Food and Drink: A True Story - A Flash Fiction Biography
It was Sunday and Mum has yet again set the table fit for a banquet of fifty not a small family of five, three members sat at the table, whilst two were absent. One being upstairs still sleeping through the daylight hours and the other had long vacated from the house to one of their own.
The souls of several hundred cooked garden peas drifted away in the streams of steam coming from each of the small, round, green bodies. Their flesh so tender they burst their guts open upon the lightest prick of a fork. Almost mimicking the similar explosion of flavour you get when eating fresh raspberries or ripe grapes. Roast potatoes glowed with their golden, crispy tan in the bowl next door. The only garish feature of the table was the bright orange of the carrots, although I guess it would have been worse if they were the vivid purple some people claim they can be. The slabs of lamb meat upon my plate were a deep brown which looked more appealing when I had decorated them with large dollops of moss green mint sauce and then soaked them in delicious bisto gravy. To accompany this feast I required a large tumbler glass of water, mainly due to the overdose on mint sauce which always made me thirsty.
The man whom I call Dad, but acts nothing like him, prefers to choose this meal time to open up a bottle of red Shiraz to wash his food down. He opens the bottle with a loud pop, as the cock jettisons out. Allowing him to pour the ruby liquid with a slosh into his large glass. He offers Mum one out of some small decency. She politely refuses. He simply shrugs and claims it for himself.
One plateful and three large glasses later the so called man of the house proclaims himself full and abandons the dining table for his prime seat in the living room. The half drunken bottle of wine goes with him to sit on the coffee table at his side. I am left to help Mum box away the left overs and deal with the washing up.
Only a few hours after six Mum and I say our brief and casual goodnights to him and escape to our rooms. The man is left with the TV remote in one hand and a new glassful of wine in the other.
The ten o clock news has been gone when I wake up suddenly in the night, for that is when I recognise him slowly making his way up the stairs, one creaky floorboard at a time, accompanied with a deep and weary sigh when he reaches the landing. I peer through the hinge gap on my bedroom door just as his teetering figure begins to make its journey to bed, from wall to wall. For that split second I spot the familiar oblong shape in his right trouser pocket, I can hear the tell-tale splish and splash of the bottle he is escorting to his bedroom. It is his only company these nights for Mum departed his bedroom many months ago and has claimed my brothers has her own.
Come morning two bottles stand empty on the kitchen side. Two more bottles that we add to the almost full glass recycle box outside. As I watch them collected to be reused I know it's my parts of my Dad's soul they are taking away also, constantly given in exchange for the deceitful poison we all know as alcohol.