Friends in hard times

While I’m in this mood I should explain other thoughts and feelings, rational and irrational.

I’ve just got off the phone to a friend asking after my situation. I had no good news for him. He’s flabbergasted by my situation, and of course very sympathetic. Most people are.

It’s an interesting dichotomy with my friends. I’m more open than I’ve ever been previously, pretty much because I have little option otherwise. Most have been good to great.

Cheeseboy, and Mrs Cheese, have been the most active on my behalf, to an almost embarrassing degree. They’ve bent over backwards to help me, and I feel pretty sheepish in response when I tell them that despite our work I’m still getting donuts. I almost feel worse for them somehow. I feel their disappointment while my life goes down the gurgler.

I haven’t spoken to Cheeseboy this week and he hasn’t contacted me. I’ve deliberately let him go. I figure he needs a rest from worrying about me. He his own life and own family. I’m very grateful for the concern and hard yards he and the missus have put in for me, but I think it’s better for them right now to forget about me a little. I feel a bit like the bad news bear. Damage is done, it’s no bad thing to quarantine myself for a while.

There are others I’m disapointed in. They may not be fair, nor completely rational. I know that, but knowing and feeling are two different things.

One or two friends have become very scarce throughout this period. There are some mitigating circumstances perhaps. I always accept that, and I never ask for anything – though it seems I expect. In a sense it’s not so much about what they have or haven’t done, but how they have done it. It’s nice to have someone to talk to, even if it is of trivial things. You want understanding though. You don’t expect them to understand the depth of what you feel. What you do expect is that they know it’s a tough road. It’s not sympathy you ask for, but support. I think that is the reasonable minimum you can ask of any friend. Unfortunately that has not been entirely forthcoming. My words are met with a resounding silence. The subject is changed. I ask after them and their situation, but it is not reciprocated. And when a phone call is expected a dsimissive text message comes instead, a day later. I’m a reasonable man I think, but in these circumstances I find less reason to be patient with friends who fall short of the mark.

There have been others more supportive and understanding, but given the opportunity to help have not. I feel aggrieved, even bitter at times, but know I am being unfair. As I said, I ask for very little, if anything. It’s difficult to blame people for the help they haven’t offered when I’m not man enough to ask for it. In my mind, in the code I live by without thought, I expect people to offer. That’s what I would do, or so I reassure myself. The irony is that I’m every chance to reject their help had it been offered. I need all the help in the world, but it’s probably foolish to reject what I need most – but the crux of this, of friendship, is the gesture. My life spirals out of control. I feel it in the pit of my stomach. While they sit comfortably in their home make the right noises and then hang up the phone to return to their life. It’s wrong that I feel this, but natural in a way as well. Ultimately I think I’m better than that, and there will be no lasting scars on this account. My life is my responsibility, not theirs.

Peppered throughout are the unexpected gestures of support and generosity. I’ve already made mention of the girls who have offered to defer their salaries. Another today is offering to pay for some ads to be placed on my behalf. That’s the girl that likes me, and I’ll refuse the offer – but it’s nice regardless.

The fact is a situation like this is very isolating. I have no close confidante, and no-one I can turn to be vulnerable with. Many times I reverted to a kind of childish yearning, wanting nothing more than a hug from someone who loves and cares about me. I miss my mum. You need to be able to step down sometimes, but the closest I get is the perpetual affection of Rigby. Even with close friends about you you’re alone. You’re the one in this siatuation. You’re conscious of the difference, the sympathyb in your friends and their uncertainty around you. What you do – I do – is crack hardy. I always do that. I hate to see their discomfort, so seek to alleviate it in my words and actions. It only increases the distance between you though. You make it easier for them by making it harder for yourself, but you don’t know any other way. They don’t get in, get close. And you perpetuate that reputation you have, the strong and independent guy nothing much gets to.

I need help, I need my friends, I need divine intervention. I’m strong, but I’m struggling more now than I ever have before. It’s that which deepens the sense of betrayal, which is more general than personal. I feel like an outcast no matter what my friends say or do. If I were not as strong as I am this might have become a tragedy by now. It’s bad, but it’s not a tragedy in that sense, and I’m hoping it won’t be. There’s not much anyone can do really, but as I said, gestures count. This is the situation though. I do it alone.

For me, now,  it’s just about armaggedon. You may not see much of me here in the coming months. Not sure how inclined I am to write in these circumstances. More pertinently, I don’t have the cash to pay my ISP, and so I go offline Monday I think. I’ll probably be homeless within a week anyway. My mobile phone is the same story. These are desperate things, but if you don’t have the cash you can’t even pay for the most basic and necessary services. No money, no honey. I’m lucky to put food on the table.

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