Evicting Mr Merlot

As she walked past the cupboard under the sink, she heard his muffled call. Clear to her, yet imperceptible to others. Laura opened the cupboard and obediently pulled out the bottle. Her brain registered satisfaction as the cork popped and the velvet red remedy tumbled into the stemmed glass.

Mr Merlot – as she had baptised him in a heated, one-sided argument with the wine bottle one evening – had been her companion since Vincent stormed out in anger, dragging Emily in his wake and leaving her in a terrifying silence. Her friends had long since fled, leaving her with two-faced Mr Merlot: her best friend, and her worst enemy. He anesthetized her pain and gently creaked open the flood gates retaining her sadness. He was like her; he hated to be alone, and refused to return to the cupboard until he was spent. So she gratefully drank up his company, right down to the bottom of his bottle-green soul.

Laura winced as she remembered Emily’s hot, tearful face against hers, the day Vince had left. But the judge had ruled that she wouldn’t get her daughter back until Mr Merlot disappeared from her life. She pulled the doctor’s card out of her pocket and inspected it as she sipped at her glass. It was battered at the corners, just like her.

Raising her glass to the kitchen, she silently admitted that she was dependent on the bottle – just like she had been dependent on Vince before he left her. When Laura had stepped off the well-worn rungs of the medical career ladder on to the homemaker’s wheel, she had never intended to stay there for long. She surfaced fifteen years later, and looked up through her domestic haze to see her husband teetering at the summit of his career.

He became increasingly distant until that fateful evening. She had fled to the garage, opened a bottle and methodically drained it in an attempt to forget his words.

“Take a good look at your life,” he had bellowed, glaring at her across the dinner table. His fork remained suspended in mid-air as his eyes locked on hers. « You’re useless, woman!”

She had merely offered up a wry smile in response, telling him: “If you wanted something useful, you should have married a Swiss knife.”  Karma promptly bit her on the backside – he fell in lust with a young medical student from Zürich with DD cup appendages, legs up to her armpits, a Ph.D and a tubal ligation.

Laura was startled out of her thoughts by a movement in the hall, then realised that it was her own reflection in the mirror. She put down her glass and approached with a combination of curiosity and fear – when was the last time she had looked in a mirror? She had avoided looking herself in the eye for too long. Her hesitant fingers traced the length of her cheekbones, then slid her hair neatly behind her ears. The mother in the mirror was tired, but not beaten yet. Deep in her mirror image’s green eyes, she saw life. And her daughter.

A sudden wave of resolve carried her back into the kitchen. Flinging open the kitchen cupboard, she opened and emptied the bottles. “I’m not useless,” she calmly informed the last bottle. “Goodbye, Mr Merlot.” She laughed out loud as the blood-red wine gurgled down the drain, then pulled the card out of her pocket and strode purposefully towards the phone.

Photo credit:  dontshoot.me!

 Note to my regular readers: I have signed up to “Tipsy Lit” in the hope of widening my writing horizons, meeting more bloggers and testing my limits in writing fiction. This post is  my first contribution. My choice of topic is unfortunate given the title of the blog, but it’s what came to mind when I read the challenge… Find the prompt and more entries at http://tipsylit.com/.

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46 thoughts on “Evicting Mr Merlot

    • Ta muchly, PN. (MM blushes and hides in pile of ironing.) I’m writing, slowly but surely, and it may just grow up to be a novel one day. Maybe. Did you see the follow-up for the onsesies? Barbed words (and not “barded wire”, as I initially typed, oops) says that the Italian H&M stock them. We will have a whip-round for Mrs Sensible 🙂

  1. I like this, not because of any surprises, but because of the very straightforwardness of it. The title tells you what to expect from the story, but doesn’t hint at the descriptive richness, which somehow you’ve managed with admirable simplicity. Well done. I’d best look to my laurels.

    • Cheers, chuckle butty 🙂 I wouldn’t go as far as saying I’ll make it into a career; I just write for the pleasure, and if one day I make in into print I’ll be happy, but if I don’t, I will too 🙂

      • It’s sooo carthartic for us struggling writers, or some such rubbish. Yes, I enjoy the process too. And I’m hoping that by straining my brain by writing that I’m replacing some of the neural pathways I’ve destroyed with Mr. Merlot and his friends. I hope that doesn’t make me sound like an alchie. I’m really not.

      • Don’t be daft. I don’t think you’d last long without barfing in the RV if you drank gallons every night 🙂 I reckon that straining your brain by writing is a great remedy to life, with or without a glass of red – and sharing what you write is great for we nosy ratbags as well.

  2. You really do have a marked gift for short story writing, MM. This is simple but memorable and I’d love to have a copy of that book one day. 🙂

    • thanks, Miss P! I will let you know when the book is finished, but it won’t be any time soon so in the meantime follow my drivel on the blog. Hope you are ok -Mr Google told me I couldn’t access your blog the last time I tried, so I’m going to try again. Feedburner must have been burnt out. Hugs x

    • Thank you! (MM hops around kitchen clutching her glass of wine. oops.) How are you and the Munchkin? Have you recovered from the Great Cherry Tree Planting? I love reading up on your life in Serbia, it is a real adventure for me. I’m curious to know what vocabulary the Munchkin is using- English or Serbian? Does she have a preference? Does Serbian get more airtime because she has more contact with it? Sorry for all the questions, but I’m curious; my kids always prefer French, because “you’re the only one who speaks English”.

      • She has a mixed bag of Serbian and English. Last week Baba stayed with us after she broke her arm and I think the little one picked up three new words in Serbian. If I talked as much as Baba, I am sure the Munchkin would have a much larger vocabulary. 😉

        M is with me most of the time, I speak to her in English and in Serbian. She understands everything and is starting to speak more and copy us a lot now. She seems to pick the easiest word in either language. It is really mixed. Even her expressions are mixed. Opa. aouw a (cuddling lovey expression), and yow (which is like OMG!) are Serbian Weeee, uh oh, yeah are English.

        When she starts preschool, I am sure she will lean harder to the Serbian side. I am not sure when that will be though. I can’t see sending her off when I don’t have a job.

        Plus I would rather she be able to tell me what is going on at school before I send her. Any advice on any topic is welcome. You have been there, and done that. 🙂

        Good luck with the writing, But I don’t think you need it! 🙂

      • Wow. Kids are so clever. Bigfoot’s first word was “fish”, because it was shorter than “poisson”. then he continued to speak French and make me look stupid as I spoke to him in English 🙂 Has Baba got the use of her arm back now? I like Yow, I’ll be using that in the village to confuse the locals. How old is M? Pre-school can wait a while, unless you’re both ready. They grow up way too quickly. And my second and third children demanded to go to school before I was ready – they wanted to copy their big bro. You very much have to follow their lead, in fact -did you see the turtle dad in Nemo? “When they know, you know, you know?”

  3. You’ve done such a wonderful job capturing the thoughts with such descriptive detail. I really liked how you brought her to the moment of decision.

  4. Loved the bit about karma biting her on the backside with the arrival of the Swiss hottie. Really well written piece, you’re very talented! Now I’m heading over to TipsyLit to check it out!

  5. Fantastic piece of writing MM! Loved it! You have such a wonderful way with words, I love the way you write, whether it be serious of not (though I’m glad you added some of your wonderful humour in there too!) So looking forward to reading that novel, you can put a signed copy aside for me as soon as it’s born! 😀

  6. Hey, I KNOW Mr. Merlot! How weird is that?

    All joking aside (wasn’t actually joking, but anyhooooo …..), this is one gorgeous piece of writing. You should submit this to a magazine for publishing; just lovely.

  7. great writing (not surprising, having read many pieces in your blog before) good luck with the new venture and new interests. Your are really multi-talented, MM (writer, mother, friend, expat and playmobil choreographer…)

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