During the last several months I was seeing Tommy rarely indeed (which probably exacerbated my mental and drinking problems, but I won’t try to put the blame on him. I’m the one responsible for my behaviour), but during my last Scottish week I’ve seen him an incredible four times. (This, together with the knowledge Rob was awaiting me in Budweis, contrarily helped me keep going.) Perhaps because he was currently lonely and depressed as well. Whatever.
On Monday (the day before his 24th birthday) he came to lend me twenty quid to tide me over the time before the money from the old country arrived. I gave him a dozen of my favourite books I thought he might enjoy as well, and carrying the vacuum cleaner myself accompanied him to his place. Funnily I wasn’t depressed after; I was delighted at having met him again, while knowing it still wasn’t the last time (all right, probably partly also on account of the £20).
On Wednesday the money was on my account, so he came to get back the twenty. Me having to go to the Tesco for some grub we left together again; a strange moment happened when we were walking by the Canal and Rob rang me up. Normally his every call made my day then, but this once I ended it as quickly as I politely could. I wanted to enjoy Tommy’s presence as much as I could . . . while I still could.
As mentioned earlier, he didn’t go with me to Inveraray, but on Saturday he visited again: for some last scans and copies on my printer, to talk (nothing maudlin, our usual way of mutual teasing and so forth), smoke and pick up some other things I wouldn’t take with me (most notably probably the black curtains that used to hang in my living room). I helped him carry them to his place, where we had another coffee – and unexpectedly agreed he’d come once more next day. I could hardly believe my luck . . .
And on Sunday he did come, shortly after my return from Dunkeld. The visit resembled the previous day’s one, except it was shorter. I gave him Franny and Zooey, as he wanted a book with my dedication; I thought up “Tae ma best Glesga mate Tommy Dzim”. Surprisingly he also decided to take The History of Mr. Polly, pleasing me as it’s one of my favourites. (I’m not sure he won’t be bored by it but heck, I’ll probably never know anyway.) Not accompanying him this time, we said our goodbyes at my place; in the end I did manage to sort of manipulate him into an embrace – our only one ever.
And then he was gone. I watched him from my window turn the corner onto Panmure Street; I may not see him again except on the few photos I have. Strangely, I didn’t weep after. But I had to remind myself constantly that soon I would see Rob . . .
It’s nine days later now and I still miss him. And I know I will for a long time yet. Thankfully there are emails, so we still keep in contact. But life will never be the same without seeing him. Time alone will tell whether he’s been as important in my life as Jamie, Falcon and Rob, or slightly less, as Ziggy. It doesn’t matter much. I’ll cherish the memories of our times together till the day I die.