In Coffee N Chat Troy reached out to Martin who knew more than Troy realised. . .
After leaving Justin, I decided that I would go and visit Martin.
Knowing that he was feeling ‘under the weather’, I bought him some Chinese chicken, and sweetcorn soup. Plus, a portion of grilled chicken wings.
Standing outside his flat I hesitated for a second. Martin, depending on his mood, often had an air of doom and gloom about him.
He opened his door wearing a brown dressing gown that looked like a monk’s habit. We hugged, and after giving him the Chinese, he immediately turned on his heels, and headed for his small kitchen. Martin’s kitchen was so clean, that you could eat your chicken wings off the floor if you wanted.
Justin always said that Martin had some OCD condition around cleanliness. Later, we discovered that his spotlessly clean flat was due to Alina, his Romanian cleaner. Justin said that if he could afford a cleaner it would be a young male, forced to wear an apron, and nothing else.
While Martin set about preparing the food, I thought back to when he first introduced me to Alex. They worked at the same school, where Martin taught Information, communication, technology (ICT), and Alex, English and History.
The soup, and wings were now ready, and we took them on trays into the living room. Preparing food was a serious business for Martin, he’d hardly spoken more than a few words since I arrived.
Now, with the comfort of food in front of him, he smiled and said “good to see you”. “You too” I said “How you feeling?” “Not bad” he said wearily. “We live in interesting times, the worlds at a very delicate tipping point”
I thought that he was going to launch into a tirade about Donald Trump, but instead he put his hand on top of mine and said with a squeeze “I’m glad that you and Justin had a good talk. Friends should always be able to talk to each other. Once we lose that, we lose everything”.
I wondered why Justin, had been quick to phone him? But I didn’t have time to pursue the thought, because in between eating the chicken wings Martin started to reveal.
“Truth be known, me and Justin, felt a little jealous when you took up with Alex. The three of us have been so tight that it was weird having another person in the gang. It felt like you totally abandoned us.”
He paused to reach over for the bottle of hot pepper sauce.
“But, worse than that, when the relationship was over, you were even more lost to us”.
This reveal was like a crack of light in a darkened room. So, that’s how they felt? Things were starting to make a little more sense.
“Relationships are the biggest mirror we have” he continued. “They reflect back to us exactly what we need to see; in order to grow”.
Martin was very spiritual; his words could reach right inside my heart.
He gripped my hand again
“The essential point that I’m trying to bring forward is this. Love is available to us in many forms, instead of searching for soul mates, we should open ourselves up to the soul mates already in our lives”
I heard the words of wisdom but wasn’t quite sure what he was getting at?
“It’s time that you stopped hiding in this fog you’ve created”
“It’s not like I’ve been doing nothing”, I said in my defence. “I’m writing my book, and I’ve met other guys since Alex.”
He kind of laughed
“Is this funny to you?”, I said. The words came out sharper than I wanted
“None of this is funny” he said wiping his mouth with a napkin
“I promised Alex, that I wouldn’t tell you this. But the night you split up, he came to see me, and told me everything”
“I know the whole story, and it’s been interesting watching you go into denial about what really happened”
I felt quite numb, and looked down into my soup
“T, you know that I love you like cooked food. But you’ve got everything twisted. Alex would never have done what he did, if he didn’t love you”