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06 April 2010 @ 07:51 pm
Aviary | Ethanol  
romance, drama.
Rated: R/NC-17

I knew I had to arrange a lot of things during my children-free week. But I didn’t. Instead, I drank my liver to death – something I hadn’t done since my youth. I phoned my dad to ask if he could keep the kids for a bit longer. He agreed, after giving me a lecture about picking up the pieces and getting my problems settled before I would start to drink again. Unfortunately, I was drunk at the time I called him so I had soon forgotten what he had asked me to do.

But after a week, I returned to work. I was the head of St. George’s High and even though I did not enjoy my work as much as when I was a history teacher, I liked being involved with the education of youngsters.

But I still didn’t feel ready to have my kids at home. I was thinking about hiring a nanny because I really wouldn’t be able to take care of such young children and have a full-time job as a head of a school. Giving up my job wouldn’t be a solution. I couldn’t return being a teacher, so my only option was to quit. But that would make me unemployed and that wouldn’t help me either with my situation.

I was at my wit’s end and started to feel that life was going to be impossible. I was a widower with two young kids who needed a lot of attention, a full- time energy absorbing job, and I owned an aviary which I couldn’t care less about. I was glad I had asked Matthew to take care of it, so it wouldn’t be my concern.

But worst of all – I was without my wife. Never had I loved a person so much and now she was gone. It all seemed so unfair. She was young and beautiful and she could still have a long live ahead. But something decided she wasn’t allowed. She was my everything, and now she was gone. How could I continue to live without her? I knew I had two wonderful kids but without her, I felt like I couldn’t achieve anything.

So I drank every night until I would either pass out or vomit it all out. And the next day, I would return to school, aspirins and coffee for breakfast, lunch and dinner, getting back home and drinking again. I really didn’t know what else to do. I knew I needed help but I wanted to be miserable for a bit longer. I would ask for help in the end, but I felt I wanted to enjoy it all first. I had to be miserable, because I was missing her so much.

I didn’t even make myself a proper meal in the evenings. I bought microwave meals and one loaf of bread, which I would eat from for a week. I didn’t eat much. My esophagus was so dry and narrow that nothing went through it. I managed to swallow my food by flooding it with water, coffee or alcohol.

But I knew there would be a moment I would end up with alcohol poisoning. So I had to be careful. But I soon noticed I couldn’t stop. Alcohol made me mild and forget and I saw it as a refuge to all my problems. It was stupid to think of it that way – but it was exactly what it was. And I noticed, that it was exactly what I was aiming for. I wanted to die. I was destroying myself by taking too many aspirins and drinking too much alcohol when the inevitable happened.

And it was one morning that I found myself on the kitchen floor. A small puddle of vomit lay next to my head and I groaned as the sour smell hit my nose. I could distinctively hear footsteps rushing over to me and I was turned on my back.

'Sir! Are you alright?’


The lad picked me up from the floor, and with strength I hadn’t thought he possessed, he pulled me up to the sink. He turned on the tap and as I hung onto the sink. I heard him going through the dirty dishes, which had been piling up for days now. He filled a glass of water and forced it down my throat. I gagged because the water was so salty, and I vomited in the sink, emptying my entire stomach at once.

‘Are you mad!’ he exclaimed when I settled down and sank on the floor. ‘Were you trying to kill yourself?!’

‘Probably,’ I panted and I closed my eyes, but I opened them again as I realized who was in my kitchen. ‘How – did you get in?’ I asked as I looked at the lad who had crouched down next to me.

He forced a smile and said with guilt in his voice: ‘I had to smash the door,’ and he nudged his head towards the door of the back garden. ‘I saw you passed out.’

‘I – passed out?’ I asked as I saw the window of the door had been smashed. I’d had the idea I had been lying there of hours.

‘Yes – I was cleaning the aviary when I saw you.’

And it was then that I noticed the lad had been looking at me all the time. He hadn’t looked away from me so far. But I figured it was just the adrenaline that soared through his body.

‘How did you know about the salt?’ I asked weakly.

He smiled again without any humor. ‘I tried to kill myself once.’

My eyes widened and I tilted my head with surprise.

‘You – you did?’

‘Yes – when I was 16.’


He went silent for a moment and his eyes averted from mine again.

‘Same reason as you – I suppose,’ he muttered. ‘Didn’t want to live anymore.’

‘Why?’ I asked weakly but Matthew had already gotten up and taken out his cell phone. ‘I’m calling a doctor.’

‘No!’ I exclaimed as I seized the boy by his leg. ‘No – no doctor!’

‘You need to have your health checked on!’ he said as he stepped away from my grasp.

‘No - no please, I’m fine! No doctor! My father – no one should know I – I-,’

‘Tried to kill yourself?’ he asked and raised an eyebrow.

‘Y-Yes,’ I muttered. ‘No one – please, Matthew.’

He sighed and lowered his phone. ‘Fine,’ he muttered but he looked at me as if I was an irresponsible child. I knew I was acting like one, but I was glad he didn’t call.

There was a short silence in which I remained on the floor, regaining my energy and trying to prevent my stomach from turning again. I remembered my question so I repeated it:

‘Why did you want to kill yourself?’

‘Why do you care,’ Matthew muttered and turned around and left the house.

After a few minutes I got up, rather unsteadily, and saw Matthew was in the garden, sweeping the floor in the aviary. I decided not to go after him and ask again. He clearly didn’t want to talk about it.

I recovered by drinking lots of coffee, but I had no feelings about what had happened that morning. No regret or shame. I wish I had died on my own kitchen floor. It wasn’t as if I was suicidal on purpose, but I wouldn’t mind dying in my sorrow. I didn’t even think of my kids, which I now feel selfish for. But at that time – I simply lived on.

Prologue | Melopsittacus undulates | Matthew Parker | Ethanol | The Bard | Stop