The slowly melting ice clinked softly in the low rimmed glass as it was lifted to a pair of thin, rubicund lips. The dark golden liquid within lessened significantly with the long exaggerated swallow that ensued. He grunted faintly as the potent liquor burned gently all the way down to his core to settle in his midsection warming him from within, though he was not cold. He returned the glass to its condensation rim upon the polished, maple wood table and retrieved the slow burning cigarette from the residue crusted ashtray. The light moister from the whiskey glass on his finger tips soaked into the cigarette’s paper, normally this would have irritated him, but now he hardly noticed. He drew in deeply, the copper glowing ember intensifying brightly as he inhaled the toxic, yet savoury smoke. He held the smoke within himself for only a moment before releasing it in two bellowing streams from his flaring nostrils.
She had always disapproved of his drinking and had detested it when he smoked, but they were both things he had been too weak to refrain from for long. He had tried, for her, to give both up on several occasions, but could not. He use to tell her he was too set in his ways, she use to tell him it was because he did not really want to quit. He took another long hard drag off his cigarette almost feeling guilty for the satisfaction he received. He wondered if he had just tried harder, had he just been stronger, if he had been able to renounce his faulty habits, maybe she would still be here with him; maybe he would not be sitting here alone now.
He tried to take another drag off his cigarette but his hand now trembled horribly at the flooding guilt that assaulted him making it near impossible for him to place the cigarette in his mouth. The jarring movement caused the long stem of ash to fall from the tip of the cigarette to the paling grey linoleum where it nearly camouflaged with its surroundings. Had the errors been his all along? Had a positive outcome been in his grasp the entire time? Had it been purely his poor decisions that had led to the forlorn influences of this night? Several luminous tears cascaded down his unshaven cheeks, combating their way through the thick jungle of stubble only to fall from his firm jaw line and be consumed into his dusty jeans.
He gave up on his cigarette and reclaimed his emotionally compelling drink from the table. The ice clattered rhythmically with his palpating hand, he forced the smooth rim of the glass to his lips and finished its contents in an urgent swallow only to refill it again from the once full bottle that resided on the table and drank profoundly of its courage again.
His hands were still as death now as was his conscience, again. He may have been in the wrong at the onset, but the conclusion, the overwhelming guilt, the fanatical pain, the unanswerable turmoil should have rested upon her, not him… no, not him.
He stared down at the violent mess upon the floor, his resolve almost braking again, but a swift and aggressive drag off his fading cigarette solidifying intentions. He had come to confront her, to equalize the transgression between them. The sound of a melting ice cube slipping from its resting place to strike its lucid prison reminded him of his incessant thirst. He drank deeply, his aim off when he replaced the glass, missing the damp target it left behind. She had not wanted to listen, had yelled, thrown hard earned possessions, struck him, tried to leave even. It had not gone as he had prayed for, but as he knew it would, he had been prepared.
A biting sensation drifted his eyes from the disappointment sprawled across the linoleum, to his fingers holding the smouldering filter of his cigarette as it cruelly reminded him of its presents. He dropped it onto the floor, instinct almost insisting that he recover and discard it appropriately, but he ignored the impulse. His inebriated state made him forget about his fingers almost instantly.
He glanced up at the miniature grandfather clock that clung to the wall, it would not be much longer. He filled the remaining amber liquor into his glass spilling nearly as much as that which made it. He laid the empty bottle down across the table to signify its defeat, the personal metaphor was not lost on him even in his growing intoxicated condition.
The sound of the aged screen door being opened pulled him from his drifting scrutinises and his focus sharpened. The heavy set door opened wide, fresh night air flooded through the room, lessing the putrid sour smell that had consumed the house now. The floral patterned linen curtains shifted and wavered as the door was closed and the air current shifted almost unnaturally throughout the house. An uncanny energy rippled through the dead still house at the presence of someone new.
A loud audible gasp nearly echoed off the walls as the figure noticed the motionless form lolled out across the floor. With fearful yet urgent swiftness the bulky figure cleared the distance to the lifeless body, lurching ineptly on the crimson pool that had over taken most of the once clean, grey floor.
He watched the man fragilely embrace her flaccid head in his lap, his hands maladroitly touching her cold flesh in disconcerted nihilism. The un-resounding sound and flicker of a lighter pulled the man from his disorderly sobbing and audible contemplations. Their eyes locked intensely, bitter reality bowed its forlorn presence vividly now. A momentarily, deafening concussion rattle the windows leaving the house in an eerie tranquil state once more.
He took a long slow drag from his freshly lit cigarette enjoying the flavour and sensation more than he ever had before. He flicked the remaining smoke carelessly at the two scarlet splattered lovers and finished his drink in a single swallow before dropping the glass with equal negligence.
A final concussion rippled through the house.