I lie on a chair, slipping and sliding occasionally and losing my balance, like a cocoon of silk on satin sheets. I knocked my whisky down by accident, and the golden medicine spilled on the wood planked floor, glittering under the pinching yellow light that grew obliquely in the rather dark hallway.
Your wife’s death is a good reason to drink. Jenny won’t mind, I soothed my prickly conscious. I picked the vial of rat poison from the side table, and rotated the bottle in my hand. “It’d be painless.” I told myself.
After serving 7 years in the prison, and a consequent period of chronic alcoholism, when Jenny showed up in my life, and introduced me to her simple world, free from the brutality that laces the life of a gangster, I found the figurative shade I happened to need all my life.
She never did change the person I was and am – she accepted the drinking, the bouts of anger, my selfish insensitivity and heartlessness – but she helped me discover who I am, and that perception dismissed all of this and everything else that I knew about myself as wrong and facetious. She gave me stability, and almost effortlessly became an extension of my individuality. “And whenever your vial of new beginnings goes dry, I will pour you a new drink,” she had vowed.
“You have had enough for the night,” a familiar voice iterated from the hallway, clear and patient. I was too drunk to see who it was. Everything before my eyes was a blur. The house was quiet, and the clock was clueless. A misty, shadowy figure stood before me, looking like an out-of-focus photograph.
I tried raising my head to see who my guest was. But I had too much alcohol in me to shake a hair. I lay back down and smirked. I was too tired to talk. Exhausted, and hopeless, I couldn’t see the point in life anymore. Nothing had changed even one whole year after the daunting funeral; my life oscillated on the verge of apocalypse.
For reasons unknown, I asked her, “Do you know what is behind that door?” I pointed lazily towards the door of my house. A drunken man talks in many riddles when blotto. There hasn’t been a single day that I haven’t wondered why I asked that question of many things.
“You mean outside it?” came the reply. “No. I, I’ll tell you…there is a big world that does not care about a soulless man like me.” I spat.
“You haven’t left this house since almost a year. The idea that there exists a world outside of here is a good way to start.”
“Ah! What if there isn’t? What if it died too with Jenny? Crippled?” I cussed. “There is only one way to find out.” I could sense the shadow move closer to me. Strangely so, its breath on mine smelt of roses like Jenny’s, something sank at the pit of my stomach.
“Open it.” She whispered.
My eyes sparked open.
That night, a shadow robbed me of my inebriety, and it was perhaps, a gust of wind, which broke my vial of poison. I remember staring at the door, and for the first time in ages, giving opening it a metamorphic thought – a thought that held the unrepressed capacity to help me give life another chance.