On the 25th april 2010 John closed the back cover on Dennis Cooper's "My Loose Thread" and with no word left and booked himself into a psychiatric hospital. Not knowing where his lover had disappeared to (at that time), Tristram Spencer locked himself in his South London apartment and began waiting. Four days later, still none the wiser of Johns whereabouts, he started an online journal titled "Waiting for John".
2nd May: Verity (friend to both Tristram and John) mails to say John is in a mental institution. Tristram is shocked and has no understanding as to why, but at least now his 'waiting' has some kind of purpose.
Whilst waiting for the return of his lover, Tristram Spencer passes his time counting, watching and imagining things. His hobbies include reading spam mail, old bus timetables and pharmaceutical inserts. Every Sunday he writes a 'Celebrity Suicide Note' addressed to John.
As his journal progresses we are introduced to a group of characters who have some importance in Tristram's life: Mother, Verity, Steve (aka princess Agipoki), Abigail Winthrope (Mrs), The Postman, Doctor Dennis, and The Flaming Chef. For company Tristram keeps a pet goldfish named Jaws. His other pet, an un-named green and yellow sea-slug, died only hours after arrival in the apartment. It was wrapped in cling film and buried in the window box. Later, a blue bottle fly also suffered the same fate.
As Tristram waits for news from or of John, a series of bizarre events, dreams and visions come his way. They seem significant and are noted down. Some things, equally (maybe more) significant, are not marked down.
Suffering from insomnia and stress Tristram visits his doctor and is put on a course of strong medication. These pills (diazepam) affect Tristrams clarity and do not always leave him as the most reliable witness to his own life. For the most part though, it is not noticeable he is on any kind of tranquillizer. Problems mainly arise when hen triple doses and washes them down with Bacardi.
After two months of waiting for John, Tristram finally receives news of his release. It seems John has recovered. Tristram swaps some dialogue with him and John agrees to come home. The date is set for the 15th June.
15th June: Tristram and Verity travel down to the Psychiatric Hospital to collect John. As the nurse goes to fetch him it is discovered that he is gone. A moulded plastic chair has been thrown through the asylum window and John has fled. Verity drives Tristram home. he is depressed and over medicated. Once home he proceeds to get utterly and stupendously drunk. That night he is brought out of his stupor by a knocking on the door. Tristram opens up to a familiar(ish) face.
The man Tristram finds on his doorstep looks like John, speaks like John, but is not quite him. He has bleached blond hair (John had black) and is in a wheelchair (John was not disabled). The paraplegic rides past Tristram into the house and turns into the kitchen. When Tristram wakes up in the morning the man is gone and there is no sign he was ever there. Whats worse, and more confusing, is that when Tristram phones the psychiatric hospital, they say John has been there all night. All Tristram has are very vague drunk memories. It is never clear if John did turn up in a wheelchair or if it was Tristram's imagination.
Because of Johns breakout, he is once again remanded into the care of the mental hospital. Tristram's wait begins again – though not for too much longer.
During that wait, Tristram occupies himself with plants. He buys 8 window boxes and various flowers to nurture. He is also excited about a local upcoming event, of which the details were posted through his door on a flyer. It is the Church Jumble and Tombola to be held on the 23rd of June.
On the 23rd Tristram goes along to the Church Tombola. He buys 16 tickets and dreams of scooping the first prize. Halfway through the vicar calling out the winning number, proceedings are interrupted by screams in the crowd. 150Ft up, wound like a bizarre work of art around the church steeple is a wheelchair. Tristram is paralyzed with fear. This event also remains a mystery.
Locked in his flat and scared for his life Tristrams existence becomes bleak. But then there is news of John. He is coming out and this time for real. John and Tristram speak and all seems fine. Love and obsession bubbles under the surface. Tristram accepts John back into his life.
The day before John is to return home the hospital calls with shocking news. John is paralysed from the waist down. Tristram is crushed. What's bizarre is that John is still coming home. Doctors say his paralysis is psychosomatic.
On the 5th July 2010 at 10:22am, John arrives home. He is in a wheelchair but seems mentally sound. Tristram settles for that and wheels John into the house. It's been a rotten saga, and its only just begun...
To find out more, rejoin WFJ from Part2 (post 66).