by Alex Thornber
“Take me?” she said at last. “Take me as I am?”
I stayed silent, looking like I was thinking about this whole thing. But I didn’t really need to think.
“As you are, now, is one thing” I said. “But, why do you have to drink so much?”
She looked at me hard in the face, as if it was some outrageous accusation. I could see the remains of last night’s drinks and this morning’s tears in her eyes. Little red capillaries like lightning bolts shooting out from her pupils.
“’Have to’ is a little strong. I don’t drink that much.” She said, stepping into my personal space. She took my hands, placed them on her hips and smiled. I took a step back so I could see her face. She could promise anything as long as she didn’t have to look at me. I’d learnt that much from experience.
“Will you at least try to stop drinking, for me?”
“I’d do anything for you.”
“You know I love you Josie, I just can’t handle this all the ti—“
“I know, I know. And you shouldn’t have too. I’m sorry.”
She took my hands in hers. They were cold. I kissed her on the nose and said,
“I love you.”
“Go on upstairs.” she said, turning away. “Put on a DVD or something, I’m just going to wash my face.”
She was shifting on her feet and blinking. I said okay and walked halfway up the stairs before coming back down; another little trick I had made use of through all this. I went into the kitchen and there she was, taking a long draw from a bottle of gin. She had her back to me but I could see it working, settling her on her feet. She started to screw the cap back on, but removed it again for one more sip.
“Josie.” I said.
She jumped and dropped the bottle. It smashed on the floor. Cut pieces of emerald glass made islands in the poison. She walked passed me and then hugged me from behind.
“It was my last sip,” she said softly in my ear. “I promise.”