The Last Of My Friends by Hugh Cron

‘How long have I been your doctor?’

‘About twenty years.’

‘And you’ve never mentioned this to me?’

‘What?’

‘That you’ve got a problem.’

‘I’ve no problem.’

‘Emm, I don’t want to say this but you’re in denial.’

‘No. No denial. And no problem.’

‘Then you know what I am talking about.’

He nodded.

‘Your liver is damaged. You must stop. No option.’

‘Fair enough.’

‘Really?’

‘If that’s what you are telling me. That’s what I need to do.’

‘As easy as that?’

‘Yes, as easy as that.’

‘It won’t be.’

‘I know’

‘But you just said that it’ll be easy.’

‘It will be. The difficulty is not what you’re thinking.’

‘I don’t understand.’

‘I do and that’s all that matters.’

‘Look, I’m thinking about some form of counselling or even the AA. And some medication to take the edge off.’

‘I don’t need any of that.’

‘It won’t be easy. I would rather that you had someone to talk to. And it would be safer with the medication’

‘No. I don’t need anyone. Or anything. I don’t drink every day and have no problems, no shakes, no hallucinations, nothing.’

‘…OK, maybe ‘need’ is the wrong word. But what about your family or friends, just for some support.’

‘There is no-one.’

‘You must have someone?’

‘No. I stopped going round to see them years ago and when I did that, I had no friends anymore. Made me think that I was only being put up with so I decided to leave well alone.’

‘It doesn’t work that way.’

‘It does for me. I began to realise that there are more dead people in my life than living.’

‘What do you mean?’

‘Don’t worry, I’m not transfixed on the dead, I just mean that there are more who meant something to me and I think of them.’

‘Just think?’

‘Yes. Think and remember. And no, I don’t want to join them!’

‘Is that why you started drinking, because you missed them?’

‘No.’

‘Why did you then?’

‘Now that’s a good question. If I could turn back the clock, I can’t say that I wouldn’t do the same again.’

‘But you didn’t answer the question. Why did you start drinking?’

‘There are no deep dark secrets. No abuse. No mental issues. It was simple. I tasted and I liked what I tasted. You would understand an overweight person liking cake so what is different about me?

‘Well, I’ve not heard that reasoning before? So you think that you can do this on your own?’

‘Yes.’

‘Are you sure that you won’t consider medication? It will take the edge off no matter what you think.’

‘There is no edge. I’ve no addiction. After today I’ll only feel loss. I’ve lost a companion that was always there whether I was happy or not.

…I’ll mourn and then move on.

Thanks Doc. I need to go. I’ve somewhere to be’

….

He stood at the grave, kissed two fingers and touched the headstone.

‘We drank together for years. Death made you stop. It wont make me.’

 

Hugh Cron

18 thoughts on “The Last Of My Friends by Hugh Cron

    • Hi Marco,
      Thanks so much for your comments.
      You are completely right, any story of this type is also about what isn’t said.
      All the very best my friend.
      Hugh

      Liked by 1 person

  1. It shows the cleverness of addiction. Demon alcohol didn’t get to be a semi Supreme Being by allowing itself to be understood in shades of black and white, yesses or nos, evil or good. It even fools itself into believing it is your friend. Who’s to say it is not. I say many friendly things about booze, but I don’t trust it. MC has integrity. Nothing more depressing or useless than unwanted counseling.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hi Leila,
      Very interesting comments!
      I’m not sure if there is anything more addictive than anything else.
      Want is a different argument from need but want is stronger.
      And you are right, there is nothing black and white, that’s why all those Person Centred Fuckwit ‘professionals’ are making money.
      No wonder we drink when we have to listen to the pish from the alternatives!
      Thanks as always.
      Hugh

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Believable and effective dialogue. The bit about the MC drinking simply because he likes the taste is a nice touch. I think some people prefer their addiction to a longer life. For them, it’s a straight-forward calculation. This story portrays that succinctly and poignantly.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hi Dave,
      Thanks so much for the kind comments.
      I think most folks have some form of relationship with alcohol whether it be direct or indirect. It is only them that can tell you the reasons and reasoning. I think that was what I was going for. I still don’t know if the MC had an addiction in the conventional sense. I suppose, when you think on it, is being addicted to taste any different??
      It is always a pleasure hearing from you my friend.
      Hugh

      Like

  3. A simple but very moving story and it resonated strongly with me.
    Only a few weeks ago my beautiful niece Julie, died. She was an alcoholic and she drank herself to death.
    I attended her funeral in Nottingham on 3rd April last.
    The doctors said that she died of “massive organ failure’. She was only 38.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Norman,
      Thanks so much for those very personal comments.
      I am so sorry.
      Storytelling is one thing, life is a totally different ballgame.
      Sometimes there are very few words.
      Hugh

      Like

  4. Stopping drinking or slowing down, or just continuing to drink can be an act of will. Motivation is the key. Denial is a big river. However, some people like the taste, like this guy. Cool the way the story unfolds with dialogue, so the characters are shown through what they say and how they say it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much for your kind comments.
      I am delighted with your observation about the characters as I wanted to show but not dictate, so I am happy that came across.
      I really appreciate you getting involved in the site.
      Please keep the comments coming!!
      Hugh

      Like

  5. The dialogue is specific to one situation, but represents so many lives of quiet desperation. As Mr. Morrison said, no one gets out of here alive. The best we can hope for is giving it a good run and not causing too much damage along the way. Everyone’s history summarized – get born, get old (if lucky), fall apart and die.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Doug,
      Your summary sounds like Heaven!
      Unfortunately I have had another few ‘gets’ in-between!!
      It’s always a pleasure to read your take on my stories my friend!!
      Hugh

      Like

      • Thank you sir. You make me happy to be a part of LS. Sometimes with Short Humour, FOTW, LS and more I feel like an honorary (and I’m not an honorable anything) Brit (to Americans that includeds Scotland and Wales)

        Like

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