Two friends walked with me side by side, night and day, holding one hand each in the hollows of their own. They were old while I was young; but as I aged, they stayed the same. The first came to me , on a September afternoon, after I had slammed the phone back into its cradle, weeping heavily into the curtains that framed my French windows.
He stood by my side. Watching me quietly. Saying nothing.
Eventually, I reached out to feel his warmth envelop me, helping me forget why I cried and why I stayed, in a relationship that made no sense. He was always there, ever ready to listen to my sobs, until one day I realised that:
He was always there.
In fact, he never left.
That’s when I started to fear him.
Fortunately, another friend came along soon after. She was sympathetic, helpful and kind. She made efforts to pull me away from him, my first friend. While she succeeded on many days, I found myself running back to him at the slightest hint of betrayal, anger or sadness. He welcomed me as always. With open arms. In no time at all, I was caught in a dangerous see-saw that swung between these two friends of mine. Both seemed necessary and yet they both seemed unhealthy.
The tragedy was I had no idea how to break it off with one without hurting the other.
Three years later, I checked myself into rehab. It was a long, painful and slow journey without my two friends, who watched me through the windows, hoping I would come back to them. Either one of them.
My counsellor said they weren’t real friends at all. They pretended to be that, so they could worm their way into my confidence.
That must have been the reason that they never aged, said my tired brain on a clear morning. They had left their mark on me, though. I still recall their names.
He was Addiction and she was Withdrawal.