A tale to chill the heart.
Terry and Jane lived in the basement on the other side of the house. We got to know them quite well and became friends. Jane had four children whom she had left to live with Terry who was twenty years old and ten years her junior.
Terry drove a fort-lift truck in a warehouse and Jane was a nurse.
Terry would get paid on Friday night. On the way home he would stop by the Off-licence and buy his booze. There was an eight pint pipkin of bitter, a bottle of scotch-mac, two bottles of wine, a half bottle of whisky and some other assorted bottles of beer. He would then sit in his armchair with the TV on and drink his way through it.
Around midnight I’d get a call from Jane. It took the form of four rings on the doorbell. Dave would have passed out and she’d need a hand getting him to bed. He was a big guy.
I always put him on his side.
When he was drunk he would sometimes get violent. I think he used to knock Jane about sometimes if she remonstrated with him. On one occasion the TV was out the front with a TV sized hole through the window. These were the days before flat-screens. It was a big, heavy device.
That was strange because Terry was a very affable character who would do anything for you, a bit of a gentle giant with a ready smile and easy-going nature.
I later found out what was behind it all.
When he was fourteen years old he had returned from school with his younger brother. They had called for their mum and gone around the house. She was normally there for them.
They had found her in the bath. She had taken a bottle of sleeping pills and slit her wrists.
Terry ran away from home and lived rough for years. His brother was institutionalised and had never recovered. Terry had flashbacks. Jane had helped him settle his life. He had a relationship, a job and a place to live. He drank and he smoked a lot of spliff but he coped.
There’s a story behind everything isn’t there? Most human behaviour has a reason.