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/.