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Short Story

Our eyes locked as I rounded the corner of the dimly lit kitchen. His stocky body stood remarkably still in the shadows; a slim bottle of alcohol tucked casually under his arm.

We’ve been here, in this situation, many times before. Same obstacle, different day.

Living with an addictive personality is utterly draining. Even more so when the whole world has shut down around you. A person’s compulsions can quickly embody you, forcing you to develop your own obsessions that revolve entirely around them: keeping tabs on their whereabouts; removing triggers; hiding temptations; filling leisurely moments to deter spontaneity.

The first time I caught my son with a bottle, it was just an empty beer from the recycling bin. His lips were pressed firmly against the rounded mouthpiece, tongue flailing wildly at the stray contents inside, when it slipped and shattered on the tile floor. A week later, I caught him in the basement with a bottle of Grey Goose, pulled from a crate of leftover spirits. The oversized container slipped swiftly through his fingers. Shards of glass scattered violently across the concrete and streams of stray vodka flooded nearby cardboard towers.

Most recently, I confiscated a glass nip of Crown Royal, discreetly tucked between his pillows. Another gem from the now removed spirits crate that he must have snuck in his pocket before the Grey Goose incident. It tumbled effortlessly to the carpet unscathed during a weekly sheet stripping. When confronted, his lackluster denial wreaked of loss and disappointment.

It was around this time my husband suggested removing all of the alcohol bottles from the house.
“Not a chance,” I said, buried in denial. “Ridiculous. It’s not a big deal.”

I questioned this choice now as I watched my son raise a pint-sized bottle from beneath his arm and press his nose against the wavering glass. I could faintly see his puckered lips tucked to the side of his mouth, exposing a single dimple on his pale cheek. His dark brown eyes shot straight through the bottle, bending slightly in reflected light but never breaking their gaze.

My chest and shoulders ached with rage. I was just a foolish pawn in this game.

My husband, sensing trouble in the silence, tiptoed into the kitchen through the library, creeping to a halt beside me.

“I told you,” he whispered
“I know.”
“This is getting messy.”
“I know.” We winced in unison as our son slowly raised the bottle above his head, his smirk and dimple now in plain view. Time was up.
“Are you scared,” my husband snickered.
“Would you stop it! This is serious,” I hushed, my eyes beginning to well with tears.

Of all things, why did my 2-year-old have to become obsessed with smashing glass bottles during a worldwide lockdown—and how on earth did he get his hands on our last bottle of tequila?

Fri Apr 16 2021 02:30:00 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time)

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