I’ve been an irresponsible friend to you over the past two weeks. Even I never anticipated the sheer brutality of the journey we would share together back in the homeland.
I assumed that my old friends would have matured in middle age – that we would mutually frown on the old excesses and the artificial influence to be had from alcohol that we used to depend upon, with the newfound wisdom to come from the ageing process.
But alas, it appears we still see ourselves as immortal when it comes to the choice between being sensible or getting shitfaced.
And there was so much to celebrate – the birth of a nephew, the engagement of a parent and the glorious liberation to be had from travelling alone for the first time in twenty years.
On the bright side, I have provided you with several wonderful new life-experiences to take home, too. There was that special bottle of Petrus to celebrate Dad’s birthday, those crisp French whites that complimented fresh oysters so well and the reassuring warmth of those several bottles of Australian Chardy that were shared with family who know us so well.
You might not believe me now, as you lie ravaged and spent after fourteen days of abuse, but I did try to look out for you when I could. I secreted mammoth glasses of water to my room at night, even though I was aware such an act was a punishable offence in most of the houses we stayed in as well as embracing arduous long walks in the British countryside in an attempt to combat the damaging effect of those evil toxins building up inside of you.
And I know you tried to warn me when you weren’t coping. Although, we’ve both fully succumbed to the pressure now, on this final leg of our journey, and been brainwashed into acceptance that three glasses of wine at lunchtime is a necessity to warm us up for the main event of dinner later in the day.
The problem has been that everyone remembers what fun we were in partnership during our youth – before life’s responsibilities, health concerns and middle-age set in, forcing us to become boring sensible. No-one knows that back then we needed wine to look confident and cool – that we didn’t possess an innate self-assurance like everyone else. So we had a reputation to uphold when we came back to the homeland, and even when you creaked and complained and flashed your warning lights at me, I had to ignore the obvious signs of abuse.
But we’ve had loads of fun too, but more importantly, we’ve survived it. And we can be good when we get home, protected as we will be by the fake wholesomeness of the old man and what he describes as his temple of a body.
And we need to be good role models back in Sydney, anyway, so that Kurt can learn that you don’t need artificial substances to have a good time – even though I still struggle to grasp that concept sometimes myself and fall embarrassingly along the wayside while trying to recapture my youth.
Thank you for being there when I needed you most, and for not letting me down. I promise to be a better friend once we get back home.