I loved the bottle.
We first met by accident—but looking back, I can’t make up my mind; it was either in my path or I was, for some reason, in its path.
Beginnings can be deceiving, and I was yet to learn through experience.
Our relationship progressed. We went out more every week, the weekends being our best times for some “we” time.
After a couple of months of stomping my feet on the ground and slamming my heart on the table, after a wig and another, I convinced myself that my indulgence had sufficient reasons. Soon later, our relationship would sail over every boundary and needed no reason to keep going.
I would walk out of work and the once-awful scent of liquor would draw me, as a pup would be to some decent treat. I would follow.
My head reclined, my glass half-full and my heart tons heavier than the rest of me, I would swig and swig, and I would lose myself in the bottle—I would raise it, drain it, and close my eyes; sometimes, loving them shut and most times, never opening them (at least, not until much later).
I remember little about how long the feeling lasted.
Love was a paradise; my love for the bottle, an attestation. But there was more to love—the inexplicable emotions, which stole me, as much as the bottle did. And, as before, I got lost in them.
I remember much about how the feeling drove me insane. I would give anything to go back to it.
And then came a big blessing in a tiny body of my only child and daughter—the love of my life. I got lost in her eyes too, and her smile, and her laugh, and if every second with her could last forever!
But I loved the bottle.
And I loved making excuses to keep our flame burning: see, we met much earlier; we grew roots in each other’s hearts.
But, oh, bottle, dear bottle, the whole truth, please?—how it loved me back and how it loved to fuck me up!
My Little Star grew bigger in every sunrise and every sunset. The sky warmed up to her smile in the day and in the night, it lit up with the magnificence, rare to her eyes. How she looked beautiful!
But my love for the bottle…
My Little Star would go crazy for the sweet stuff. Cake was ever her first choice: vanilla, with strawberry topping. White chocolate was her second love. Plenty of sugar was no good, but she was the sugar and I was the jar.
She had this way of looking at me and I couldn’t help it.
I would always make it home in time for some “we” time—only she and I. Sometimes, I had chocolate with me; better times, I had a slice of vanilla cake, with strawberry topping. She would smile, a beautiful, broad smile that felt endless and she would tell me all about her day.
“And your lines, my Star, show me—how do you make them?” I could ask, at times.
She would light up and show me some magic strokes—she was a Star.
But my love for the bottle…
Other times, I didn’t make it back at all. I would be in some ditch, singing an old dirge (only the lines I could remember, even if terribly), and comforting myself in the earth’s dampness.
One such (and horrible) time, I had my Star’s cake, packed, in one hand; in the other, was an imaginary flute that I was excited to handle and play.
Then the famous words: it happened so fast—I didn’t feel my feet flip before my back slammed on the hard, wet ground. Cake, I had time to remember, my Little Star.
There was pitch darkness. I felt warm all over and, ah, comfortable; so, I curled up and slept there.
I must have messed on myself there too, for the following morning, pearls of laughter rang my alarms. I turned, groaning, and would have returned to my peace if I hadn’t noticed the uniform—my daughter’s schoolmates.
I pulled up my sorry self, adjusted my pants, and dragged my sore feet through the embarrassing little crowd of school children. I came up to my Little Star and read the disappointment in her eyes and felt the pain in her heart. She wiped a tear, and my heart broke.
The bottle and I broke up.
I later cleaned up and left the house, returning before she did. I got a giant bar of white chocolate. My Little Star loved it. She smiled her endless kind and told me all about her day. She also frowned. Her memory must have been stained with as horrible a sight as of earlier.
“My Little Star, tell me about your lines. Did you make any today?”
She lit up like Christmas, telling me everything about an event. I would not miss it. I also did not know it yet, but the bottle and I were at the end of the road.
My Little Star was the event’s host—how lovely was some last-minute news! The pride that whelmed my heart and still does, is indescribable. Her lines were impeccable when she read them out.
I realized then that I had missed so much; I would have likely missed this too. I listened:
He calls me his “Little Star,”
Because he believes in me.
My sights of the sky are a blur,
Without him with me—
It feels like I can’t see far;
Feels so, for him, without me.
The sweet things he does!
The sweet words he says!
The sweet way he smiles!
The sweet times we’ve had!
If he could remember
All this, when he feels sad
He would not be so sad;
If he could remember
How he makes me feel,
And how long forever is,
And how much I desire it,
With him, would he not
Perhaps, hold on? Hold on…
He believes in me
When my sights are a blur
And calls me “his Little Star.”
Because he sees far.
I believe in him, too.
Drenched in tears, I bid the bottle bye.
Categories: Short Stories
Benson Langat is a poet, fiction writer, and freelancer. A dreamer, he realizes a world of possibilities through stories and explores life in poetry. Benie is a dad and lives in Nairobi, Kenya.