Shortly after she'd moved them out to the country and got him away from the street-drinkers he'd fallen in with, his heart started troubling him. He
had it monitored and it was discovered that his heart was stopping whilst he slept, for several seconds at a time.
The doctors decided to fit him with a pace-maker but he'd have to wait a month before it could be done.
That month was agonising for Laura. Now that she knew his heart was stopping for up to eleven seconds at a time she was worried about letting him
sleep unattended. They were over six miles from the nearest town and hard to find in the depths of the country. She didn't know what the chances would
be of getting an ambulance out there at all, let alone in time to save him.
Every night she'd listen outside his bedroom to make sure he was still breathing, thankful that he always made such a racket. But sometimes, all was
quiet. Should she go in? She'd felt she couldn't disturb him when he was breathing peacefully and worried if she might precipitate a heart attack
should he wake up to find her looming over him.
Every morning she'd go in, carefully touching him to see if he was warm or cold if she couldn't hear him breathing.
It had been a long month and even later on she never took it for granted that she'd wake up each day to find him still alive.
She really didn't know why she made such a big deal of it. In the City before he'd given up injecting, due to just about buggering the only vein he'd
had left to inject into, she'd come down to the kitchen every morning with the same sense of trepidation. She never knew if she'd find him dead on the
floor from his first fix of the day.
But, last year the cavalry finally arrived and he'd been persuaded to go into de-tox. He'd nearly died once or twice during the week it took, but
managed to survive and got sent on to re-hab. Sadly, that didn't suit him and he'd absconded.
She'd received a call from a care-worker to inform her of events. A care-worker who just wouldn't comply with her requests to tie the bastard to a
desk so he couldn't get away.
Then she'd spoken to her friend who was adamant that if she wouldn't take him in he was going back to the City. She'd had no choice, she knew that if
he went back to the City now he'd be sunk. He'd be either straight back to using or just plain dead.
She'd asked how he'd manage to get to her, after all she was seventy-five miles away. 'Don't worry' he'd said 'I'm resourceful'.
She'd soon found out his idea of 'resourceful'. He'd managed to get a train most of the way using the little money he had, but then had to resort to
asking a taxi-driver to phone Laura to see if she was prepared to pay an arm an a leg for her friend to be driven the rest of the way home in a
Using all her powers of persuasion Laura had finally got the driver to trust that she would stump up and he delivered her friend to her door.
Her friend had assured her that the money was a loan, as was all the rest of the money he'd cost her during the week he'd stayed. The money amounted
to quite a bit before a place could be arranged for him in a new, more user-friendly, re-hab. And a bit more on top of that as she paid for him to go
all the way in another taxi, not trusting him to get there by himself.
After he'd gone Laura had a carefree six months to herself. Knowing that her friend had an army of people to help him she could relax for the first
time since they'd met.
She'd needed some time to recover, too, from some of the dreadful things her friend had confessed to during his short stay. Part of his recovery plan
included being very honest about the past and he had a lot to be very honest about.
Principally that, as soon as he could after they'd moved to the country, he'd sought out the local low-lives in town. All those times she'd trusted
him to do the shopping on his own he'd taken the opportunity to take extra drugs. And that once, when very fortunately he was at a friend's place
rather than the public lavatories, he'd taken an overdose.
His friend was ex-military and had known how to resuscitate him but had panicked during the procedure. He'd been a bit rough and left Laura's friend
with a permanent pain or ache just near his heart.
Laura could put two and two together and realised the source of the 'hereditary' heart problem that had required him to have a pace-maker fitted. She
remembered how many times he'd lamented that the doctors never gave him a proper diagnosis so he didn't know what the problem with his heart actually
She remembered, too, all the pains in her own heart. She was very empathetic and could feel the ills of those close to her. She sighed as she
remembered a number of times when she'd asked him if his chest pains were bad that day. He'd always agreed that, indeed, they were. And so she'd been
relieved that there was only one of them to worry about rather than two, just assuming that her pains were really his.
It had been difficult for her to take in the information that her friend had tossed at her so casually. She didn't believe in things 'nearly'
happening or 'could have happened'. The fact was he didn't die of an overdose so there was no point in fretting about the 'might have beens'.
The fact that was hard to take was the fact that he'd been prepared to risk it. To put her and the new life she'd built and financed in jeopardy just
for the sake of a fix on top of his legal daily allowance.
She was starting to realise that her friend was far more selfish and callous than even she had suspected. And she'd suspected a lot.
She thought back to earlier that year, long before the garage clear-out and the suspicion that she was dying. He'd finally come out of re-hab and was
able to visit before going into a halfway house. Just a brief stopover, but enough for him to see that she wasn't too well. Her health had been
deteriorating for about a month and she must have shown some weakness or chink in her armour. She remembered how grateful she'd been when he rammed a
particularly stubborn plug into a socket for her.
He'd left her with promises of a return visit as soon as he was able, just a few weeks he thought.
After that they'd kept in touch via email or a quick phone call. All the time her health was getting worse and the persistent cough made phone calls a
bit of an ordeal.
Eventually she got an email saying that he'd better not give her a definite date for a visit as he didn't want to disappoint her if it fell through.
After that, visits were never mentioned again.
He didn't mention the new place he'd been planning to rent either – the place that would have had room for her. During his week-long stay last
summer they'd discussed having two places. Hers in the country and his beside the sea so he could still be near to his support network. They'd
discussed getting a small dog, too.
Now the subject just never came up. All he seemed to write about was how busy he was, his AA meetings, how difficult it was to send emails from a
mobile phone or how hard it was to get a signal. At one point he described how he'd helped to clean and re-decorate the re-hab place even though he'd
Laura looked around her own place and wished that he'd been there to help her clean up a bit. She was finding it harder and harder to cope now but was
trying not to emotionally blackmail him into coming to help her.
edit on 5-6-2016 by berenike because: (no reason given)