“Not Everything is Equal”
How different life is with a different mindset. There is a thing which happens when you realise that no-one you care about or that you think cares about you actually cares about you.
It gives you liberty. To express yourself. They have been told about your blog many times, but don’t read it. I don’t mind that they don’t read it – my wife doesn’t read it – but they – many – actually don’t know about, or even have the knowledge of the existence of the films I’m viewing and what I’m doing,
“despite their personal and exuberant love of film.”
“1st Time 2nd Time – All Comes Around”
Tonight I wrote a short story. Amongst the viewing of movies, the blog, the writing about movies, the learning to draw, the desire and inspiration to keep composing, the filming of 4k video for a film that I’m intent on making, there was a story to write about a couple who were about to be married, almost a quarter of a century ago, today.
“Jacques was in a motel room with Gerard Barry (a wonderful composer of Classical Music) and his partner Chris, Dave (Jacques’s best man), and Antony Powell (a director of numerous quality cinema and television productions). Gerard was Jacques’s best man and best friend, Dave was Jacques’s second-best man and second-best friend and Antony was a very good friend – who gave-a-damn! – who was to become Jacques’s best friend, six years later.
Jacques was a tradesman. He got hired to lay bricks – sometimes even entrusted with tiles – and make sure the grout was 4mm (bricks) or 1mm (tiles). He had a skill that was valued by some in the industry, as master craftsman, and by others in the business as a (“I’m a freelancer, I just need a job so I can lay some bricks”) minor bricklayer.
It was now the very early hours of the same morning Jacques was to be married in, eleven hours later. They were smoking cigars and drinking copious quantities of wine which Powell kept ordering: a steady flow of red and white wine.
As Jacques did, when tense or excited, and there’s general merriment, he started drinking faster and faster without a thought of how he’d get up and do whatever he had to do tomorrow. Whether it was getting to work by 9 or 10am or getting to his own wedding by 12 or 13, the calculations were nearly always out by a bit.
By the time he found his room, having held the walls of the motel corridor upright as he walked to his room, he knew it was very very late or even a little bit early and that he was a tiny bit sober or very very drunk.
Jacques clearly remembered the walls were in danger of falling down if he didn’t stay upright and that the bloody key wouldn’t fit in the lock because the bloody lock kept repositioning itself. No matter what he did, the lock and key were clearly disposed to dislike each other and he couldn’t get them to marry, despite the numerous proposals.
His best man, or the second best – maybe even the third – was wandering down the hall during Jacques’s twentieth proposal. He took the key (free will) from Jacques and guided it into destiny (the lock).
It had been an exciting evening and Jacques hadn’t been temperate and had shown no discipline for being sensible.
He didn’t remember anyone drinking less than him, and although he knew he’d been drinking more than most bums for almost three-quarters of a year, it was still a surprise when excessive drinking met with a (seemingly) diametrically-opposed stupor. It added up to the kind of hangover at 10am that required Jacques to be in bed until 2pm if he was going to get up and walk to the bathroom, unaided; 7pm if he was going to grab the walls and accept their help. 10pm, if he was going to think about eating again without chundering at the thought.
Brring Brring. 10am. Checkout time. It became a never-ending sound of ringing sounds from a phone that refused to be silent – even off the hook – as Reception bombarded Jacques with an accumulation of aural noise and then verbal threats. It was a bursting dam of disinterest from them regarding how his head felt at 10, 11 and 12, resulting in a physical eviction.
So, Jacques had to get up and he got out. His head didn’t hurt as much as his body felt the need to be horizontal. It’s the kind of thing that some aren’t self-conscious about admitting, but Jacques come from a background where he his behaviour should have been responsible and upright in the face he presented the world, instead of caving in to cravings.
He’d had a hard eight months after resigning from his job in March, with his brick-laying mentor, for whom he had great affection. Now, on a good day, Jacques was trying to get from one day to the next and it was the most important goal he ever set himself that year (every day – or every other day).
The effects of alcohol and drugs when someone is unwell make everything get better and better until they don’t. They’re the lessons you learn, to tell your kids, so they can avoid similar mistakes. But, if you’ve already been broken by your family, and you already have little regard for yourself, as a being, then you’re a burning match waiting to come across a slick of oil.
This even, shockingly, applies to people who came from ‘good’ families. Apparently, everyone thought it was a bad idea that Jacques was marrying Jules, but no one actually told Jacques that everyone thought it was a bad idea, and if they told Jules, she didn’t alert Jacques. If ever there was a sign that two driverless trains were hurtling towards each other, on the same track, it was Jacques and Jules.
They effortlessly turned that into an inevitably bitter, angry, ‘take-no-prisoners’ roll down the hill into divorce court. People know that if you have oil and you have a burning match and the two happen to come together, it will result in a catastrophic conflagration, so the only one’s surprised were the oil and the burning match. Each had their own lives before uniting to create a 43-month, slow-burning fuse. There were several hints that Jacques and Jules were heading down a path that could be disastrous but the two head-strong idiots, him and her, thought that love outweighed all of the things which could accidentally marry the stupidity of allowing oil in the vicinity of a burning match.
In fact, what they hadn’t reckoned on was that love in all of its (guises and) disguises would not be enough. Not enough to overcome their childhood, their parents, their siblings, their schooling, their combined self-doubt or any individual self-loathing that may have been bubbling away beneath the surface. Definitely not their psychological and emotional challenges.
They had no idea that before they even met, their union, which was part of the beautiful organisation of the way life unfolds in the lives of people on planet earth, was a failure. If Jacques had thought the word, doomed, it would have given a perspective that it was at one time possible, before the decline, that it could have survived. To know that their union was a failure, before they had even met, is to recognise that fifteen-years later a success had already been devised where Jacques would meet Miss Alright and then have Beautiful and Charming.