This is the rework of a self-published auto-biographical story (2008), rewritten for this blog. Names of characters have been changed.
Content warning: mental and physical abuse, misogyny.
Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in getting up every time we do.
Continued from… Watched, controlled, coerced
“Fred is angry with you,” Fran told Annie over the phone. She sounded smug.
“Why now?” Annie sighed.
“Because it seems you think you’re better than us. Since your diet you haven’t had one single drink with us,” Fran accused Annie.
Annie knew this was true. She did it on purpose — not drinking alcohol. When she had started her strict diet, Annie had realized she was on the same road as Fred and Fran. She was drinking daily as if she couldn’t go without alcohol. In Annie’s eyes someone who had to have alcohol every day, was an alcoholic. She had seen this in her own family, and she didn’t want to be like that.
Fran was worse than Fred, since there wasn’t a day she would skip her drink. Also, she tend to down a couple of drinks in quick succession, before she slows down to a more acceptable tempo. Annie didn’t consider herself an alcoholic, and her diet had helped her to cut the habit of drinking almost daily. After the diet, she had just not started taking alcohol again.
“I don’t think I’m better than you,” she defended herself, “if I’m not in the mood for alcohol, I don’t see why I should drink it.”
“You can join in for the sake of company, Annie,” Fran said slimy. This childish voice of Fran instantly infuriated Annie.
“Fran, that means I have to join you in drinking every day and I don’t need that. That’s how people become alcoholics — joining in for the sake of company,” Annie snapped. She couldn’t stop the snide words tumbling from her lips. Fran, however, failed to understand Annie actually referred to her.
“Annie, just take a drink with us, then Fred feels better too. You know we have to work together to keep him in a good mood,” know-it-all-Fran laughed.
“Fran, I won’t be forced to drink for whatever reason,” and with these words Annie ended the conversation.
Self-loathing tightly gripped Annie when she woke up. She was terribly disgusted with herself. Her head hurt. She was nauseous. And thirsty.
Annie had a horrible hangover.
When she had returned home the previous afternoon, one of her first questions to Fred was whether he wanted something to drink. He nodded in approval.
“Since when am I good enough again for you to have a drink with me?” Fred asked sarcastically when he saw that she poured herself an alcoholic beverage too.
“Since I am in the mood for a drink,” Annie answered, equaling his sarcasm.
Annie hadn’t stopped after one drink. She drank one glass after the other, but her anger towards Fred didn’t diminish, and neither did her irritation towards Fran. The alcohol didn’t help. It only helped to have her feeling queasy the entire night. And wake up with a hangover.
However, later that day the aftereffect of her excessive drinking the night before, and her consequent disgust with herself had a positive effect on Annie. Her fighting spirit returned. She somehow found the strength from deep within to take firm control of her life again. Without him knowing, Annie decided to put Fred through a test. A final test. An ultimatum.
“So, here we are then, just the two of us for a couple of days,” Fred said.
They just returned to the smallholding after they had taken Fran to the hospital, where she had been admitted for the operation she had to undergo the next day.
“Yes,” Annie confirmed, “we will see what the next couple of days bring us.”
The ambiguous meaning and underlying tone of Annie’s words escaped Fred. He wasn’t aware that he was about to be put through a test. Annie had decided to give him one last chance to save their relationship. It was a last chance for him to show her what she really meant to him. Fran wouldn’t be able to interfere why she was away. In Fran’s absence, Fred could show Annie whether he really loved her. His behavior towards her – his words, his actions – would give Annie answers to her questions.
There was only one thing that Annie was not yet sure of: what would she do if Fred failed the test?
To be continued… Odette and Rachelle (1)
© Rebel’s Notes