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.