Friend of the Bottle

Friend of the Bottle by Jim Latham | Photo by Bjarne Vijfvinkel on Unsplash

She sits at the oak desk with eyeliner and gin, with lipstick and eyeshadow. The silk stocking she’s not yet donned sits next to the plate of lime wedges she had the foresight to slice after reading the letter and before unstoppering the bottle. 

She sits at the oak desk and ignores all that’s on it save the gin. Her glass is in fact crystal, which elevates the act of filling it from pouring to decanting. She acknowledges the semantic sleight of hand with a smile, pleased she still cares enough to dissemble, and shifts her focus to running lime around the rim—pulls her wayward mind away from thoughts of smashing the glass to produce an abundance of razor-sharp shards— squeezes lime into the gin, and spritzes less than the recommended amount of tonic. It recalls to her mind the old jokeabout tonic for color. Then the older one about the difference between drunks and alcoholics being alcoholics go to meetings. 

Ice cubes tinkle as she raises her glass to the suits of armor standing guard on either side of the empty hearth. Such a merry sound, even with nobody else around to hear it. The glow of the candles so warm, so welcoming.

The light caresses the curtains drawn against the night and falls to a carpet so thick and lush she can’t resist curling her toes into it. Too bad the long-abandoned railway out back the guesthouse won’t be gifting her any lonesome whistles.

She’s not a drunk, she tells herself, she’s a friend of the bottle. She allows herself a wry chuckle, allocates slightly less than half of it to the sly elegance of the old-fashioned phrase. She leans forward and rolls silk down her right shin, slips the stocking off, and sets it next to its mate on the heavy desk before once again raising her glass, this time to wish the perfectly matched pair of stockings many happy years together.

The candles flicker as a gust of wind slams splinters of rain against the leaded-glass windows. She pulls her satin robe tight, takes another drink, and looks at the eyeliner and lipstick. She packs it all away. There’s no need for makeup when you’re all alone and getting smashed.


Prompted by a line in the 100-word story Curtains by Tracey-Anne Plater: She sits at the oak desk with eyeliner and gin (used with permission).

Leave a comment with a living thing, an inanimate object, and a location and I will write a story based on your prompt.