When you called, I was standing among the ruins of a castle, looking up at the wind. My jacket was zipped to the top, and I struggled to fish my phone from my inside pocket. When I got on the line you were screaming through a drunken, lonely fug. -How much fuel have you had? I asked. How much more would you need? I wondered. There was nothing I could do for you. You were too far away.
I passed the phone to my friend, who knew you too. –I don’t want to talk to that kid, he said. I hung up and went behind the shelter of a wall to roll a cigarette. The wind and rain made the paper hard to light. Hunched over, I caught sight of my shoes. The toes were wet and covered with flecks of mud and stray blades of grass. Just then my whole weekend passed in front of me: the mountains, the wine, the driving in the dark, the ice on the shore. Why am I worrying about you?
We didn’t speak again for a few weeks. I dialed your number on a Saturday night and again heard that lonely roar. I put the phone down and stared through my window at the trees. It was daytime where you were. It was always daytime where you were.
Later on I went for a drink. Walking home, my shoulders got soaked with the rain. And once more, huddled and head down, I noticed my shoes: cleaner than before, but still stained brown from the castle’s muddy grounds. There’s no way out of this for you, I thought. And I’m not able to help. A strange smile came over my face. I turned the key to my door. Home at last. My whole body was wet. I made some tea and fell asleep.
Looking back on those days, I could barely help myself. How was I to help you? In such a simple place, there was so much confusion, so much to deal with. I’m glad I left there and made it back to safety. Maybe you should do the same. Alone is not an easy thing to be. Particularly when you’re tired of trying to stop yourself.