It was 2 o'clock in the morning; Dylan crept silently to the kitchen, he needed a drink. Never-mind that he had promised her no more. That promise was now null and void; she was the reason he needed it. That burning elixir hitting the back of his throat would make him warm all over and numb the pain of her absence. He knew just how to make the ache subside, how to fill the emptiness in his chest where his heart had been before she had ripped it out. Tears welled up in his eyes and pain shot up through his skull. She had done this to him. Made him hurt, and he still loved her.
Liquor would change that. It changed everything.
There was a bottle no one knew about on the bottom shelf of the cupboard. He had hidden it in the very back behind several jars of pickled something that had been there for years. Stolen liquor, his second favourite vice. The floor creaked as he eased into the kitchen. He glanced down the hall; light still shone from underneath his mother's bedroom door, and he heard the muffled voices from her television. If she came out, he would be grounded for the next year. Again.
But he didn't care; it was worth the risk. He had to have it. It was the only thing that would get her out of his mind, or at least blur the memory. Ashlyn. God how he'd loved her. For two years she had been his world. And now she was gone. She didn't even say good-bye. It had been three days now; Dylan had gotten out of school on Friday afternoon and walked to her flat. He'd rang the bell over and over and she never came down. He'd found out from her landlady. Ashlyn had run off with a townie, some guy she'd met at that bar she'd started working at a few months back. She wasn't dancing or anything like that, just waitressing - but Dylan hadn't liked it at all. He'd had a very bad feeling about it, and now he knew why.
He blamed himself because he had started drinking again. It started out innocently enough, it was only when he and Ashlyn were out with their friends, partying on the weekend. But then, after his father died, he started having a couple of drinks in the morning before school, just to take the edge off things. But he had a handle on it, he wasn't out of control. No one even knew about that – he'd been clever - only vodka in the morning. And then, somehow it had progressed, little by little. He'd have a drink in the afternoons to relax, and then sometimes late at night, when he had trouble getting to sleep. On the weekends, they had stopped going out with friends, and he and Ashlyn just sat in his room getting drunk and fooling around. He thought they were having a good time; at least he had been. She wanted to go out and do things; she said all he wanted to do was get drunk. She was right.
That's when he'd promised to quit. But the very next night, when she'd come by to pick him up – well, he'd had some wine. He had gotten it out of the trash; his mom had thrown away half a bottle. He felt better than he'd felt in a while, but Ashlyn was furious. He figured she'd calm down in a day or so. But that's when she'd stopped coming over; and she'd say she had to work whenever he called. But it was every weekend and he knew she was lying.
Dylan wasn't yet old enough to get into the club where Ashlyn worked. Next month though. Next month he could go there; but she was gone so it really didn't matter. Only one thing mattered now; whiskey on the bottom shelf. Even Dylan didn't know it then, but that is all that would ever matter to him any more - for the rest of his life.
©2011 Garden Summerland