No matter how much you fight with your family you always have an innate love for them burning inside of you that cannot be put out. I guess only in extreme cases does the love truly disappear. This is not the same for friends, as I’ve recently come to realize.
At the beginning of last year, I moved back into my parent’s house after years of horrendous fights and horrible thoughts. Despite what anyone has done, said or thought, once the house was swinging again and I was settled in we had started to get on better than ever. Since moving back in, I’ve tried to make more of an effort to spend time with them and there have been times I’ve thought I was one of the luckiest people in the world to have them. Regrets at times plague me and I spend hours in an introspective haze wondering how things got the way they did, and, of course, there are also those times where you feel betrayed and hurt. I’m sure many people have thought the same, and what does that say about the current state of human consciousness?
After moving back into my old town, I came in contact with a number of old friends, one was Tom. Tom had always been an asshole (immature, shallow, ego-driven and selfish) but I’d known him since I was eight and at points, growing up in our teenage years we were inseparable. I’d started to spend time with him again after about two years of not talking but something had changed. Tom had become a full blown stoner. We were now in our mid-twenties but he’d probably bought as much as one joint from me in all the time I’d known him. Now, don’t get me wrong, he’d smoked plenty of herbs, he just never bought any and never knew or could be bothered learning simply how to roll. I was always the guy with the weed on him, I despised hearing the classic sentence, ‘I smoke weed but I don’t pay for it’, as there are far too many freeloaders and scroungers in the drug world. I was never going to be without my magnificent buds, and I was rightfully greedy with them but Tom was an exception. I never begrudged him a smoke, we were with each other constantly anyway, and he was my best friend and I loved him. It became a running joke that Tom was going take me on holiday one week to pay me back for the weed I had so kindly given him. Unsurprisingly, once we hit our early twenties, we made our own friends and stopped spending so much time together. He’d come round for a smoke every second month. I’ve always struggled with jobs, money, and life so I was surprised that Tom wouldn’t even bring round a bottle of wine or a pay for a takeaway on these nights even once he’d started working full time. I was lonely, in need of company and depressed, so I foolishly kept him stoned when he cared enough to contact and accompany me. There were even a few times he’d asked for me to roll him a number of joints for him to take to festivals and the like. I was a happy-hippy stoner, I didn’t care nor think about it, money is bullshit anyway and I was always, and I mean always, fucking stoned.
So, after moving back into my folk’s house I start seeing Tom more and more. At first, it’s great to catch up with an old friend, to talk about old times over a joint and a good coffee. It was good to see Tom grown up and with his own supply but he never smoked more than one joint with me at a time. He would come round to my house with a pre-roll and that’s all he ever brought, he’d happily smoke joint after joint and I was blind enough to roll them. I wasn’t sure how much Tom was buying and I was almost positive he never even understood the word etiquette. I put it down to the fact that I smoked much more than he did, and it was my choice to share. Though I truly believe you should live life for the day, as experience has taught me you really don’t know what is round the bastard corner in this life. It didn’t take me long to figure out that Tom’s greediness hadn’t left him, the weed, the indie movies, the comedians, the punk bands and the Joe Rogan podcast he constantly listened to hadn’t made much of a difference. He would listen to Joe Rogan’s delightfully positive life-advice, then smoke a joint out his window on his way to McDonald’s and throw the wrappers out the window on his way home whilst engaging in extreme road rage. On one occasion he invited me round for ‘a smoke’ one night, out of boredom I took him up on the offer. When I got there it was obvious that he’d just invited me round for extra smoke but, as a protest, I had left my herb at home. If I totaled up how much smoke I’d given him over the years, the amount could last for months. I got to his house, made polite conversation until he inevitably asked about weed and how much I had. I could see he wasn’t happy when I told him I forgot to bring any, he continued to make jokes about how he would be supplying me for the night and everything that comes with an egotistical, greedy and selfish personality. I was dumbfounded by the fact he had the audacity to complain and it was hard to tell if he was joking or not. That night he rolled one measly joint, we smoked it outside, came back inside and watched one of those childish stoner movies we’ve all grown up watching. It was clear after the joint was finished Tom wanted me gone as he sat there shoving a third packet of crisps into his mouth, not making conversation and watching the movie that he’d seen about fifty times like he’d never seen a television before. He was rude, passive aggressive and graceless. I knew the score, I’d been there before, he was waiting for me to leave so he could enjoy his night in peace, and that’s fair enough, but his sleazy attitude towards his so-called friends was disgusting. I couldn’t believe that this person was still, in his mid-twenties, trying to use another person for his own selfish gain. I sat there feeling unwanted and wondered if this was the only reason I’d ever been friends with Tom, to provide him with cannabis. To me, it was never a big deal, we could have enjoyed a bottle of wine instead, I was simply grateful for his friendship. Nothing had changed in all these years, I felt like I was Sixteen again, so I left, walked home in the rain and tried to forget about it, putting it down to him maybe being stressed out at work or something.
I left it a few weeks, we’d spoken a few times since that night but it wasn’t like Tom was ever going to notice how strange his behavior was as he’d always been the same. One quiet Sunday, I was bored waiting for my friend, Stacey, to arrive home from Morocco (her flight had been delayed five hours). My usual herb supplier was also on holiday and I’d run out so I texted Tom and asked if he’d return two-hundred favors and pick me up an eighth to pass the day. The reply I got astonished me and still does to this day, “No! I’m not a fucking drug dealer!” As I read the text I was fueled with rage. I also wasn’t a ‘drug dealer’ but that hadn’t stopped me from sorting him out how many ever hundreds of times. I couldn’t believe he would use a drug law, that he broke every day, against me and in his own favor. I was in shock, I wrote out a long and angry reply but never send it to avoid confrontation. Stacey had arrived back in town so I made my way up to her house. On the way, I received a phone call from Scott, an old school friend. He explained to me that Tom had been in the pub, half drunk and bragging about how much smoke he could get from me. Claiming that because I smoke so much, it was easy for him to come round to my house when it pleased him, load his head up with skunk and then there would be no need for him to smoke his own once he got home as he was already completed stoned. Another important part of this story is, Tom bought his cannabis from his younger brother at the time, and his brother lived, literally, round the corner from me, and Tom lived about two streets away from him. I never knew you had to look out for vultures like him, and considering I’d known the bastard for about sixteen years. All the years I happily supplied him and he couldn’t even take five-minutes out of his day to help out an old friend. I never replied, I merely blocked him and decided not to bother with someone so selfish again. I got off the phone to Scott and thanked God for a friend like Stacey, a true friend, and cursed God at the same time for this horrible friendship-life-lesson. I walked into Stacey’s lovely house, we embraced each other and by this time it was approaching midnight. We took ourselves into Stacey’s living room put on some Jazz, shared a knitted blanket and a joint she’d lit up to keep ourselves warm, and conversation plus joints flowed for the next four hours. I sat on Stacey’s sofa surrounded by presents she’d brought back from Morocco for me, thinking about friendship and what it really meant, and then what it meant to other people. My only advice, the only thing I can take from the Tom-experience is: you’ll know true friendship when you have it, and be very careful who you share your weed with.
Originally published in Weed World Magazine issue 130
Image – Pixabay