To say that alcohol is insidious is not original. It is just such a fitting adjective that no other word works as well. God knows you love to drink. Ever since your first high school kegger you knew you had found a friend. Through all the fake IDs and underage beer bashes right up to legal age and bar crawling, alcohol had never let you down. The biggest difference is that all those excursions happened somewhere else.
You didn’t drink at home. You always had a bottle or two of the good stuff, but that was mostly for show. Drinking in public happens at a staggered pace. Either it’s so packed you can’t drink as much as you want or you have to worry about getting home in one piece or you just don’t want to make a fool of yourself. There aren’t the same limitations when you are sitting on your couch.
The three drinks you’d have each night at the bar soon become six when you have them at home. Heather even joins you sometimes. She has her wine and you have your supersized rum and coke. You sit close to each other on the couch, playing footsies in Milo’s soft belly fur as he sleeps.
You talk about the stupid little annoyances in your life and she shares hers. Together you mock the people you dislike and praise the ones you do. You daydream out loud and make great plans. Just when you think you can talk all night you run out of words. In the silence you kiss and Heather lets you know the night is over, but you have one more thing to say.
“I couldn’t do this without you.”
She buries her head in the nape of your neck. You keep talking.
“I have been through so much the last couple of months. You don’t even know. I never thought it was going to be like this. You are the one thing in my life that is any good. I love you so much.”
She murmurs, “I love you, too.”
“I hope our whole life we are as in love as we are right now.”
She gives you a wry grin and says, “We will be. Let’s go to bed.”
She stands up, straddling you on the couch and you say, “Let me finish my drink. I’ll be right there.”
She replies, “Don’t be long.” And proceeds to the bedroom.
You sit on the couch and drink your cocktail, alone with your thoughts. When it’s gone you have another. In the morning you wake up on the couch while Heather makes breakfast in the kitchen. You try to laugh at how drunk you were. You say that you couldn’t resist Milo’s hairy yellow butt so you had sex with the dog instead. Heather doesn’t laugh or smile or acknowledge your attempts at humor. She gives you a little peck on the cheek and, as she leaves for work, reminds you not to be late for your own job.
That is what insidious is. It is something that seems trivial, but can have a grievous affect. Half the day goes by before you realize that you screwed up. You know you better not pass out on the couch anymore or you’ll be staying there. Even so, it doesn’t stop you from drinking.