Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Cup's Corner -- part 4

The evening at the Manette’s was a delight. Lucie was bright and entertaining but the interplay between Mr Lorry and Charles Darnay was the most interesting aspect of the night’s conversations. Something always seemed to stay unsaid between them, no matter how much they talked with one another and no matter what subject about which they talked. Sidney’s trained lawyer ear picked it up right away as he was the kind of person on whom no little detail could be wasted. He was having trouble being jolly and comunicative, however, as he found himself struggling with the old habit of much drink. He did not need drink because he was bored by less than pleasant company, in fact, it was quite the contrary situation. He did not struggle with his demon because he was sad or lonely or in need of a change of mood. He struggled with it because it was his habit, it was what he did and he did not know how to not do it!

As he thought about it (and the discomfort he was experiencing) he was wishing he would not think about it but suddenly the jarring superficiality of not using his insight and intellect struck him in all of its terribleness. Was this what he was struggling with, not to be aware of things? The answer was yes and no. Perhaps he would think less about things if he medicated himself with drink and, perhaps he would feel better about those things which did cross the threshold of his consciousness in the altered mood state of inebriation. What was bothering him most was that he was spending all his time thinking about drinking and that was becoming a distraction from his thoughts about other things and from being his normal entertaining self.

Then another insight crashed into his awareness. He was now really aware of many of his feelings, they weren’t hidden from him now by that customary blanket of alcohol under which he hid much of himself from himself. He discovered that much that he could know about himself made him feel uncomfortable. It had always made him feel uncomfortable and he found himself feeling, in the worst way, that he wished to drown this monster and watch its corpse float away down a frothy, lazy river of wine.

Suddenly, Lucie was stroking his arm and he realized he had been distracted and agitated by his thoughts. Moreover, he saw that they were all aware of and concerned about how uncomfortable he had obviously become. He was deeply embarrassed by the concern and confusion that showed on the faces by the fire and in the lamp light. Although he sometimes felt he would relish the attentions of others, this situation was anything but something he would have desired. He seemed to be at a loss at how to put on his old character (Sidney the cynical, obnoxious drunk) because everything had become too real and facades and charactures seemed so out of place to him at the moment. He only barely was able to gather himself enough to make his appologies to all for his lack of social graces this evening. Doctor Manette, who had risen and was hovering behind his left shoulder rested a reassuring hand on that shoulder. Lucie spoke some soothing politenesses which, for the life of him, he wasn’t able to translate back into words and phrases. Amid all these kindnesses and concessions, Mr. Lorry arrose and said that it was time for him to go home. He asked Sidney if he would prefer a little air and would agree to accompany him along the way as they both lived in the same general direction. Sidney shakenly said his adieu and the company got up to see them off.

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