Not there in time...
It's a theme in my life, as with pretty much everyone else's, that I Never Seem To Find The Time.
This is especially true with friends, even True Friends.
We're always told that if we don't watch out, we'll let time slip away, and one day we'll wake up, and our loved ones will be gone. Sometimes, I worry, if we don't watch out, our friends will have slipped away even as they live. Even from themselves.
_ _ _
I hadn't called Jamie in a long time. When I was doing my stint at the jail, he was a young, skinny, redneck jailer kid that cursed like a sailor and had a bit of a drinking problem. I liked him right away. He wrestled with sobriety, but seemed to beat the drinking thing, and got his marriage about halfway back on track, though not before losing the house. He and I talked long sessions-- this boy was bright, and I just flat-out liked the kid. I did my best to encourage him, and told him how proud I was of him when he quit drinking, started working out, and put on some weight-- all muscle.
He quit that job, and got a good job working close to home. He was thinking about going to academy, or maybe even law school. He started taking classes, and doing pretty well. We talked a time or two, and I told him again how proud I was of him. Planned to go shooting, or some such. Maybe let our kids play together.
Kept putting that off.
We planned an outing one day, and he had to cancel because of his kid's ear infection. Understandable. The kids come first.
Another year went by.
So a couple of days ago, I called my friend. He sounded down. He sounded drained. He wasn't working. He had left "that crap." Two sentences more, and he told me that he had been fired, and his wife was divorcing him. Yes, the drinking appeared again. But there was more this time: "I'm just trying to stay away from those damned drugs," he confessed.
Drugs? "Meth and cocaine," he said. Oh, damn.
He's back on the wagon, now. Getting his stuff together, filing applications, he says. 10 days sober. AA every day.
No, he hasn't been caught. Well, that's something.
The whole time he and I were talking, all I could think was, "I shoulda been there. I can't believe I let him go like this. I could have called him, checked up on him, told him when I saw him screwing up..."
Rational or irrational, it's how I feel. If only...
I know lots of people who are functioning, respected members of society who've done a line or two in their time. I know more than a few who've smoked a little meth in their time. The tricky part was getting past it, and then convincing the world that they really had.
It makes it harder when they're an addict-type personality.
I'm going to have lunch with him.
_ _ _
A friend told me about her devotion to a fuzzy pet who saved her life once. Thinking more "Bobby's caught in the old mine shaft-- get help quick!" I asked how. She said that the pet had helped her through a bad, bad period when she was being swallowed in the misery of depression's maw. This was no pet-- this was an old friend that had been there for her.
I've got some calls to make. People to check on.