"You’re not having another drink are you?” Felicity turned back to the mirror sighing, “I need to lose a few more pounds to be able to fit into this dress."
"Felicity, you're very thin now. If you lose any more weight you will disappear." David hoped he didn't show the growing horror he felt.
She continued to gaze in the mirror with self-loathing oblivious to the expensive clothes she was wearing.
David gulped more red wine. "Tell me, darling. What do you see? In the mirror."
"That I’m too fat to fit into this dress properly!"
David was filled with bewilderment. The woman he loved was wasting away and he was powerless to stop it. He hated the sight of those clothes and the wardrobe stuffed with carrier bags from Westwood Cross.
They were the cause of his pain. The cause of his beautiful wife’s pain too, though she was incapable of seeing it.
He realised only too well the physical and psychological grip they had on her.
It was like believing there were fairies at the bottom of the garden. Ridiculous. But beliefs can be so powerful that they create terrible consequences. Felicity’s belief was a complete delusion. She only saw an overweight outer self - all five stones of it. Skin covering bone. The living skeleton oblivious to her inner beauty.
But she claimed she was happy.
He picked up the bottle to refill his glass, but realised it was already empty. Blearily, he focused through the window on the vaporous clouds travelling low across the Margate horizon, eventually to disappear once they'd shed their load of water as rain or snow or hail.
Life cannot exist without water though.
Or food. But it could exist without wine.
Suddenly, in the distance he could make out the rising shape of the Turner centre, caught in the sun's beams. Now the clouds had gone, the sunset was a truly Turneresque backdrop of reds, oranges and purple. A symbol of regeneration. A new beginning.
David stood up and grabbing the wine bottle turned on his heel and strode towards the kitchen.
After only a minute or two, he returned and noticed the empty wineglass. He started chuckling.
"David, what’s going on? You’re scaring me." The colour had drained from his wife's face.
He blinked and saw she was genuinely alarmed.
"I've been an idiot. Stupid, thoughtless and blind. I’m so sorry, Felicity. I'm going to stop drinking. Just like that. I've had my last drink. I've emptied the bottles down the sink. Flushed it away with fresh water. Watched the red disappear. I felt really weird - but so clean inside. I know that to stay dry isn't going to be easy, though I am absolutely certain that I must do this. I finally heard what you've been saying for so long."
Felicity stood in silence then moved quickly towards the kitchen. At the door, she stopped and turned to face him with tears in her eyes.
"Would you like a sandwich, David?" After a brief pause she added, "I'm going to have one too."
© Louis Brothnias, v 2.6 (2009)