He brought the bottle to his nose and breathed in deeply, embracing the aroma. Then delicately, he put the rim on his lips and slowly let the liquid seep onto his tongue. Each drop of the wine exploded onto his taste-buds and filled his mouth with the rich tang of decadence. He grasped the wine bottle and shook it gently. The contents flushed around, splashed up and stained the man’s clothing. Upon seeing this, his grip on the bottle tightened and in a fit of rage he threw it against the wall with the remainder of his dwindling strength. It shattered into several pieces and the crimson liquid dribbled down the wall in haphazard lines until it reached the floor where it pooled up.

The man was immediately filled with a sense of regret: regret that he had wasted a decent bottle of wine; regret that he would have to clean up mess; regret that the shattering of the bottle and the spilling of its contents mirrored his own life. He was alone. He was always alone. All he had were his thoughts and his words, but sometimes even they dissipated so rapidly that he was only left with a wistful sensation of what might have been. Long ago he had been a hopeful young man with dreams and aspirations but the weight of the world and the pain of a thousand lifetimes had hit him and his once vibrant soul had fled and was replaced with silence and a pervading loneliness. It was all he knew now.

Startled by the faint recollection of an old memory, he looked up and saw the daylight stream in through a gap in the thick curtains. He watched transfixed, as the light suspended the dust in the air. It appeared weightless and rose effortless as if it were being pulled by an invisible string by an unseen puppeteer. He broke his gaze, heaved himself up off his chair and slowly ambled his way towards the window. Opening the curtain slightly more, he stared up at the sky. Though the sun shone, the sky was murky and dark and it was apparent that it would rain soon. He wondered how many people’s hope for a good day had been dashed by the sight of the gloomy dawn.

Sighing, he gave the curtain a quick tug and it closed with a jerk, once again enveloping the room in darkness. The only thing that gave off some semblance of light was the remains of last night’s fire, yet it too was fading. The glowing embers danced around, desperately clinging to life. He didn’t bother rekindling it. The warmth would never reach his heart and to him that was all that mattered. Carefully he walked back to his seat and collapsed into it. Though the light in the room was quite dim, he could make out the faint outline of his surroundings: the unmade bed; the near empty bookcase, the ragged sofa. He was by no means a poor man; however he chose not to utilize his wealth by indulging in frivolous items. The pile of the wine bottles could be made out too, the green glass glinting in the light. Frivolous items he did not posses, yes, but his money fuelled his desire for wine, and the wine fuelled his desire to escape. He never did truly succeed in escaping his mind.


Angie Mullins ©

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