Right around midnight, Peter’s mobile phone rang. They were both sound asleep and Peter, startled, got up and fetched his phone. It was the male nurse from the rehab center.
“I’m sorry to bother you at this hour Peter, but I thought I should tell you. We received someone drunk and wasted, who knocked on our door asking for our help, twenty minutes ago. The thing is he insisted, in his rumbling words, to talk to Stella… I told him there was no Stella here, but he said he wouldn’t leave before she sees him. He refused to give us his name…”
“Thank you Brandon, it’s good you called… what is he doing now. I presume he’s still there?” Peter asked.
“I gave him a pill to relax um… after giving him a stomach lavage. He’s sound asleep now. What should I do when he wakes up and starts asking for Stella again?”
“Please take a photo of him sleeping on his back and text it to me. I think I know who he is. When he’s about to wake up call me again and I’ll go down … Thanks.”
Peter briefed Stella, and they both agreed that it must be Marty. While talking, Peter received the photo and it was indeed Marty Chen. They both looked at one another and Stella said,
“How ironic, we were just talking about introducing him to your ex, Amy… He’s sleeping in the center that he gave us the money for. Poor Marty, we both thought he’d be sober by now. Let’s go down to see him.”
“Are you sure you want to come, given the past episode?”
“Yes, why not? I have nothing to fear and you’re with me.” At exactly Brandon called at six and said,
“He is beginning to wake up.”
“We’ll be there in thirty minutes. Try to keep him alert until we come. Tell him Stella is on her way, and give him coffee.”
They got out of bed, took a quick shower, got dressed and found a taxi to take them to the center. Stella entered the room and found him sitting on the side of the bed all dressed up.
“Hello Marty, long time no see! What a surprise? How are you feeling now?”
“I don’t know… I’m still not good-- um… am I?” He rambled.
“You’ll be alright soon don’t worry, you’re in a safe place now. This is my partner, Peter Donavan.”
“How did you know about this place, Marty?”
“What do you mean? ... You’re all over the news. You are famous…mmm-hum…” Marty stuttered.
“So what brings you here, you went wild again?” Stella asked.
“When I—I read and heard about what you—you did with… my money I—I went out for a drink to…to celebrate.” Marty said stuttering.
“Marty, I’m sure you’re happy to see that the money awarded to me did not go in my pocket, but was fully used to serve addicts in need. It was a good deed, but that is not the way to celebrate your gift by getting drunk, or doing drugs again.” Stella said, but was not sure Marty was paying attention.
“Are you two ma—married now?” Marty wanted to know.
“No we’re not… did you listen to what I just said?’ Stella asked.
“Will you—you invite me to—to your wedding?”
“If we do, yes we will… can you focus a bit now on our conversation? Drink some more coffee and concentrate. You got us up here this early because we care about your well being… so hear me out please!”
“Uh huh, you still love me… don’t you?” Marty asked.
“Marty, No… I stopped loving you like before, and I love Peter now, and we’re good together. You should be happy for me, as much as I would love to be happy for you when you put your act together… Don’t screw up your life with this stupid binge of drinking and drug abuse. Look at yourself in the mirror sometime… You are handsome, smart and a decent man. You deserve better, and someday you will attract a beautiful woman who would love you and take care of you. Are you listening or am I talking to a wall? Stella said enthused.
“I hear you… and I’m—I’m sorry to bother you again. I broke the law here… um … our agreement does not allow me to—to see you. What do I do now? Please tell me…” Marty said with misty eyes.
“Marty, you temporarily lost sight of who you are. It’s all right it happens to all of us at one point or the other. You’re not an addict! You’re just a confused soul right now. Peter and I can find a good psychotherapist who can help you kick out the demons from your mind. Are you willing to give it a try?”
“I’ll do whatever you—you say… sorry again… you’re a good man Peter… please take care of—of this amazing woman.” Marty demanded.
“I promise you I will Marty. In a bizarre way, we are grateful to you for making this humanitarian rehab center possible. But, you don’t belong here. Your visit remains highly confidential with us. Stella and I will call you on Monday and give you the name of the therapist you should see, OK?”
“OK… I promise. And I thank you both for your sweet love and care.”
Marty stood up and hugged Peter and said,
“I loved Stella a lot but now I love you both, as my new brother and sister.” Marty said and started crying tears of relief.
After few moments he felt better and Stella said,
“Marty, when I used to feel sad and desolate before, I always repeated the phrase, ‘change your thoughts and you change your life’. This mantra makes me grateful to live a new life. Try to repeat it to yourself all the time. I promise you your life will change for the better.”