He rattles with the whisky in between dreams and beyond. Continuity unbroken as he knocks back drams from the dawning chorus until the owl is in flight. In restless sleep his nightmares come. I do not catch a single wink myself for fear of him drowning in seas of his own vomit. He rambles incoherently in broken sentences while I gently shush him back into the land of nod. Alcohol engorged neural pathways fire spasmodic messages to his limbs. His fists clench; his legs kick. I am covered in accidental bruises, and here and there a wee cut or nick. His whisky scented sweat seeps into my pyjamas, lingering in our bed, our marriage, our lives. The ghostly deceiver has strummed out our background music for too long. I think that it is nearly time to give up the dance to this continual song.
Tomorrow’s poison sits upon the kitchen table, waiting for him to waken, if he is able. If it disappeared, would he remember that it was even there? Perhaps he would think that its heat had already warmed his belly. The clock ticks out into the silence of the room, as a plan forms in my mind. Do I dare, do I dare?
Out of bed I climb, and downstairs I go, avoiding the creaks with skill. I slip into the kitchen, closing the door. There the glass bottle glints in the moonlight, casting an array of kaleidoscopic, soft, warm, amber hues around the walls and the floor. I laugh contemptuously at its lulling attempt to lure me in with beauty and charm. My steps are too far ahead, as it tries to disarm. I already know the difference between the surface and deep layer language that it speaks. Beauty is not in the eye of this beholder. My approval is not what it seeks.
He is killing me with his love for the bottle. Its curve poised before me like a rival lover. She is always at the forefront of his thoughts. He listens to her every whisper, believes the lie that she dribbles into him. Gone with the whisky, she deserves her fate!
I place my hand upon the lid, craving a quietus of the pain, but am I too late? His taste buds have become as wild as his brain. I am inured to this scent that he finds to be so alluring. A stronger hit is needed now, so he sups on the expensive juice, concieved on the Scottish west coast. Unlike the blended versions, it gives a power packed punch, knocking him out cold after just a quarter bottle is drunk. I unscrew the cap, and the urgent, unique pungency of seaweed soaked peat enwraps me. My nose burns; my eyes water. How can he drink this stuff? If I replaced it with disinfectant, playing it off as some new island drink, would he even notice?
Draining this gold standard liquid, like it’s water, would be for his own good, the good of the family, our son and daughter. A deep carving betrayal at my hands, but the real cost is more. The price weighs down heavily on the unbearable lightness of my purse. We are suffering for his want of the single malt and its bewitching curse. I was twenty pounds short on the rent this month, the gas has been cut-off. I pray for this life to end before the winter comes creeping in. I have babies to love, nurture, feed, and keep warm. Last night I went without dinner, nothing to eat; his food ended up in the white ceramic bowl, where it frequently goes. It could have instead repleted my breast milk and lined my tummy, coating my bones with much needed meat.
On so many nights, I have stood barefoot at this very sink, deliberating the emptying of the bottle. I dream about a new life, my husband healed and returned to me. Who is the stranger, sleeping in our bed? For better, for worse; for richer, for poorer, I have tried, but I will try no more. Our babies are too young to play any fiddle, let alone second.
My heart is fluttering, in its rib formed cage. Will he stay when I have drained the whisky away? I wonder if I even care. The quickening of the heart tells me that maybe I do. I have travelled the road; I now stand at the fork. The future is held in my hand. Do I continue on this same path, or do I allow the disturbance of the Universal flow? Either way, pain will befall me. This wasteland life is not the one I want for my babies. We were not offered a choice, an alternative, just simply expected to follow. This life we now lead is so hollow.
At the window, my looking glass self reflects back at herself. How thin and lined I look, for a young woman in her twenties. I look past my reflection and out over the rolling, lolling hills that encapsulate our tiny lives. The sky is softening, the dawn arriving, daylight birthing outwards.
The clock face stares accusingly, the essence of time echoing in its beat. Overhead floorboards creak; he is awake. I glare at the clock for this betrayal. The decision is made, the bottle at full tilt above the sink. Its contents slosh into the metal bowl, splashing droplets back at me in savage survival. Ruler of my roost, no more. The deed is done, my marriage over. The remains whirl down the plug hold, the flow disappearing with a promise to return, leaving its stinking scent trailing behind. Oh how the perfume sickens me.