January 6, 2023

Further Depressing Conversation.

By aarondkey

“Did he say why he wanted to go home?” Timonthy asked knowing it wasn’t the point but he had to say something, still looking at Gerald in the distance with a lump in his throat.

“He said, he thought I needed a break. I was not happy apparently and he wanted to go back somewhere we had been happy, he said. I said that might once have been the case but all I remembered was the last few years when I was as miserable as it was possible for a person to be. He apologised again and said ‘can’t we move on from that? I was stupid, I admit it but I never wanted to leave you.’

“The problem was that he spoke and I could not trust his words. They were no more reassuring than the sound of wind rustling in the trees. I don’t know if I can trust him at all. He might say ‘I love you’ and I hear ‘why won’t you die instead of hanging around me forever like a clinging vine?!.’’’

Timonthy knew that he wasn’t enjoying this confession, not only because he didn’t want one of his friends, a man he had admired, to be unhappy but because he saw in Stolid’s words his own future in his fears. He had never believed that a man like him could have a relationship that could make him happy but he had begun to look on Johanthon and Stolid as his lucky charm, his proof that stranger things could be. Perhaps it was all inevitable: love a fragile illusion, happiness a forlorn hope. Everything he had ever dreamed of was pointless. It seemed that Stolid and he had both reached this conclusion. They were not fit companions for each other – highly unlikely to produce a lightening of heart.

“Do I not trust him because my mind is broken or because he is not trustworthy? It’s an important question because if he could be trusted then I could suppress my fears and we could return to our state of apparent nirvana. I will never know though. So again that fatal combination of hope and disappointment stalks me.

“You know, if I knew it was all over and I was an unloved, single man again I could find a state of contentment although it might take a little time. If I knew that he could be trusted then I would be happy but I am stuck in the middle in a state of indecision which I don’t think can be resolved. Buoyed up by hope but weighed down by the fear of disappointment. I still love Johnathon but just don’t know why anymore.”

“Surely if anyone could, you could find out which it was?” Timonthy questioned remembering the way that Rael read his mind.

“I know I could,” Stolid hissed, “but I won’t. Vowing for sanity’s saked, when we first met that I would never read his mind. I can’t break a promise.”

“Perhaps Rael or Elena could do the job for you?” Timonthy suggested desperately. “They could just tell you the answer to your question. That would not be an intrusion.”

“What if the answer was the wrong one? I know I should be brave but I am a coward, clinging on to an uncertain hope, afraid to finally let it go, even as I pray to know …..” Stolid said, “I don’t expect you to solve my dilemma Timonthy, but it has been a relief to talk to you.”

Stolid looked out of the door at the unnatural white water, lying there like a bath of milk. Under his gaze a watery pale sun trickled through the white clouds and played on the calm surface highlighting the thousands of tiny ripples lying there like thoughts disturbing a calm mind.

“Do you remember when you offered me money to sleep with you?” Stolid said thoughtfully. “What would have happened if I had said yes?”

Timonthy looked embarrassed and said nothing. That had not been his finest hour but he had been running out of ideas to disentangle Johnathon from what seemed an almighty mess.

“Probably wouldn’t have ended well,” Stolid mused, “but it might have saved me from this current predicament. I might have stayed a lonely man but at least I would be a man not a whimpering fool.”

“You need to get away,” Timonthy said to cover up his discomfort. He was fairly sure that he was safe to advise this as it was what Damon Ich had done anyway.

“Go somewhere nice. Money is no object for you, is it? Find somewhere with sun and live healthily. Work out, keep fit and see if you can recover some sort of self-respect before you try and talk to Johnathon again.”

“I like the sound of that,” Damon Ich smiled. “It seems a good plan – and I can still be back by tea time. Thank-you Timonthy. I know I gave you very little choice but this has been helpful to me. I still don’t know what to do but at least all the thoughts aren’t buzzing around my head like flies. You probably won’t remember any of this when we get back. This place has that effect on the human mind.”

The storm was around him again so that he could barely hear himself think. “I can’t believe that Stolid has so little self control that he would let this happen,” Timonthy shouted with a frown. “Endangering people you said he wanted to protect: Paris, his own daughter, and his own brother, never mind everyone else.”

“No, I don’t understand it either,” Gerard shouted back. There was an ominous crack of land beneath them and a large portion of the level three steps below them fell away. “He wanted to protect you,” Gerard said loudly, as they stared at the devastation briefly before continuing their climb.

“Although he never told me what danger he thought you were in. I wonder if he foresaw this. Still, I have very few resources to protect you against danger this encompassing, although he did tell me to consciously think about telling him what was happening and he would come to our help if we needed it. This might be a good time to do that.”

Timonthy could tell that Gerard was concentrating. He had a distracted look on his face for a second and then as another segment of land fell away he regained his focus. He held out his hand as Timonthy almost lost his balance and grinned. He dragged him onto the next layer of land and they both stood for a second, holding hands until they suddenly dropped them in embarrassment.

Stolid was stood in front of them. He had a basket in his arms half-full of blueberries or currants and he was wearing a big straw hat which almost hid his face. He put the basket down and pushed the hat back from his face. He looked bewildered,

“What’s happening?”