(I have this habit of giving some people nicknames nobody else uses, and even I only use in writing. Even those concerned often don’t know them either. Mostly this happens when I grow a reasonably deep affection for the one in question. The usual way is translating one of the person’s names or nicknames into English, Scots or Gaelic. Silas is generally known as Stekloun, and Silas was as near as I could get to his real first name.)
Except for the detox period and a few days after I was put up through all my full-timer’s stay at the Yaird, as is the habit of the place, in the same room. It was a double and my room-mate for the first two thirds of this time was Silas. I had two more after him (both of them “repeaters”, which does not mean “relapsers”), and three others when returning as a repeater myself. But none was more to my liking than he.
Not that you’d find many similarities between us. Some of the others were alkies like me, while he’s a junkie. Some were closer to me in age – he’s sixteen and a half years younger. Even our experiences and problems, whether addiction-related or not, were different more often than not. And as far as I can tell he’s no more gay than I’m straight. But somehow we got along quite easily from the very start. When he was leaving, a month before myself, and I told him I couldn’t have wished a better room-mate, it wasn’t just a polite cliché. I meant it.
In short, he became one of the four guys I liked best in the Yaird. But he was also the first of whom I lost track. And it was fairly weird. It took just a month before I was unable to find anything at all about him. Even at the Reunion, where I got some information on everybody I asked about, never mind if it had to have passed through half a dozen mouths, nobody knew a bit about him. Yet I only gave up all hope of finding anything out after a full year.
And not even then. I still had an odd daydream now and then about coming to a repeater’s stay and quite unexpectedly meeting him there. As a relapser, of course, but alive.
Miracles do happen sometimes. I’d have to rack my brains hard to recollect another example of fantasizing about something so good yet so utterly improbable, which would one day nevertheless come true, and I’d have to rack them hard as in very. (Experiencing something pleasant only after having given up all hope is, however, in itself something I’m well acquainted with.) But it happened. Looking for an empty dressing room locker after arriving for my latest stay I came across one with a label bearing his name – and then it was just a matter of minutes to find him. I didn’t meet him at the smoking yard (as in those daydreams), but entering his room, and there was no embrace, but the relief at finding him still living was just as immense.
Later it even turned out that he had come from the detox two days before my arrival – and later on that he’d leave for a rehab farm ten days after my departure, having only spent at the “ward” two weeks. What are the odds for this, I mean my coming within exactly that period, to happen? One million to one? One billion?
Anyway. He’s alive; I spent a lot of time with him during the five days (even though we only managed once to be on an occupational at the same time – but there was the day trip); and yesterday he left for the farm. Coincidentally the same farm that Lùc went through. I pray that Silas, too, will eventually hold on after that – and keep in contact, as Lùc does. When you lose somebody, and against all probability find them again, you’re fond of them all the more for it.
Hey, Silas, I know you’ve got no English, and couldn’t read this even if you did where you are now, but: make it and hold on, a bhràthair!
(I do have a few snaps of him, but I decided that it would be bad form to put one here.)