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I Earn My Rum

I went out for a mojito with a coworker friend of mine last night. We sat outdoors at the Brasserie Montmartre and watched Friday evening people going by in their fancy clothes. The mojitos were perfect, and the Bra' serves these teeny little pommes frites done in duck fat that are from heaven. It should have been a stellar wind-down to the week.

I knew that my friend's stepfather recently died, and I was prepared to do some listening. It started out well enough: he reprised his funeral speech and described the wake. Before long he was speaking of the final illness, the last days, the moment of death itself.

The more he talked, the more bludgeoned I felt. The details were awfully similar to those of my own father's death a dozen years ago, and I began to feel a bit deer-in-the-headlights. I tried to steer the conversation to something less triggering--to his mother's new circumstances, the will, his stepfather's accomplishments in life, anything. I hinted at my distress by saying that I knew all about the details, and how hard an experience it is.

It was no use. He needed to talk, and he was oblivious to my discomfort.

The thing is, we're not that close. We go to the art museum together a couple times a year, and put a martini-centric 6:00 "business meeting" on Outlook once every few months. We talk about work, travel, gardening, and home repair. We're not grief-close. He's a bit of a narcissist, and actually knows very little about me. (I also tend to end up footing the bill quite a bit.)

When I've been triggered like that all my thoughts become dark. It's not a good state for bike-riding, because images of horrible bike-car death intrude. The joy goes out of even a lovely ride home on a bright June evening. I got home without incident, but not without resentment. And I felt guilty about feeling resentful...and round and round it went.

A good night's sleep helped, but I've been full of food cravings all day. I think (well, I know) that the triggered feeling is biochemical, and that the follow-on state--the standing-down, as it were--is like a kind of hangover. That condition makes for sugar cravings, and sugar cravings are very, very hard to resist.

Let the record show that I did not, in fact, resist them very well at all today.

On the plus side, a much newer (and better) friend cheered me up this morning by making me laugh and giving me the audiobook version of Ben Aronovitch's Rivers of London. The book is stellar and the laughter is probably what saved me from eating my weight in carbs. So thank you, newer friend. Healing comes in many forms.

Crossposted from Dreamwidth, where there are comments. | Comment at Dreamwidth.



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