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December 16, 2012
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(Contains: strong language)
Hear me read it

"If I were married to tha' bitch," Jon laughed "I'd drink!"

It was a less-than-quiet exclaim in the corner of the less-than-quiet pub 'The Dog and Soda' in Burnsley. It escaped the attention of Jon's captive audience that he was drinking. He had, in fact, been drinking for many hours at that point.

"Sir, If I were your wife I would put poison in your drink!" a woman once said.
"Madam, if you were my wife, I would drink it!" Churchill is deemed to have replied.

Terry had fallen asleep on the worn velour chairs in the corner of the pub, his head settled on jackets that smelt like fish and earth, working men's jackets. Above him the cigarette smoke accumulated and tinted the ceiling yellow. The roof had been the colour of an old fisherman’s fingers on the day the pub burnt down.

But none of that has happened yet. Tonight is not an extraordinary night.

"I mean, can you blame 'im? She nags him ALL the time, I mean ALL th' bloody time!"

Rick nodded thoughtfully, his pretty green irises bobbing in the watery tide as his head lulled backwards and forwards... the alcohol seemed to have robbed Rick of his center of gravity, and his neck was paying the price. His words were slurred and barely audible as a raucous cheer went up from another table at the same moment;

"Not a bad looker though, Our Trace. I wouldn't mind it."

Jon clapped his hand heavily onto Ricks back with a disapproving glare.

"Well you say that Rick-lad, but she's as cold as the Atlantic that one. Ter' says she closed for business after Kel was born. Said even the gyno gets more action than he does -" his voice dropped to what he thought was a conspiratorial whisper (that everyone could hear) "down there".

An emphatic sigh went round the men in sympathy for their fallen solider.

"'Ow old's Kel now? 2? Poor blighter."

"Aye, 'zactly. Enough to drive a man to drink so it is. Poor Ter'. He should just get rid of that one, she's had the kids what use is she? That lass from Denninborough keeps givin' him the eye. She's only 28!"

"Don't be silly Jon, she's 35 and not a day younger."

"Alright you got me, 35, but she's a pretty thing"

"True that, true that. Poor Terr'"

"Poor Terr'" the other men murmured in agreement.

Terry slept on in a fitful dreamless sleep until past closing time. Refreshed by his nap he stumbled home without falling over (for once).

---------------------------

"Terry, get UP!" came the screaming through the suffocating fog of aching that was permeating Terry's limbs. He tried to ignore it but it was getting louder and more bitter sounding. Perhaps he could pretend he was ill...

"Get UP you lazy, no-good, son of a bitch! Do you want the kids to see you like this? GET UP you BASTARD!" she screamed again.

He lost his temper, she was hurting his head, couldn't she see he was unwell? He sat up and glared at her with all the venom he could muster;

"Would you SHUT UP woman! Can't you see I'm trying to sleep? You think it would kill the kids to see me SLEEP? Is sleeping a CRIME now!?"

She slammed the door.

Terry fell gratefully back into his pillow and rubbed his calloused hands gently over his eyelids, trying to massage some pain relief in via his fingers...

His mood was black as he tried to go back to sleep, he could hear the kids talking quietly outside his door and it irked him. They were purposefully doing that, right outside his door. Talking so he couldn't hear what they were saying but so they were sure it would keep him awake. He held his temper and screwed his eyes tight shut.

The door flung open again and hit the wall with such violence that it made him jump, again.

"What? WHAT is your PROBLEM today!?" he screamed as he catapulted out of the bed, striding angrily towards his wife, ready to shake her. "can't a man SLEEP in his own house?!"

He saw Kelly and Travis behind her and immediately lowered his glare and tried to regain control on his temper. She was trying to bait him. She was obviously setting him up. Trying to turn the kids against him. All these thoughts went through his mind in a matter of seconds, as she stuttered her reply, backing out of the door and turning to pull the kids out the door.

Why wouldn't she quit nagging him? His hands were shaking with anger, he strode into the kitchen and grabbed a beer and took it with him back into the bedroom.

---------------------------

Tracy sat in the living room with the lights out biting her fingernails. It was a habit that, she knew now, she would never lose. Her eyes were accustomed to the dark, she had been sitting in the room for almost half an hour already. Not that she expected him to be home before closing. Not that she expected him to be home when he said he would be. But she hoped.

The part of her that still loved the man that had swept her off her feet fifteen years ago still hoped, God help her, and there was nothing she could do to pretend she didn't. Even lying in bed she wouldn't sleep, her ears trained for any tiny sound on the gravel of the driveway, come-home-safe-Terr', come-home-safe, she'd chant to herself in her mind.

So that's where she was, her fingers trembling as she moved from living room to kitchen and back again. Finally she sat at the kitchen table, with the fragile pieces of paper she had prepared in front of her. Laced under her fingers she wondered, in the back of her mind, how such a fragile thing as paper was supposed to save her marriage. In the front of her mind she already knew, they wouldn't.

Come-home-safe-Terr'. Come-home-safe.

She bit at her fingernails again, gasping a little when her sharp teeth drew blood at the side of the nail. Tears quickly formed and they were hard to stop, she tried to dam them with the tissues she now customarily kept upon her person, but they were not enough.

Come home Terry, come home I need you - I need my husband.

The truth was that Tracy was sick of fighting. She was sick of crying at work, in the bathroom of their small but once-cosy home, she was sick of Terry shouting at her, at the kids. No, Terry was never violent, and most of the time glimmers of the man she loved were still visible, diluted but on the surface to taunt her.

He wasn't violent but he still wasn't himself, and she worried. She worried herself sick at what was happening, between them, to him, to his body. She relayed the whispered words of their wedding night and wondered if the retirement plans they had so lovingly and optimistically formed would crumble to dust before she even turned 50, let alone 60, let alone 70...

Why was he drinking, why wouldn't he stop drinking.

Tracy smoothed out the corner of a leaflet she had brought home. Smoothing it between her thumb and the wood of the table, she tried to regain composure. What did she do wrong, to make his life so unbearable? She couldn't see why he needed to get away from her, from the kids, so badly. Why he had to escape into a haze of alcohol.

They had kids, two good kids who did what they were told, not old enough to be any trouble and not young enough to cry all night, that was different, but it couldn't be that. The first years of Travis' life had been some of their happiest, it couldn't be that.

Tracy had put on weight with Kelly's pregnancy but she shifted it, eventually, when she had, for a brief paranoid period of time, thought that could be the problem. It had made no difference.

He didn't care any more. He probably wouldn't even notice if I disappeared - she thought bitterly.

She knew that wasn't fair. She knew he cared, that he tried, but no matter how hard he tried the arguments always came back to the booze, and every time they argued he would storm out and come home reeking of beer.

She hadn't minded, after Kelly's difficult birth and troublesome early days, that he had wandered off down the pub for a few drinks with the boys on the weekends. Freedom, God knows she had craved it herself. She'd resented it, but in retrospect she'd give anything to have it back. She certainly hadn't complained.

Terry worked hard, so when he started having a drink or two after work some days, she didn't argue. She put the kids to bed, played with them, enjoyed them. It was his money, after all, that paid for the childcare. All of Tracy's wages went directly into the bill-kitty.

Soon it was every night, and when she asked him to be home he would have a drink with dinner. Saying he needed to unwind.

That was the danger point, when he said he needed to unwind she should have had alarm bells screeching in her ears, but she hadn't noticed. Busy with Travis' homework and Kelly's teething, how much can one woman do?

Tracy wiped her eyes and lay the leaflets down in a pile, then used her hands to straighten the pile.

Even that, had been bearable, Tracy had decided sometime earlier that day. Even that, even drinking each evening, had been okay, but this? Drinking in the day, at work, in the morning? For breakfast? There had to be something wrong, there had to be.

---------------------------

Tracy was not, as popular literature would have you believe, so consumed in her thoughts that she did not hear Terry approaching the house. She did. She wiped her eyes and straightened her clothing before standing to face the door and waited, her breath held tersely between her lips.

The door opened and he realised she was there immediately and groaned

"Oh, not now Tracy" he moaned, pulling off his coat, he stank of beer and cigarettes. Still, at least he didn't smell like perfume again.

"Terry, I need to talk to you" she replied evenly, like she'd trained herself to. There was only the hint of a quiver in her voice, he looked up at her in surprise, one foot lifted and caught between his hands as he wrestled with a shoe.

"You alright love?" he asked, a frown appearing on his face. Tracy looked at that face, that worn and well sunned face and sighed, gulping back her sorrow. He stepped towards her, wobbling and placing his hand on the wall to righten himself.

"You look like you've been cryin, what’s the matter?" he asked, lifting her chin so she looked up at him. Oh, she thought, how I miss you -

"Terry, I think you have a problem with alcohol. You drink a lot without even realising it, you get shaky when you haven't had a drink and you're scaring me."

It came out in a rush.

"Oh babe," he slurred a little as his mouth dropped clumsily to her neck "don't be silly, I just went out with the lads. Mikey took little Eric on the boat today and he caught the hugest..." Tracy pulled back as the sickening smell of the beer on his breath flushed over her skin, shuddering as he practically spat on her when he spoke, his mouth slack from the booze.

She stepped away from him and he looked confused for a minute, taking a moment to find her with his eyes, the lights still off and his pupils unfocused.

"Ah Tracy, you're still my best girl. So beautiful... So beautiful..." he began to mumble, stepping towards her, eying the line of her figure in the moonlight that crossed her body from the hallway window.

"Don't! Terry!" she said sharply, stepping back again, careful to navigate around Kelly's building blocks.

"Why not?" he crooned softly. "My beautiful wife, I just want to kiss you baby, a kiss goodnight?" his voice coaxed. Tracy let out a sob and pushed him back with the heels of her hands as he advanced again.

"No Terry, you're drunk, you're disgusting and drunk, don't touch me!" her voice shaking and high with emotion, she tripped and stumbled onto the sofa, her arms breaking her fall, she grabbed the arm of the chair to pull herself up and again he was right in front of her as she tried to get away through the door to the hall, this was a disaster -

"You're my wife!" he said angrily "I'll touch you however I please! I just tried to pay you a compliment you frigid old bat!" his voice grew louder with each step. Tracy wiped her eyes angrily and then turned to face him

"You listen here Terry Young, I may be your wife but I am not your property --" he drowned her voice out with his own. "You haven't let me touch you in YEARS Tracy YEARS! I am your HUSBAND!" he yelled, Tracy heard Kelly beginning to cry in the back of her consciousness and she finally snapped back "You are NOT my husband. You're no husband and no father. You're a drunk Terry, you're just a mean drunk." She turned on her heel and fled.

---------------------------

"Terry, get UP!" came the screaming through the suffocating fog of aching that was permeating Terry's limbs. He tried to ignore it but it was getting louder and more bitter sounding. Perhaps he could pretend he was ill...

"Get UP you lazy, no-good, son of a bitch! Do you want the kids to see you like this? GET UP you BASTARD!" she screamed again.

He lost his temper, she was hurting his head, couldn't she see he was unwell? He sat up and glared at her with all the venom he could muster;

"Would you SHUT UP woman! Can't you see I'm trying to sleep? You think it would kill the kids to see me SLEEP? Is sleeping a CRIME now!?"

She slammed the door.

Terry fell gratefully back into his pillow and rubbed his calloused hands gently over his eyelids, trying to massage some pain relief in via his fingers...

His mood was black as he tried to go back to sleep, he could hear the kids talking quietly outside his door and it irked him. They were purposefully doing that, right outside his door. Talking so he couldn't hear what they were saying but so they were sure it would keep him awake. He held his temper and screwed his eyes tight shut.

The door flung open again and hit the wall with such violence that it made him jump, again.

"What? WHAT is your PROBLEM today!?" he screamed as he catapulted out of the bed, striding angrily towards his wife, ready to shake her. "can't a man SLEEP in his own house?!"

He saw Kelly and Travis behind her and immediately lowered his glare and tried to regain control on his temper. She was trying to bait him. She was obviously setting him up. Trying to turn the kids against him. All these thoughts went through his mind in a matter of seconds, as she stuttered her reply, backing out of the door and turning to pull the kids out the door.

Tracy got the kids into the car and put her head on the steering wheel and wept. She'd been up all night thinking about the argument, wondering how to get him to stop drinking, but she couldn't. Until he realised he had a problem, he couldn't. She cried for the husband she'd lost and knew it was over, it was all over.

She felt a tiny hand on her shoulder and she cried harder, putting her hand over Travis' and wishing that he still had his Dad. Wishing that he knew the Terry Young that she had loved, and always would.
I wrote this over two years ago originally inspired by a situation in my real life (Not in Terry or Tracy's roles) and now this situation is getting out of control again it made me want to share it. It was in my gallery before but got deleted so if you've seen this before I apologise.

Just so you know the concept behind this was to tell the same story from two perspectives. In the initial reading you are supposed to think Tracy is a nuisance who drives her husband to drink, and in the second half you are supposed to wonder if its not the drink thats the problem.

This is something very personal but the story itself is fictional.

I know its long but I hope if anyone takes the time to read this they let me know their thoughts.
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Daily Deviation

Given 2012-12-26
:iconeat-toast:
EAT-TOAST Sep 20, 2013  Student Writer

Rick ^^ Take me to your heart and tell me that you love me, and you know and you know that you could not say no...

 

Nicely done.

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:iconcskadoz:
cskadoz Sep 19, 2013   General Artist
loved it the 1st time i read it. :hug:
y'know . . . it's still not the same . . . click the mouse, run, jump in bed, and tuck myself in to listen to your lovely voice. :(
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:iconbloodshotink:
:) :giggle: Sorry about that!
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:iconcipher-devy:
Well worth the DD, and wonderful dialogue, btw. The accents and slang make it feel even more personal when they speak :)
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:iconbloodshotink:
:D yay! Thank you so so much!!
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:iconhaphazardmelody:
haphazardmelody Feb 19, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
I can clearly see why this was made a DD. This is brilliant. I especially love the repetition of the paragraph about Tracy trying to bait him with the kids...really helps to drive your point home that this is all but a hopeless situation, a scene that has been repeated and repeated and repeated before it finally varies a little bit. And excellent dialogue. I think natural-sounding dialogue can be difficult to achieve, but you definitely did it!

This definitely speaks to that...that inner pain we all carry when there is a family member that is hurting themselves and unwittingly those around him/her as well...and there's nothing you can do to help or stop them.
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:iconbloodshotink:
:blush: Thank you so much. For me the repetition was so that the reader would read it initially, on his side, and then the second time, with more information, feel differently about it. You know?
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:iconhaphazardmelody:
haphazardmelody Feb 21, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
I can see that, although I never really felt on his side. Something about the tone, perhaps, but I just felt that he wasn't someone to be trusted right from the get-go.
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