In suburbia’s dream a house is slowly decaying. The lawn has turned to weed; the fence has seen better days and the neighbours don’t call any more.
A once proud woman is gone, replaced by a mistress that she cannot see, and a man whose shadow she once worshipped, has tortured her dreams for the last time. Love does not live here anymore, reality has become blurred and he clings to the belief that she will return.
As another night falls a light is seen behind dirty windows and a vase of dead flowers is illuminated as if to warn off the attentions of unwelcome visitors, for this is his kingdom, his miserable life, though the whiskey on his lips will tell a different story.
Inside there is a table in the kitchen covered with a history of neglect. Lipstick on an empty glass is the only reminder of what has been. The sporadic buzz of house flies hovering around a loaf of stale bread, which sits next to a crumpled margarine wrapper speckled black with the crumbs from yesterdays toast. Up above a moth casts shadows as it bounces off the hot bulb that will lead to its death. Below is a figure of a fallen man whose blood shot eyes reveal a story where he is the star and everyone else is the victim. His performance will be justified as the audience of empty bottles will agree; the sweet ecstasy of whiskey is his Oscar and his final performance.
The scene is set for act one as the whiskey brings out his thoughts and delusions which swing wildly with his mood, all symptoms of his addiction, but there is no one to tell him and the mirror who can tell no lies was smashed long ago. His reality is to chat with an empty chair, that chair where his wife shared her life with him, this handsome youth that she vowed to love forever.
And now it is our turn to listen, though we will always walk faster when a beggar or a drunk tries to get our attention and thank god that the doors of suburbia remain closed to things that might offend us or even worse lower the house prices, and so it begins.
“Women eh, always going on about nothing, I miss her smile. In my time, don’t you know? Young girls vied for my attention I was always posing, heartbreaker to women were I, could have had my pick, but no I gave her my heart as lovers do, even had the decency to marry her and this is how she repays me”.
“God, I will never see her smile again her voice is silent to me, stupid woman come back to me I forgive you, ah to hell with her. Inside I am a flower without rain, a musician without music, my love waits in a queue full of fools and whiskey bottles, ahh stop feeling sorry for yourself,
let’s have another drink, yes tomorrow will be better”.
The drink brings back his memory of their life together; he talks out loud as this is his only companion, which staves off the reality of the situation.
“I remember her lovely eyes, sitting on that chair, that damn chair. Drink Darling? my blossom of the night, a smooth talker me”. Tears start to run down his face,
” I broke her dreams, the vows that we took, the rose that I picked for her now petals on a stormy sea all betrayed by her, can’t a man have a drink now and then”, even as he spoke he knew it was a lie for drink was a demanding mistress.
“Ahh bugger it another drink, she won’t leave me, she’ll be back? Damn that empty chair and dam that ungrateful bitch. To bed, the morning will bring her back”.
The bottle sleeps and the sandman paints his illusions, dreams invulnerable to reality. The glow of dawn incinerates the shadows that played happy families in his drunken stupor, for these imposters cannot live in the real world. Their existence belongs to 40% proof fabricated in the monsoon of a drowning brain.
The safety of the bed would be a nice place to stay, but thirst makes him restless and sleep has caused his body to sober up and the fear of being alone plays on his mind. In stale sweat and unshaven face he returns to the kitchen table his fortress from the world outside.
“Cornflakes and barley wine, a man’s breakfast, that’ll do nicely”. He boils the kettle but there is no milk, his thirst is beckoning. The tremble in his fingers is searching for a drink, illusion fains surprise “I know another snifter”. His mind is awakened once again and another thought? Depression is released from the paws of his grey skin to thicken the air with feelings from the past.
“I can still see you sitting there, love has left this empty chair, but I know you can hear me; we made dreams come true in that chair and happiness were the cushions that we sat upon. Our future, oh what a future was planned here. Mind you that wallpaper she picked, I never did like it, but I loved her, Ah she’ll be back my little love dove”.
“Is it cold, or is it me? Everything is so quiet, speak to me chair”. The chair is silent like all inanimate objects, but delusion is rife.
“What got nothing to say, silly cow you won’t find better than me? “Take it all, I don’t care, there’s plenty who would have me, no woman can resist my charms”.
His words fall onto a silent table cloth, he picks up the empty glass his last connection to her and throws it onto the floor, it smashes and in his mind a demon has gone from his life.
” She never was good enough for me, I gave her everything, good riddance”, Ahh, another drink, and another fix has given renewed power to his illusion of being right and he draws comfort from this.
“You little beauty only you understand me, God should have made whiskey from Adam not a woman. All women were sent to torment us men, good one God! Ahh to hell with her, the bottle is my love now and the empty chair my sentence, that damned empty chair. Come Share a drink with me friend? Ah did I tell you, once I was a heartbreaker? And between you and me I still am”.
© Copyright 2016 steven cooke. All rights reserved.
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