"Have you ever been hospitalized for drinking too much?" Trouble asks me.
"No, I've never been hospitalized at all, actually"
"Have you?" he asks his roommate.
It's my first time meeting his roommate, he's been antagonistic to me right from the start with such gems as "lesbians are jealous of your haircut" and "you don't belong in Astoria, move to Brooklyn" but I'm sitting on the same side of the table with Trouble, oddly ok with this situation in which he keeps seemingly choosing me over his childhood friend.
"No, some of us can hold our liquor" the roommate responds in a tone of voice that implies there is definitely a story here.
"Have you?" I try to keep my voice cool while every part of me is certain and terrified of the answer.
"Yeah, a couple of months ago. We went out to dinner and then we went to club and then I woke up in the hospital. I know I got there in an ambulance because I read the chart and it said the NYPD called an ambulance for me. I mean, I was just really drunk. I don't know, a couple of days later all my muscles were sore and maybe I fell down some stairs or something"
I don't even know what I said in response. I don't know if I said anything. I think roommate maybe told me I should move to Brooklyn again and the conversation changed.
Later in the evening, "I don't know what's going on, I just get home from work and immediately want to start drinking".
I wanted to talk to him about it, you know I wanted to talk to him about it, if you know me or have read this blog for any significant amount of time you know, but I couldn't, because his roommate was there and later we were back at his house and drunk and well, the other "you know".
It was a strange evening, the first time the majority of our conversation wasn't banter and flirtation. I'm not sure why I got to meet his roommate, if it's just because it was the first time his roommate was around when we had plans or if it was a sort of exchange for me letting him into my room. The way he distracted roommate when roommate kept heckling me and the walking back to his house without the customary "are you coming over", arms around each others waists as he assures me that I shouldn't take roommate personally felt strangely more relationship-y than dates I've been on with guys I hoped to date. He was apologetic and just enough more inebriated than me to seem vulnerable and a little adorable. Time spent in bed involved a lot more give and take than once a month FWB normally involves. Instead of being clever, we were both being silly.
Something switched. I stopped being able to pretend that all the not texting him and not being facebook friends with him and not knowing if I'll actually see him again in about four weeks matters. They're flimsy boundaries. A way to pretend I'm not being reckless.
But do you understand? Do you understand what those moments of vulnerability, those comments about alcohol abuse mean to me? Do you understand my sudden overwhelming urge to not so much date him, as fix him?
Months ago, after our first date our mutual friend asked if I had heard from him.
"No, haven't heard from him at all in a couple of weeks"
"Gah, Trouble is like that. He can kind of be an ass. He's never actually committed to a girl, I don't know what's wrong with him, but he's hurt in some way. He's always been like that"
"YOU TOLD ME TO DATE HIM"
"I thought maybe you would be the one that changed him"
"Why didn't you tell me that was the plan?! That is the worst plan. I would've known better, I probably would've still slept with him but I would not have let myself like him so much"
And yet, here we are, months later and I think I can fix him. It's me, because I'm just that caring and loving and compassionate. Because I know how to take care of people better than themselves. Because of the narcissism of codependency.
I feel like my body is being wrenched apart. My head pulling one way and my heart the other. Every bit of my screaming "NO" and at the same time "YES" because I can see it. I can see every beautiful self destructive second of it. I can see the swirling, pulling downward spiral of every action forgiven, the begging, the pleading, the problem solving. I can see myself feeling martyred and vindicated. I can see the raw emotional clash if I let him in and he let me in and the delicious damage that would ensue. I can see it all. The happiness and the tears. The lovely, lovely extremes.
I don't think he'd ever let me in, thankfully, because I don't think I have the strength to walk away.
And sitting in Central Park after spending a few hours at MoMA with a very nice boy, thinking about Trouble being hospitalized instead of thinking about that boy, is when I realized I needed to follow through with my New Year's resolution of finding an Al Anon meeting. The exact phrase "I need to go to a meeting" ran through my head and I almost laughed. And then I almost cried, like I'm doing now.
Because I have to admit that I am powerless.
And it has very little to do with Trouble.