Handel watched quietly from behind the dinner table as his father stumbled through the kitchen. He’d been on a tear again –gulping through the table wine, robbing the medicine cabinet of anything with the word ‘tonic’ on it, swallowing Listerine.
His mother saw his little glassy eyes from behind the chair. “Robert, please sit down. I’m afraid you’re going to fall!”
“Who cares if I fall? He was right next to me! It should have been me.” The war had been over for 7 years now and he still couldn’t let his friend’s death go. Two weeks ago, in much the same condition, he’d scrawled a memorial across the wall. When he caught his wife cleaning the kitchen he lost all control and warned her to “keep her goddamned hands off his name.”
He continued to pace the floor. She was desperately afraid he’d see Handel watching, fill his ears again with all the terrors he’d seen, shake him again for not listening, slap him again for not crying.
She walked over to him and wrapped her arm around him, grabbed his hand. “Till I waltz again with you, let no other hold your charms. If my dreams should all come true, you’ll be waiting for my arms.”
“Till I kiss you once again…” he slurred.
He leaned in and she turned her face, twirled her back to the stone counter, moved her left hand up behind his neck, slid her right hand free of his grip…