Friday, April 6, 2012

The Long Good Friday

No one could call him an alcoholic.

He stopped drinking every year, for Lent.

No Windsor; no Schmidts. No ice cubes clinking in the glass in the kitchen after he got home from work. No snap and hiss of a pop-top.

From Ash Wednesday to Easter Sunday.


Not a drop.

Although the house was quieter, the woman and the boy found it hard to relax. There was a tension that never found a voice.

He smoked more.

He ate a lot of peppermints. Sometimes at night the boy would hear him walking down the hallway to the stairs, and down the stairs to the kitchen. He could picture him sitting at the kitchen table, smoking.

On the weekends, watching sports, he would make the boy sit with him. He drank soda. He would hold it under the boy's nose.

Smell it, he would say. See? No booze. Tell your mother. Tell her no booze.

He would tell her when she came in from the store. The woman would say, that's good.

But she didn't smile.

The man said, I gave it up. For Lent.

The woman would say under her breath, for Lent.

Good Friday, they would go to church and do the Stations of the Cross. The man would seem distracted. When they got home, his mood would change. He would laugh loudly, and sometimes suddenly clap his hands together, and say boy, oh boy. The woman would busy herself in the kitchen. The boy wasn't allowed to go out to play on Good Friday, so he would go to his room. He could hear the man talking loudly to the woman.

Lent was almost over. No one could call him an alcoholic. 

1 comment:

  1. Pretty powerful writing. Reminds me of a few relatives...