Sesame Seed: Chapter Nine.

by | Sep 2, 2023 | Uncategorized | 0 comments

The two men booked into the old George and Abbotsford Hotel and reconvened in the bar.

Tony looked out of the bay window and checked his watch again. Three fifty-eight, two minutes since the last time he looked. Seconds later, Alan’s red Porsche Cayman cruised into the street and pulled up at the door. He rushed downstairs, grabbed his bag, checked that he had everything, and closed the door behind him. Alan flicked the paddle on the steering wheel and eased the car away from the kerb, the flat-six groaning at the sedate pace.

“Tell me,” he said, shifting into second to placate the whining motor of the Porsche.

“Tell you what?” Tony replied, shuffling into the bucket seat.

“Have you forgotten? Somehow, I doubt it very much. I think there’s more to this trip than meets the eye. Am I right?” Alan was calm and forthright in his observations.

“As usual, you’ve nailed it, Alan. I don’t know what I was thinking. Perhaps I thought it would just go away.” Tony placed his hands together and pushed them between his thighs as Alan set the car on its way out of town, with a growl of the engine.

“Tell me,” Alan repeated in his neutral therapist’s voice.

“I’ve been invited to Qatar by my old colleague Demetrius.” Tony hesitated, closed his eyes, and waited for the inevitable.

“Yes, and there’s something else. Something you haven’t told me. Related to the trip, right?” There it was, exactly on cue. Tony’s invitation to elaborate. They joined the A1 and Alan dropped down a gear. The Porsche took off and Tony felt the thump of leather in both kidneys.

“It’s a woman mate. By pure coincidence, she’s in Doha. On the evening of our session in the Cat, I received a friend request on Facebook. She was responding to a comment I had put on the Murakami group.” Tony gasped at the acceleration of the car and his own admission.

“That’s good then,” Alan responded, changing up at ninety-five. He eased on the accelerator and the Porsche spluttered like a volley of rifles in a firing squad.

“Pardon?” Tony relaxed into the seat again in the absence of the G force of three-hundred-and-fifty horses.

“First of all, you already have something in common. Secondly, it’s on the other side of the world. All in all, I would say the perfect distraction.” Alan took the Porsche down to seventy-five, despite its protestations.

“So you’re saying go, see Dem, and arrange to meet this woman? Are you serious? I checked her age on her profile. She’s almost half mine,” Tony replied, settling into the seat and the more sedate speed.

“Listen, mate, age is just a number,” Alan said, turning briefly and smiling at his friend, eyes on the road.

“To be honest, it scares the life out of me. A foreign country with a different culture. Under normal circumstances, I would relish the opportunity but you know my state of mind, Alan.” Tony gazed out at the Northumberland countryside buzzing by.

“You’ll smash it Tony, especially after you hear what I have to say. I’ve been swatting up on BPD. It’s not my specialism and I know it’s closing the stable door and that but it will help you deal with things, I promise,” Alan said as the Porsche made the slow, winding climb to Carter Bar and the Scottish Border. Shortly after the crest of the hill, Alan took a left for Melrose.

They arrived in the beautiful town as the sun set over the distant Teviot Hills, refracting its winter rays through trees. Tony took in the familiar landmarks of this tiny triangular settlement that lay in the upper Tweed valley. There was a peace and calmness about the place that banished his constantly present troubled thoughts.

The two men booked into the old George and Abbotsford Hotel and reconvened in the bar. Alan ordered two pints of McEwan’s Red Ale and they settled in a cosy corner.

“I’m ready for this now, Alan, You don’t know what this has done for me coming up here,” Tony breathed sipping ale from the tall branded glass.

“ I believe you are, and of course I know,” Alan replied in that chilling, confident but caring tone.

“I’ve said this many times since that game in Newcastle but you are an inspiration,” Tony responded as the tears returned.

“You need to be strong for this Tony. In the long term, you’ll benefit but there will be some pain at first.” Alan took three large gulps from his own glass leaving it two-thirds full, “can we begin?”

“Yes please,” Tony said draining his glass to the same level as his friend.

“BPD or borderline personality disorder is, as it describes, a disorder of the mood. It affects the way a person interacts with others,” Alan began, with Tony’s full attention.

“I see. Is there something specific about that condition which differs from other disorders?” Tony had done some research, following his wife’s diagnosis but something else was pricking his interest now.

“Definitely. There are four main symptoms, determined by detailed tests. However, someone such as yourself, who has had first-hand experience would recognise all four.” Alan’s tone continued calm and reassuring.

Let me guess. Extremes of emotion, difficulty in relating to others, impulsive behaviour. What else?” Tony added confidently.

“Almost full marks mate. You’ve omitted only one trait. The way they think about or perceive events is irregular. A sort of paranoia, for want of a better word.” Alan smiled and closed his eyes.

“Perceptual and cognitive distortion,” Tony was on a roll.

“Haha. A dictionary diet? Or first-hand experience?” Alan chuckled but then composed himself, “I’m so sorry, Tony. Forgive me.”

“Listen Alan don’t apologise what you have done for me is nothing short of miraculous. When I look at where I was a few weeks ago compared to now it’s priceless,” Tony reassure the big man, who, for the first time, had lost his cool. 

“This is all down to you mate. If you weren’t perceptive and willing to learn, my job would be much harder.” Alan completed the second third of his pint in two huge gulps of his adam’s apple.

That feeling returned from the beginning of the conversation as Tony got the impression they were talking about someone other than his late wife. Both men drained their glasses and Tony got up to order refills

“Tony, let’s round this off now and continue tomorrow. I don’t want to overload you,” Alan leaned over his friend, “time for a couple of single malts to chase that fine Scottish ale.”

Obeying Alan’s command, Tony had the feeling that the evening would not end well, in the best possible way. He smiled inwardly and thought of Doha.

Chapter Ten

The room was unfamiliar. Dark, cold and forbidding. A tall church-like window provided scant illumination to his first waking seconds. What was familiar, a brace of pains, warm, glaring and inviting; welcomed him to the morning.

Scotland. The full Scottish, An antidote to all things alcohol. That would help him get through the day…


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