There I was, hooked to this guy who I felt certain I could help. I wanted to help him. I knew that deep down inside, Bobby was a good person. It was his rough upbringing that was holding him back from living his true potential.
His dysfunctional family of origin made mine look like the most supportive and loving family on the planet. Originally from Oregon, Bobby had not been home to see his mother in years. His dad was a total deadbeat and Bobby had just met his half brother who he didn't even know existed. I didn't know that sometimes, when a person is drowning and you hold out your hand to help, instead of saving them, they bring you down too.
Back then, I didn't feel that helping Bobby was actually putting me in danger but in no time I did feel completely drained by his drama and heartache. Pain or not, that didn't change the fact that while I was going to work holding down a full time job, Bobby stayed home and got trashed on drugs and alcohol. His behavior was totally erratic. I never knew who would greet me when I opened my door.
“Welcome to the Eddie Show starring Eddie!” Bobby’s voice boomed from behind a makeshift curtain as I entered my tiny flat after a long day at the office. The curtain was really just a couple of sheets held up on a rope tied across my living room. Bobby was hiding behind the sheets, his dummy, the one he didn't know how to use properly, was perched on his left hand, front and center. I was not a happy camper at that moment. I had been looking forward to coming home, sitting back and relaxing but when I saw the spectacle in front of me, I knew that wasn't going to happen any time soon. Instead, Bobby had a puppet show in store for me. This wasn't any puppet show. Bobby had a second character in his act. He had drawn a face on a plain old dirty sock and placed that over his other hand. I could tell he was drunk (as usual) because he was slurring his words.
“Look, this is Eddie’s dog,” he said as the sock puppet and Eddie collided in front of the so called curtain. “His dog is named Blondie too!” He fell back in hysterics, the curtain dropping on top of him, covering Bobby, Eddie and the Blondie sock puppet. It was all I could do to help him get untangled from the complete mess he had created.
"That's some show," I commented.
"The show must go on...." Bobby replied trying in vain to get his ventriloquist dummy to work. He tried to stand but fell down, laughing in hysterics. I felt like crying.
"How about some coffee, Eddie," I asked.
"Eddie's not old enough for coffee," Bobby answered. "It'll stunt his growth." At that moment I knew being with Bobby was stunting my growth. But how would I get him to take Eddie and move on?