From the author: My father finds himself trapped in the clutches of alcohol: cunning, baffling, powerful.
When my dad was made aware of his self-induced, non-genetic diabetes, he thought it might be time to lay off the hard stuff.
He has a stale, high-pitched stench; a putrid aroma of rotting meat that rings around his portly belly like Saturn and pours out from his mouth in bursts of clouds and stars, creating a galaxy self-sustaining and all its own. To sustain the guttural galaxy, his magic ceased to come from vodka, and began to come from something classier. Wine makes a boring person seem suave, sophisticated.
Now there is always a wine glass on the counter, commanding respect; sparkling atop the tiles, showing off to us.
There are so many corks, so my mom started doing cute things with them. The first day there were three and she had them stacked like a little pyramid. Two on bottom, one towering on top. Next time there were seven.
Last time, there was a dull metal box about the size of a cigarette case. It undoubtedly used to shine and reflect light like a personal pocket-sized mirror, but the metal wore out and became thick with a black residue, making it look vintage; not unpleasing to the eye, but not what it was originally meant to be.
She filled the little tin with remnants of drunken nights. Five, then three, then two, then one on top. It sat next to a small Eiffel Tower statue and a little suitcase with a clock on one side.
It reminded me of an art project, or decor at an Italian restaurant. It had such a classy feel to it.
Maybe someday I'll have my own tin.
This story originally appeared in Postcard Shorts.