronymus Bosch

ps – seriously go and check out the third panel up close….sheer crazy