I’m alright Jack

There are things I’d rather not speak about, or even write of in the relative anonymity of this site. Remaining silent makes no difference, no more difference than if I piped up and said my piece – whatever that may be. All the same much runs through my mind. If I am silent on the outside I am busy inside wondering at the situation I have found myself in and scheming at myriad ways to get out of it, and occasionally feeling sorry for myself.

I don’t share much with the people around me – I am of that generation that keeps mum about our sorrows. Some of it is embarrassment, some of it is an inability to find the right words, but a big part of it is the refusal to burden others with my problems. They are my problems, my issues to deal with, and the very last thing I wish to become is the person you avoid because they’re always miserable. And so I remain positive in the face of other people.

Occasionally I do share some of the latest things happening – it would be ridiculous not to. I open up a little, reporting without inflection on the latest developments – or non-developments. I am conscious despite my innate reluctance that I must share something with my dearest friends. Some, I think, yearn for me to do that, to have faith in them by baring my soul. I think perhaps there is a part of me that wants to do that too, and consciously, thinks that I ought. Yet I don’t, but for little tidbits and reports given from the side of the mouth with a wink of the eye. Most of all I fear being pitied, which is like poison to me.

I need my friends though, it goes without saying I need them now more than ever before. I have begun to wonder how near they are.

Inadvertently I’ve found myself testing that friendship. I don’t believe in testing things like this. People give freely. They share and reach out because that is what they wish to do. It’s not for me to demand that of them. Should I expect it though?

What happened is that for whatever reason I didn’t make my weekly call to a couple of friends. Often we speak much more frequently than that, every few days, and will meet up for coffee or a drink or whatever. But a week is about the minimum standard. And so I didn’t call for whatever reason and without thought. Then I realised that it had been a little while since I called, then I realised that they hadn’t picked up the phone in my absence and I thought, well, let’s see how long it will take until they do call. And so I left it.

It’s been over a fortnight now. There’s been a couple of insignificant text messages, but nothing more. I wish they would call, but even though they haven’t I don’t know that I feel disappointment. I think they should have made the effort, especially given the combination of circumstances, but understand the reasons not. They have their lives, other distractions. And what news could I have?

There is one friend I have opened up to with all the gory detail. I tell him and he understands, but I feel frustrated often that I think he doesn’t understand what it means. He understands the pieces, but the totality eludes him – and it’s the totality that is the real killer. Even in my frustration I recognise the irony in this – I share little with few, but the one person I give it all to can’t grasp it.

I asked a favour of this friend. I was desperate – am desperate – and I swallowed my pride and spat it out and he knocked me back. That was his right. He has helped me many times before and I am thankful for that. I accepted his rejection and moved on. I told myself it was fine, knew it was fine, but found that despite all of that I felt bitter. He doesn’t deserve that, yet I can’t rid myself of it. I speak to him and I think I am as always, but underneath I feel this tremulous resentment, even a mild sense of outrage. Don’t you know what you’ve done, I think. Now of all the times I have asked for it, now is when I need your help most. I don’t say it though. It’s not his fault – it’s my life, my responsibility, and yet I wonder how he can’t understand what he has condemned me to by his refusal.

One day I will open up about this time, to others, to these pages. For now I must remain cryptic for the reasons I outlined above. I know you can take being stoic to a ridiculous level, but I can’t face the alternative. I have to fight my way out of this, and then I will tell it as it was looking back over my shoulder. That’s what I had to suffer through, but I beat it.

Right now it’s beating me and that’s not a tale I want to tell.

PS Common sense tells me I should put an end to this and pick up the phone. Reality is that I can’t get by without the help of others – too much has moved beyond my control. I can’t though, I won’t. I’d rather go down alone than call for help now.

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