Drowning. Short Story.

Chris sat at the table, drink in hand. He looked up, it was getting dark, he should turn on the lights. He took a sip of his drink, what did it matter? Wasn’t like anyone else was going to walk in on him drinking in the dark. He took another mouthful then topped off his glass. Melissa had left the day before, the kids had left this morning. None of them were coming back, Chris knew that now. All day he fought with his thoughts, trying to convince himself they would return but as the day went on, as it turned to night, he knew. He didn’t know what the kids went, probably to his mothers, god only knew where Melissa had gone, probably to go fuck one of her boyfriends. He took another drink. That had been a pleasant revelation the night before. She had come home, already a few cocktails deep and had gotten pissy when he refused to get her a bottle of wine. It was probably the first time in their marriage that he had actually heard her scream. She was always so soft spoken. Guess the façade finally slipped. She had drank some more, yelled and screamed about him, about the kids, about all the men who apparently were bigger and better than him in bed, then she stormed out of the house, wine bottle in hand.

He didn’t blame the kids for leaving. He had tried to keep Melissa somewhat quiet, but she just wouldn’t keep it down. They were old enough to understand it all. Mary probably decided they should leave, she always was the more forceful of the two. He knew he should care about where they were, but he just couldn’t bring himself to. The alcohol was numbing everything and that was the main thing. Was it selfish? Maybe, but it was the only solution he could think of. At least the only one that didn’t involve a gun.

It had frightened him, how easy it seemed. Find a gun, find her, find whatever guy she was fucking. Three bullets, that’s all he would need. Then everyone would know, everyone would see. And after all, it would be a kindness to her, she’d die doing what she loved. He snorted into his drink, the snort turning into a sob. His phone was in pieces on the floor, he had smashed it earlier, when some more texts came in. Pictures this time. He didn’t know why she was being so cruel, so vindictive. She was no longer the woman he married, no longer his wife. Something about her had changed. He didn’t know why, he didn’t really care. Nothing would excuse it. If it turned out to be an illness or a tumour, he still wouldn’t forgive her. How could he? After everything she had said, everything she had done.

The phone was ringing, it seemed like it had been for hours. It would just ring and ring and ring. He sighed and stood, pausing for a second to regain his balance, he made his way over to the phone, gently resting his hand against the wall every now and then for support.

“Jesus Chris, where the hell have you been, I’ve been calling you all day.”
“Sorry my phone’s broke.”
“Well, the kids are here, came over this morning. Said you and Melissa had a fight. What the hell is going on with you two? I haven’t heard from either of you all day, did you not even wonder where my grandchildren were?”
“I figured they’d go to you and I was right. I don’t see what the big deal is.”
“…Have you been drinking?”
“Maybe one or two.”
“Christ. You remember uncle Tommy, Chris? I’m not going through that again. The kids aren’t leaving here until you sober up.”
“I’m not that drunk, I’m really not. It’s not a big deal, I’ll be around in half an hour to pick them up.”
“That you’d even suggest driving right now goes to show how drunk you really are. You turn up here in a car, at all for that matter and…I’m…I’m going to call the police.”
“Jesus, on your own son? Some mother you are.”
“To protect you. Sober up, then you can come over but not a moment before, ok? I love you, I’m-”

Chris slammed the phone down. What did she know anyway? She just wanted to keep his kids from him. Selfish bitch. Why would he even want to go to her anyway, they’d just bring him down. He stumbled back to the table and emptied his glass. He went to refill it, then took a glug out of the bottle. Fuck it. He was an alcoholic now apparently, might as well act like one.

He made his way through the house, with plenty of bangs and curses, but the bottle of booze survived and that was the important thing. He turned on the lights haphazardly as he went creating a gauntlet of spotlights and shadows. Melissa was the one that wanted that lighting. He wanted soft lighting, ambient. He had just wanted her to be happy, so he agreed to what ever damn lights she wanted. He always agreed with Melissa, she always got her way, one way or another.

He collapsed onto the couch, he was feeling tired, but there was no way in hell he was going to sleep in that bed. God only knew how many men had fucked her on it. He cradled the bottle, taking sullen swings every now and then as he dozed off. Tomorrow he would do something about it all, but that was tomorrow, for now, now he would wallow. He earned that right, didn’t he? After all he had gone through in the last twenty four hours he deserved a little me time and he would take it. Everyone else could fuck off, they didn’t know what it was like, they didn’t understand how it felt to have their wife mock everything about them, to be compared to God knew how many other guys. Tomorrow he would deal with all that bullshit, but that was tomorrow and it was still today. He took another swing and looked at the bottle, almost empty. Huh. He drained the rest and gently set the bottle down on the table. He glanced towards the kitchen, it wasn’t that far and he wasn’t that comfortable, besides, he needed a piss anyway. He stood and stumbled to the bathroom, after relieving himself he went into the kitchen, grabbed another bottle and settled in on the couch.


About Alan James Keogh

I am a 26 year old writer who somehow tricked U.C.D. into giving me not only a degree in English and Classical studies, but an Hons Masters in Creative Writing too. Visit my blog where I post short stories twice a week (Monday and Wednesday) and an installment of a serialised novel on Fridays. I did consider writing this in the third person, as though it was written by someone else, but Alan is not comfortable writing in the third person as it seems kinda creepy and unbalanced so Alan decided it was probably best to write in the first person. He hopes it went well for him.
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