In front of the open fire, slouched on the small settee I sat. No energy to move, but to take the long poker and prod the fire. Late in the evening the last rain falls before spring truly begins. Cold and miserable outside and yet beautifully drawn from an artists quill. Lush greens and soaking wet flowers, the first shoots of wild flowers don the landscape amongst the wooden hut where I sit alone.
A fresh bottle of Macallan Whiskey sits on the small three legged stool across the room, I'm finishing the last drop of the last bottle next to me. Poking the fire, I finally get the energy to move and cross the dining area collect the bottle and flip the CD player off. Gone the days of vinyl, however good it sounds, they are all degraded and so I listen on the CD's.
Lost in time, the day draws in, back in my settee, the dining room is empty, all there is, is my fire, my table and me. I turn the chair around and grab the TV remote, the oldest looking 15" TV sits on a low table. The whiskey drowning out the wet drip through the ceiling. The fire spitting constantly trying to keep the place from the outside wet intrusion.
If only it was all true, rolled up in thick fleece layers and rugs, crouched under a fire light with a CD playing in the background. A fully furnished dining room behind me and nothing but the loving wife soon to be home. She remains placed in the frame, next to the CD player, a by gone age, and yet still very real. What was once a happy place, now no longer remains. All that remains of that era down the drain with the Macallan. Yet I beg to join her, and yet I beg to not. Rocking away on my settee at all those times, the dining room now empty, all but remains is my memories of a by gone age.
Yet another sip of disillusioned happiness, the wet drip in the room makes the floorboards creek. I look up in hope to see her standing by the door. No, I go back to the memories and play the CD's and commit no energy to the flickering TV screen as I poke the fire and drink away, rocking in ceremony at yet another by gone age.
The nurse comes and provides me my daily dose of medicines to help me sleep, she looks at me as if I'm insane, she says I had no wife and had no place where I poked my fire and yet the photo looks so much like the nurse. She and I have exactly the same conversation: Elizabeth never came today, the Whiskey took her away, she left me this photo and CD.
The nurse smiles tentatively and tells me that it's not real. Everyday of the last 25 years is not real. I look back and say Elizabeth was real you are not real. I throw the current glass of Whiskey into the fire and fall back to sleep. When I wake up I will be chained to yet another bed, drip fed for no reason. The nurse tells me I'm not eating, but I always eat when Elizabeth's around, its just she hasn't come back from her last journey. It takes all day, but eventually I get back to my fire and sit listening to the CD and wait for Elizabeth to come home, the Whiskey can't keep her forever. Maybe I can join her.
All I want to do is go play on the grass as if we were kids again, but my old age stops my legs from doing that, Elizabeth always had so much energy, she always gave me so much energy. We could do so much together. Now I wait slouched in my settee, with my drink, poking the fire as the CD comes back to an end, I hear that creaking floorboard again as the drip from the ceiling wets and dries from the fire. Drip drip drip... where are you Elizabeth, who is this nurse?
The Committed Man Part II