The Gift of Clarity

From time out of mind, Marjorie had led the fight for an alcohol-free county. It seemed like her entire life had centered around the ‘sins’ of alcohol and drugs. The ‘bad people’ and the ‘good people’ were all that mattered. It didn’t matter what you did with your life, as her daddy had always said, “Don’t let yourself fall in with the devil’s crowd, Marjorie. You’ll spend the rest of eternity burning in the fires of hell.”

And Marjorie had done her best. Not only had she fought for an alcohol free county, but she’d done her best to raise her own children up to be god fearing, teetotallers. They were all three ‘good’ kids. They never got in a lick of trouble, not under her watch.

Her husband, he was a different story. He seemed to get caught in the sticky web of sin far too often and Marjorie had spent so much time on her knees in prayer for his soul that sometimes she thought she might be stuck there forever.

She’d forgiven him his failings time and time again. The other women, the gambling away all of their savings, the bruises he’d left on her fair skin. She’s forgiven it all, until he stopped caring. He no longer seemed to care if she was disappointed. He was no longer even trying. Ever since the kids moved out, he brought his liquor home with him. He even had the nerve to leave it out in the open.

Marjorie was devastated, to say the least. Embarrassed that she had let her husband fall so far down into sin, she prayed harder and longer.

Until the morning that she stopped. She had been sitting at the kitchen table, drinking her coffee, wondering where her husband was. He hadn’t come home in two days. Again. It wasn’t even strange anymore.

Marjorie knew where he was. He was at Suzanne’s place down the road.

The last time she’d seen him, he’d been drunk, stumbling around, telling her to buzz off. “Fly away now” he’d yelled, shoving her so hard she’d slammed her head against the wall, “Buzz off!” he’d screamed and then he’d laughed so hysterically that he’d nearly fallen on his ass right there in front of her.

‘Because what does that word mean then, fly?’ she thought, staring at the half empty bottles strewn about the table.
She picked one up and tipped it to and fro, watching the dark liquid inside. Wondering what kind of magic it held that it could so utterly destroy her life, even though she’d avoided it through everything.

The longer she stared, the more her mind wandered. She found the sloshing liquid mesmerizing, making waves as she held the bottle this way and that. ‘It’s like a little ocean!’ she thought, feeling somewhat hysterical.

She’d done everything right! Everything! Slish-slosh went the liquor.

She’d never even had a sip! Slish-slosh… and some spilled out onto the table.

Marjorie watched the liquid as it pooled beside her coffee cup. She tipped the bottle again, watching as some of the elixir spilled right into her coffee cup. She pretended not to notice.

‘Slish-slosh’ she thought as she watched more of the alcohol spill into her coffee cup until it was nearly overflowing.

‘Ooops!’ she giggled to herself.

“Oh well!” she said aloud, “We can’t let this go to waste, Marjorie. Coffee is expensive!” she mocked her husband’s oft repeated phrase. As if she spent more on coffee than he did on his women and alcohol. She gulped down the doctored coffee, her eyes tearing up as the alcohol burned a path down her throat. ‘What the heck?’ she thought. ‘Why would anyone ever want this?’

Then the numbness hit, the soothing caress of the alcohol made her feel almost soft, warm. She tipped the bottle, emptying it into her coffee cup and drank it all.

The scream was loud. So loud that she almost scared herself with it. Marjorie started to understand why some people called alcohol ‘liquid courage’ as she continued to scream out all of her frustrations. All of the years, the decades of abuse, of hurt, of giving up everything only to be treated like she was less than nothing.

Her arms swept the kitchen table clean and she didn’t even flinch as the bottles went crashing to the floor. She felt nothing as shards of glass hit her legs. She cried out, knocking the table to its side and didn’t even notice when her husband walked in the back door, staring like she was a woman possessed.

Marjorie wondered why her husband used the drink as an excuse to be such an asshole, such a useless unfaithful ass. Because as far as she was concerned, the alcohol only made everything clear.

‘Everything is crystal fucking clear right now,’ she thought. ‘I’m done.’

And just like that, something washed over her. A wave of surety like she’d never felt. She was done. She was done forgiving and excusing. She was done being a doormat. She was done letting her need to control everyone else’s habits and problems. She was done with her husband blaming her, taking his pain out on her. She was done with it all.

She turned to the stairs, leaving her husband gaping silently at the mess in the kitchen. Marjorie didn’t notice the bloody footprints that she left on the stairs from all of the tiny cuts in her feet. She went to her bedroom and packed up her most important items… and realized that she didn’t have many.

She grabbed her hidden stash of ‘fun money’ and thought that a new life sounded like the best kind of fun she could have ever had. She’d been saving for years, waiting for her husband to come around so they could finally go on that real vacation, but it had never happened.

She tucked the money into her bag and walked back down the steps, past her husband and out the door. Onward to a new life that she deserved. And she never touched another drop of alcohol in the rest of her long, happy life.

Cover Photo Pixabay