• Rachel Roussell

His self-destruction

‘Can someone help me please?’ Jenny called out as she almost fell through the sliding doors at the entrance to the hospital. There was panic in her voice, her red face was filled with embarrassment and her swollen cheeks stung from the alcohol fuelled slaps that she had received earlier that evening.

Jenny stood in Casualty with her drunken boyfriend who was a tramp like quivering mess in her arms. He was an unkind man of contrast. Sometimes full of rage like a dog chained up taking a flogging from its master and other times a man deathly quiet as he lay unconscious whilst his body drowned in the evil spirit. Sometimes one bottle of Vodka but more likely two. Any observer would be right to call Hamish pathetic and weak. He was a big man with a deserved scar on the side of his face. Some would say the intimidating man had the morals of a monster but no matter how many times Jenny questioned her sanity, she couldn’t help but love him.

But was it love? She definitely wanted to save him from his torment, his addiction and his compulsion to drink, but was it love or fear of failure? It was the fifth time that she had taken Hamish to hospital that year and Jenny, who was tiny framed in comparison to Hamish desperately tried to hold up the puppet like man. She turned her head away longing to smell clean air because the suffocating smell of extreme quantities of Vodka was over powering. It was almost inescapable and so familiar. As she turned she could see the room full of people staring at her, leaving a mark of gaze on her skin and Hamish fell to the floor clenching his chest. He was a man of broken humanity and yet he could smile his way into a five star hotel and get upgraded. Hamish charmed people with his Scottish accent and his sometimes sober sensitivity. The sparkle in his eye was attractive and the adoration for his dog was touching. He did love one thing and that was his dog.

A stern loud voice projected across the hospital room. A nurse had recognised Hamish straight away. ‘Wait your turn Mr MacDonald!’ She looked through him, her eyes not pausing to feel sympathy for him. ‘I need a drink!’ He retorted disrespectfully. The fearless looking nurse gave Jenny a sick bowl and on cue Hamish vomited. He missed the bowl completely and the stench of sick rose up from the puddle on the floor. A man with what looked like a broken nose stood leaning up against a vending machine watching Hamish. He looked at Jenny and with an emotionless stare he said, ‘a word of advice missy, you’re wasting your time with that one.’ ‘Oh god, I’m so sorry.’ Jenny said to the nurse as they both attempted to clear up the sick on the floor and Jenny looked around the room at the inflicted casualties. Her boyfriend’s selfish behaviour affected so many people, his family, his friends or just an innocent bystander. Jenny looked at Hamish, she was ashamed of him and eventually left him in a heap while he moaned and groaned declaring he was having a heart attack. It was just like all the other times she had taken him there, always the same diagnosis, a drunk, an alcoholic, a lost man. She felt alone even though she was in a room full of people. She felt isolated even though she had a network of loving friends and family. Jenny had become a charity, mentally, physically and financially. She knew deep down that he didn’t deserve her love and she tried to deny the fact that he didn’t really love her.

‘Excuse me dear.’ An elderly lady said to Jenny. She had a kind voice and a comforting smile and she sat down next to Jenny who tried really hard to smile back at the kind lady. ‘I think you need to go to the ladies my dear, let me help you.’ Jenny was grateful for any kind of help. ‘You have your pyjamas on dear.’ The lady whispered to her. ‘Oh no.’ Jenny looked down and saw that she was wearing her pyjamas and even worse her knickers were showing. She stood up, fitting in well with her surroundings looking like a hospital patient. Her long dark hair crushed on her head, her pretty face wearing her worries and a feeling of regret that she hadn’t stopped to get dressed before she drove to the hospital. Earlier that evening Hamish had expressed his frustrations on Jenny’s body then he left the house and she tucked herself into bed, licking her wounds just like a cat would if it had been in a fight. At midnight Hamish knocked on her front door, clenching his chest and crying so Jenny drove him to hospital. ‘Thank you for your kindness.’ Jenny hugged the elderly lady whilst they stood alone in the toilets. ‘You know what you should do now don’t you dear. You should walk away. He won’t change and you can’t save him my dear.’ The lady said and Jenny knew in her heart that she was right. ‘I know you’re right but he has no one else to help him.’ Jenny said pathetically and she heard her own pathetic words and felt ashamed. ‘His compulsion to drink will be his self-destruction and if you're not careful he will destroy you too my dear. Believe me. I have seen it and I speak from experience.’ The lady said and there was a deep sadness in her eyes. Jenny felt instant relief from just being able to talk to someone about her fears. ‘He will play with your heart strings, question your self-worth and crush you like a rose.’ The lady seemed so knowing, so right and so passionate about the fact that Jenny should leave Hamish. ‘Your tormentor will make you promises that he will never keep and you will feel like you are a failure every time he drinks.’ She said and she took off her jacket and placed it over Jenny’s shoulders. ‘What you are saying is how I am feeling. How do you know so much?’ Jenny looked into the woman’s eyes. ‘Because the same happened to me my dear.’ She said. ‘I’m so pathetic, I need to be stronger, I need to fix this and I can’t fail.’ Jenny told her. ‘You can’t fix him my dear. He needs to want to fix himself and I don’t think he does. Take my advice. Walk out of this hospital, don’t look back and don’t let him into your life anymore.’ Jenny made her decision and gave the lady her jacket back. She was going to leave Hamish. She walked out of the door with her head held high and with a new inner strength. She turned around to thank the lady but she was gone. Jenny was surprised and she glanced over to where she could see a body lying in a cubicle. She recognised the jacket that was on the body and walked over to it. There she was, the kind elderly lady who had helped Jenny just moments before. ‘Are you her daughter?’ A voice asked. ‘What happened?’ Jenny asked the doctor. ‘Are you a relative?’ He asked again. ‘No.’ Jenny said. ‘Then I have to ask you to leave please.’ He told her. Jenny turned around and looked at Hamish who was propped up on a chair and the nurse walked over to her. ‘The lady in the cubicle died in a car crash, her husband was driving and he was drunk. He was an alcoholic just like our Mr MacDonald over there.’ The nurse pointed at Hamish and Jenny understood what she was saying. She turned around, walked out of the hospital and didn’t look back.

She didn’t answer the door to Hamish or answer any of his drunken calls and eventually he stopped trying to contact her. At Christmas Jenny received a card from Hamish's sister with some predictable news. Hamish had got drunk and driven his car into a tree, he died alone.

He died of self- destruction.

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Leighton Buzzard, Bedfordshire, United Kingdom - 07800887857 rachel.roussell@gmail.com

Copyright Rachel Roussell 2021