Sal looked back at her husband.
Her chosen consort. The man of her dreams.
She sighed. What had it all come to? Gone was the boyish charm. Those once endearing eyes now stared zombie like at a glaring television screen. His paunch now showed more than ever. A gristly stubble, covered what had been fine formed cheekbones.
He was now a recovering alcoholic. Back from rehabilitation a few months ago, he attended the occasional A.A. meeting and kept the liquor cabinet locked, giving her the keys. She suspected hed had a few lapses and she often nagged him to stop.
A little gurgle from the next room snapped her out of her reverie. Little Jack had started teething. She walked to him and chirruped fondly. Shed never really wanted children but Jack was as close to perfect as anything she could dream of. The father didnt really seem to care. The stubby little fingers and gummy smiles could never work their magic on him.
As the only one with a paying job in the house, she was out most of the day. An old nanny came in to take care of the baby. But she was out for the day. Something about being under the weather. Sal had to leave for a couple hours. She had to entrust Jack to that former booze-hound. Shed left a list of emergency numbers on the refrigerator and explained the babys feeding habits to her husband about a million times. Shed spent the past hour debating if she really ought to go. But then, there were bills to be paid.
She stepped out the house with mounting apprehension.
Sal twisted the keys violently. Her fervent knocking had gone unanswered.
She feared the worst. If anything had happened to her baby.
The empty living room did nothing to coax her. There was a slight slag on the couch to indicate it had been occupied a while ago. Sal slowly pushed open the door to the nursery. She gave an involuntary gasp. The crib was empty and worse, a broken bottle of brandy lay on the floor. The heavy smell of alcohol was all about the room and the liquid had seeped into the carpet.
She felt a rage shed never known before. So he had found the key to the cabinet. Oh, how she hated him, every fiber of the man he was. Shed leave the disgusting drunkard. She remembered all the times hed passed out reeking of whisky. The numerous bar fights hed been a part of. Sal regretted all the chances shes given that horrible creature. She would put him in prison for criminal negligence. She didnt care what it took, she would make that wretch suffer for the rest of his life. The only ever good that had come out the marriage was now gone. It was over.
It was then she heard the faint but unmistakable cry of little Jack from the balcony. She burst out there to see father and son on a lounge chair. They had both obviously been sleeping. Her husband looked up at her with a sheepish smile.
Glad youre back hon. I had to rub some brandy on the little munchkins gums. Its what my mom did for me when I was teething. He accidentally tipped over the bottle. Sorry about that. I hope you understand He stopped surprised.
Sal had broken down crying.