31.03.15 (Day 463/21)
I’ve been in the pub for three weeks now. This is a statement which would almost have been true in the past, when I spent far too long in pubs, drinking. Now I just happen to be in the building which is a public house and which has a bar downstairs. I’m upstairs, at my writing desk, writing and looking out over the streets below where I once slept.
It’s still small, wonky and somewhat draughty here but it’s home. It’s not just a place to stay or a temporary living solution; it truly is my home as I’ve made it. A year ago, I might not have believed anyone who told me that I’d end up living above a pub. I was an alcoholic then; I still am. Alcoholism is incurable and permanent but can be controlled. It takes a lot of effort to get where I am. It took a lot of work to get where I once was, before it all collapsed gradually around me. Having been through all of that and the last fifteen months, I am determined that history will not repeat.
The reasons are many: what I have around me, including somewhere totally me to live and a lost of trust placed in me. Previously I’ve been left in charge of the bar downstairs. An alcoholic, reformed thief, left in charge of a bar full of drinks and a till full of cash. But I was trusted and I proved that trust to be well placed, when the only time I touched drink or the till was to pour myself a pint and pay for it. Since then the whole pub – the entire building – has been entrusted to me. Up until now, there was a kind of curfew on hours of residence and visits as everyone needed to be in or out before the pub closed at night. Now I have keys for the actual pub, as well as the flat upstairs. If I were otherwise inclined, I could invite people back for after hours drinks and sneak people in before opening. But I won’t. I shan’t betray the trust placed in me.
So life at the pub is good. My little bit of it is completely finished and just as I want it, until I decide to acquire something new or move something. The hi-fi is working beautifully and the intermittent Freeview signal now seems to have settled. We are still without internet but a simple bolt-on to my mobile payment plan served as a workaround. It’s surprising how far limited data will go.
Life in the bar is varied, when I can get down there. Sometimes it’s more a case of when I can escape it though, with people turning up unannounced to see me, or arranging to meet me downstairs, only to then not turn up. It’s a public house which anyone can visit but if people want to see me, I wish they’d let me know, or if they tell me they’re coming, perhaps they might have the decency to actually show up and not string me along. So I’m adopting a selfish stance. I live here but I live upstairs. It is my home. If you come to the pub to meet me, let me know you’re coming, then have the decency top actually show up. If you come to the pub and I’m not in the bar, that’s because I’m busy in the part of the building which is my private abode. I have the means to live independently, if I’m allowed to. Well, now I will.
So to the eldest one who calls me dad but who isn’t actually my daughter, don’t give me the run around all day. Don’t even arrange to meet me because you have proven today yet again that you can’t be relied upon to turn up, even when you say you’re ten minutes away. The middle one is no longer a daughter she never was because of the way she’s treated me as well. The youngest one is the one I care about most at the moment because she’s the only one who’s not actually done anything to hurt me but she’s hurting herself at the moment, so she’s the one I’m helping. The other two needn’t ask for my help any more because I get no thanks for all of my efforts. They may find it within themselves to apologise but it will only wash until the next time. I care for them like their real parents may not but the advantage of being adopted by them is I can hand them back. I can divorce myself of them. I’m done with kids and trying to sort out their lives, when I have a life of my own which I’m trying to sort out. And you know what kids? There’s still a lot to sort out, so I’ll be getting on with myself for now, thank you very much. You’re on your own. You had too many chances. I could deal with the disapproval from the plastic police but could always do without it. Now you’re gone, so I can.
Life in the pub would be so much better if only there weren’t so many other lives. So this is a filtering process and there’s more to do and people to get out of the life I should be living.
Then after causing one of my infamous tantrums, it was all sorted with the eldest. It was a mood swing and I swung back, as someone somebody thinks of as a dad would. All will be okay there eventually but the middle one has burned a bridge with her scumbag boyfriend and will most likely never be welcome back with the way those two have acted.
Life and love goes on, for now.