|Twilight of Life (standard:other, 974 words)|
|Author: Andrew Dayton||Added: Nov 30 2012||Views/Reads: 1981/0||Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)|
|Contest entry dealing with someone sending a bottle out to sea in search of help.|
Twilight She could hear the buoy bell ringing in the distance but it was too dark to see anything beyond the receding foamy water. She shivered as the wind picked up, knowing a late-season Nor'easter would hit in the next few hours, and knowing this was her last chance. She raised her arm and threw the glass bottle into the darkness... Her eyes followed the bottle's flight and she thought back to the reason she was here. She felt a stab of fear. She felt this way often but this time knew it was a good thing. Alysse had been a young girl when she first vacationed at this section of the coast with her family. She had stood on this very cliff with her father and watched the waves crash against the rocky hillside. “Ali” her father would tell her , “Look at them waves smacking the rocks. Year after year they pound away and never make a bit of difference to the shoreline.” If he had been imparting a lesson it was lost on Alysse. If she had considered it she might have thought he was talking about futility but he never elaborated. It was pure coincidence that years later she would move into a house in this very town. She had met Jonas at college. He had lived in his family's old house alone since the passing of his parents just 2 years before they met. Alysse and Jonas had many things in common and their courtship was a slow steady thing that naturally directed itself toward marriage. They both read, liked the same movies and, of course, they drank together. They drank every night and on the weekends they drank and drank long past bedtime. After their first child was born Alysse slowed down her drinking for a while if only because the rigors of motherhood allowed little time for her indulgence with the bottle. After her second child was born she again slowed down for a couple of years but by then Jonas was working from home and was able to help her tend to the children and her drinking resumed its former headlong pace. She truly felt she was a good mother and a good wife. She could honestly say that drinking never interfered with her duties as a mother, in her relationship with her husband or in maintaining her friendships. Oh, she felt the occasional twinge when her children would include the nearly empty bottles in the liquor cabinet on the grocery list. Or when they would ask to visit a friend from school and hurriedly add that they could ask to spend the night so Alysse or Jonas wouldn't have to pick them up. Night time was when the drinking began in earnest and neither Alysse or Jonas would get behind the wheel after drinking. They were, she felt, responsible parents but nonetheless, her conscience would be pricked. Occasionally at these times Alysse would think about not drinking for the night. She would talk to Jonas about setting aside one night a week where they would not drink. Jonas would look uneasy at these times. Whether from a similar pang of conscience or simply because it was a change that he knew they couldn't sustain. But they never slowed down as a result.. Looking back she knew that their tempo of drinking would actually increase for a short while after these conversations. Her son had come out to visit last weekend with his wife and newborn daughter. Alysse was tickled to be a grandmother and to see her son hover over his little girl so attentively. Watching him and feeling so very proud, she nonetheless felt something heavy turn over inside of her. She knew her son didn't drink and that he would never regard his little girl with eyes veiled by bloodshot capillaries. The sound of her gurgles and chortles would never be muffled by a hangover. She had looked up and met Jonas's eyes and known he was feeling something similar. Later that afternoon Jonas had come to her and told her what she knew had been on his mind. That maybe it was time to stop drinking. She balked and refused the notion that anything was wrong with their drinking. This had been one of the rare fights in their marriage and that upset her more than anything. She had gone to the kitchen to pour a drink but stopped, bottle in hand. She got her coat on and without a word walked out into the late afternoon gloom. She found herself here on the cliff, bottle in hand but without the slightest desire to take a drink. She had been furious with Jonas and thought about the words they exchanged but something pierced her heart when she thought of her son and her granddaughter. She thought about missed opportunities in life and they way her son grew up never having taken a drink. There were no catastrophic moments to make her realize their lifestyle was in any way a bad example. But maybe, just maybe, she had robbed herself. Not by the bad things that happened as a result of drinking but of the good things that didn't happen. If she and Jonas, her sweet gentle husband, were alcoholics, well maybe it was time to stop. If alcoholism is a disease like some say, and if it is passed genetically, then they had won the great lottery in life that neither of their children drank. Maybe her granddaughter's visit would be their salvation, and thank God salvation, like heredity, can sometimes skip a generation. She heard Jonas walk up quietly behind her and felt him slip his hand into hers. She spoke aloud to her departed father, “The waves do wear down the rocks, Pa. It just happens too slow to see.” Tweet
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