To Lydia, there was an acute anticipation and perplexing excitement wrapped around her alone-time bottle. But first she had to accomplish her chores in order to be able to drink in peace. Normally, the first order of duty, upon coming home from Spec’s, was stashing the bottles so Henry would not stumble upon them.
Lydia replenished the liquor in the bar. Although she tried to stay away from it, she inevitable drank away at least one, if not more, of the bottles before she was able to make it back to Spec’s. A long-standing cat and mouse game existed between Henry and Lydia. Lydia was sure he kept tabs on the level of liquids that were in each of the bottles. Lydia in turn also kept tabs so that she would put in the exact amount back. Lydia didn’t know what would happen if this game didn’t exist, if Henry didn’t try to exert control, and if she didn’t try to outwit him. It was insanity. She was sure of that. She never told any of her friends, never told anyone, of the craziness that played out between her and Henry. She was ashamed of it. And yet, there was a coyness to the situation. She knew he cared. So, while she could not let him cut off her supply of alcohol, she played along and let him think he was making a difference. The idea that Henry and Lydia would ever have an adult, rational conversation about Lydia’s drinking was laughable. Some things, Lydia thought, were better left in the closet.
Lydia walked back into the kitchen and started putting the groceries away. She was an expert chef, had learned over the years. But now that the kids were gone, Henry was mostly at work, Lydia didn’t really have an occasion for cooking. Well, that would change, she thought, as she stood looking at her cabinets. Lydia would have a dinner party. This day was just getting better and better. A party. That was what the situation called for. She would start right away planning a menu and ordering invitations. Lydia slammed her palm down on the granite counter-top, and she would only invite women.
Lydia turned on the music and as she opened a bottle of wine. In the coolness of the refrigerator, two more bottles were tucked away in the vegetable crisper.