Both Chad and Greg had a full day to think about the night prior. Chad had gone to work only moments before Greg left for work. All day at the office Chad had replayed the night prior. What was Greg getting at? There was no resolve. Instead the idea toiled at his mind. It flipped it, then slapped it, and asked, who’s your daddy! Work was short of miserable.
Getting home in a mood that was quite unlike any that he’d been in before Chad went quickly for more beer. Sitting on the deck he stared seriously into the moon. Trying to sway his mind away from the issue discussed previously he opened yet another beer.
“Can we get past this?” Greg sincerely asked. Chad considered him for a moment. Had he had the day Chad had? Or was this a ploy to get past what was his fault and move on without feeling any guilt, remorse, or emotion.
“We can,” Chad responded intelligently. On his fourth beer by the time Greg got home, the shattered beer bottles nearly spelled out disaster.
“Good. So how was your day?” Greg asked. His manner was that of somebody who had no clue what was going on. Someone that came in on the last part of a joke.
“Miserable.” Chad wanted to let it go. He yearned for this to be something of the past.
“Great!” Greg laughed. He took a swig of his own beer, then swayed his crossed legs momentarily. “So nothing ever changes with you.” He said passive aggressively.
“Nope.” Chad proclaimed,” At least you know I’m dependable.” He looked at Greg grudgingly. How dare he! Thought Chad.
“Yup, miserable as always.” Greg mulled.
“Only because of you.” Chad retorted quickly. It wasn’t the most responsible response. Nor was it really what he was thinking.
“Okay. With that I think I’m going inside.”
“No you’re not!” Chad voiced strongly.
“I think I’m going to sleep on the couch.”
“No you’re not!” Chad said again. This was how it always went. Chad would have feelings, and yet Greg wanted to treat them as if they were inconvenient. He wanted to show that he was strong. He wanted to show that no one had an impact on how he would live his life. “That will only make things worse.”
“I thought you said we could get past this.”
“I did!” Chad’s frustration was building. He had to talk his way through things. He couldn’t just let go of something. Scientific about his method, there always had to be a reason for everything.
“Oh my God, forget it Greg! You’ll never listen to me!”
“Okay, on that I’m going to bed. On the couch.”
“Fine! Do what you will. That’s how you want it anyway!”
“True.” Greg smiled. Although the love of his life was clearly upset, this was a point he had to make. At no point was there ever going to be somebody that told him what to do.
It will never end, Thought Chad. Greg since, stood and went inside. The silence quickly surrounded Chad. It was suffocating. The cigarette he was smoking increased his heart rate, and constricted his chest. The beer he was drinking force thoughts of other options quickly. The blackness soared from the core of his mind into the every part of his being. He sleeps on the couch, he’s dead! thought Chad. The negativity pulsated through the beer he practically chugged. The nauseating feeling, only urged him to drink further. Now anger crept into each extremity, each crevice, and by far every pore. He could hear the couch jostling around. Only beer, alcohol, or other mind altering substance could help him now. Greg had Xanax that he could steal. Going against everything he had argued about in the past, he opened the pill container dumped a single pill out, and consumed it with as much alcohol as could be handled. He soon passed out, calm as could be, at peace.
“I am just concerned that you don’t want to see the therapist any more.” Chad stated.
“It’s not something I want to do right now.” Greg responded. “I don’t want to do something I forced into in the first place.”
The anger in Chad began to rise. Slowly he could feel the chemicals firing in his mind. The beer helped to slow the process, but added the element of confusion when in such a profound situation. Forced! Never forced. Encouraged! Where was this coming from?
“You were never forced.” Chad said.
Greg responded with a deep exhale and dropped his head to look at Chad. Both men were smoking a cigarette on the deck. A small flame from a tiki torch supplied the light that played trickily among their faces. The air, though cold, was far from the first thought the men thought of.
“Please,” Greg begged. “When’s the last time anything I did was good enough for you?” He placed his hand atop the glass that held the wine he swirled not moments earlier.
“You always do good for me.” Chad responded. He watched the intent of Greg carefully. There had to be a root to the problem. Only seconds earlier they were talking about the issues the landlord might have had with them.
“I haven’t heard anything good.”
“I always tell you.”
“You can’t use words like always, because you don’t always tell me I’m good.”
“Okay,” it was about the only word that Chad could get out. Always was a strong word. There have been a lot of things that have irritated him to the point of vocalizing the dissent. Many things in the past few weeks. But why this? Why would Greg stop going now?
“That’s it?” Greg maundered. The puff he took from the cigarette showed he already changed his mode. This was not going to be about his problems. He heard too much about “his problems“. The smack of his lips, followed with the plume of smoke revealed a side of him Chad knew to carefully walk around. “All of this, for ‘okay‘?” He plunged the cigarette into the ash tray.
Chad considered this side of Greg. It was the menacing side that harbored a small portion of his beloved Partner. It saddled itself comfortably into his psyche. When something was about to be his fault, this would come out.
“Look,” Chad began. Greg sat back taking another drawl of the cigarette. He smiled knowing nothing Chad had to say would be able to affect him now. “All I know is that you weren’t forced, and that…”
“…and that I didn’t know where to go with what you were telling me at the time, so I suggested help.” Chad looked sadly at him. Remembering the conversation that initiated the therapy came a night after witnessing a horrid outburst, followed with a vicious attack. Chad hadn’t suffered any bruises from that night. He was too quick to restrain Greg, however, wondering what would have happened if he didn’t restrain him. It made him think. It made him worry. Greg blamed the entire episode on Depression. Then revealed how the night prior he seriously considered running off the guardrail on the bridge and plummeting to his death. “I don’t do well with that kind of stuff.”
Greg looked concerned for only a moment. “Then you said help, or you leave.”
***** ********** ************** *********************** ********************************
I did. I said it then, and now unfortunately, I may have to say it again. Not forced. Not ever forced. Encouraged.
Thank you for Reading
Caleb A. Mertz