A Conversation Between Friends
A detailed account of a conversation between two friends.
I recently witnessed a conversation between two very dear friends of mine, Edithe Fuller Vic and Barratt Cuyahogahav. I remember silently witnessing their conversation without uttering a single word. Barratt seemed unusually tensed, but he wasn’t acting tensed. It was just his face, his eyes to be precise. Something seemed restless about them.
Edithe: What’s the matter Barratt?
Barratt(slightly surprised): Nothing, why?
I should probably mention that all of us had a drink or two by this point. Luckily, I didn’t have much and remember most of how the night transpired.
Edithe: You sure? You seem a bit off.
Barratt: I mean…(letting out a huge sigh) where do I start? I miss home.
Edithe: As in? We’re just 30 minutes away. (Chuckling) You wanna go back?
Barratt: No. I miss home. Not where I live now. Not the place where I eat, sleep and stay. I miss the home where I left myself. I miss home. I left a lot of things back there and it sucks to be away from it. It’s been way too long. I thought I wouldn’t struggle this much. I thought I was strong enough to bear with it. However, it’s starting to get too much now.
Edithe: When did this start?
Barratt: It’s been a while. There’s been this constant feeling of being out of place. As if everything has gone amiss. I’m not sure I can exactly describe how I feel.
Edithe: We’re here for you (looks at me).
I nod in agreement while looking at Baratt.
Edithe: Go on. Tell us.
Barratt: I don’t feel motivated anymore. My life seems so stagnant. From everything I’ve experienced over the past few years, it seems as though I feel alive only when I’m home. (Eyes widen) Trust me, I feel so dead from inside that sometimes I wish I didn’t wake up in the morning. I just wanna go back home.
Edithe: But –
Barratt: But I know I can’t. At least for now. And that’s what makes things so much worse.
Edithe: Is this about he…
Barratt(audibly louder) Yeah, it’s about her. It always has been. She is my home. She has been ever since the first day. I can’t stay away anymore. Edithe, it hurts. It hurts a lot.
Right at this point I noticed Barratt’s eyes get teary. Then I watched tears dropping from both his eyes.
Edithe(moving closer to Barratt): Hey hey, don’t do this to yourself. It’s okay. It’s okay. It’ll get better. (Taking his drink away) You’ve had one too many. Let me put that away for now.
Barratt(aggressively getting up) NO. IT DOESN’T GET BETTER. I HAVE BEEN DEALING WITH THIS EVERYDAY. I KNOW! YOU DON’T.
Both Edithe and I were shaken by Barratt’s shouting. We had never seen him this way. That’s when I noticed Barratt’s blood shot teary eyes. For some reason the fear I felt from him shouting quickly turned into empathy when I noticed his eyes. I wondered what a person has to go through to change this much. Change. Yeah, that’s the word. Barratt changed. Although his outburst which I’m currently documenting about was sudden, his transformation has been taking place for a while now. It may not have been highly visible, but I saw Barratt becoming his more morbid recent self with my own two eyes. He wasn’t like this. He was probably the liveliest of us all. Mind you he has always been an introvert. However, with us he’s different. He could lighten up the worst of situations. You could see in him how much he cared about us and everybody close to him. Now when I think about it, I feel somewhat responsible for not stopping him from going down this road of degression.
Barratt(continuing): YOU THINK THIS IS THE ALCOHOL TALKING? YOU KNOW WHAT? IT’S THE BLOODY ALCOHOL THAT KEEPS ME FROM NOT POPPING PILLS AND ENDING IT. IT’S THE ALCOHOL THAT STILL MAKES ME REALISE THAT I’M STILL CAPABLE OF FEELING THINGS. (Not shouting anymore) I can’t carry on any longer. I can’t. I need her. Every inch of me feels like giving up. There’s nothing to look forward to. I don’t even know when I’ll see her again and even when we talk there’s so much I want to tell her, but I can’t. Every time I hear her voice, it feels as though somebody’s pulling at my heartstrings. And you know what sucks? Even when we talk, we end up fighting most times, for the stupidest of reasons! This distance, it’s killing her, it’s killing me and it’s killing what we have! You don’t believe me? Guess what? I’ve been dead from within for months now. I don’t feel anything except regret. Regret of leaving the one home I had. The one home I had where I finally began to truly be happy with life and myself. She made me feel that way. When she’s near me even during the worst of times I feel hopeful. Hopeful, that I’ll overcome whatever comes my way because she’s by my side. I don’t feel that anymore.
Barratt fell on his knees and cried. Edithe and I held him tightly and tried to comfort him, but who were we kidding? We knew what he was talking about. Barratt was a different person when she would be around him. She filled him with so much life and joy that even when everything seemed to come crashing down, he had the strength in him to build it all back up together. Now, that seemed mythical. Her being away from him truly drained him out of all the good things within him. I don’t feel too good admitting this for it brings down the individual quality of Barratt, but I can’t deny the truth. It also feels sad and infuriating to know that I as a friend had failed to keep Barratt at least somewhat happy.
Edithe: Why do you say this? Aren’t we here with you? We’ve been with you through everything!
It almost felt like Edith had read my mind. I looked at Edithe, confused, but validated. It was validating to know that my frustration as a friend was shared.
Barratt: It’s not that. You guys… you guys mean the world to me. That’s why I’m telling you guys how I feel. I just… I just can’t handle being away from her anymore. It’s too much now. It’s too much.
Edithe: Then at least stay strong for her. At least –
Barratt: I try. I TRY. I try so hard to be her rock. I try so hard to not break down. I keep putting up this positive front so she doesn’t lose the will to hold on. Yet, every now and then I feel like I’m losing her. Sometimes I feel like I’ve already lost her and cry myself to sleep. I lose all hope and just completely break down. I don’t want to break down. I honestly don’t, but it’s hard to control it.
Barratt continued to cry in our arms for some more time. Finally, when he passed out, we picked him up and laid him on the sofa. I got an extra blanket while Edith put a pillow below his head. Then, both Edithe and I sat on either end of the sofa. Edithe kept drinking without saying much. Just the occasional requests of passing something which was beyond reach. I started looking out the window and kept at it for quite some time. Interestingly, for some reason, my eyes focused on my reflection instead of the view outside.
That’s when I took my eyes off the mirror and looked behind. The room was completely empty and painted in all white. My hands were tied and the door to the room was locked. I turned around and caught one more glimpse of myself in the mirror. I fell asleep after that.