Joshua's eyes were red rimmed and puffy, his face, peppered with grey stubble was ashen. Deep down he had always feared this day would come, but couldn't quite get his head around the fact it was finally here. For such a long time she had been the biggest part of his life, and now he couldn't bear the thought of losing her. She meant far too much to him, she was the only thing in his life he had ever truly cared about.
Mighty strange how life turns out he reflected. In the early days when he had first gotten to know her, it had been nothing more than a casual fling, and their paths would cross only time to time. That isn't to say he hadn't always appreciated her company, just that he didn't really need anybody much back then. Life was sweet; times were good, a merry-go-round of perpetual parties and non-stop fun. But somewhere along the line his fortunes had changed, the good times faded and life grew harder over the years. When he suffered a series of major setbacks and needed someone to turn to, she was there to comfort him, as if awaiting his return.
Although he admired her physical beauty it was her other qualities which attracted him more. Sometimes she amused him so much he would roar with laughter until his sides and belly ached. Other times they sat in comfortable silence and didn't have the need to say very much at all. Above all, she was the best listener he had ever come across. When he was feeling low or damn right depressed he knew he could turn to her for solace.
In his darkest moments, of which there were many, he had finally given in to his feelings, and opened up to her. He hadn't planned it to happen that way, but once his tongue was set loose he found he couldn't stop. His deepest secrets, his fears and disappointments, all the things he despised about himself. The sadness of his life came pouring out until he thought he would drown in the tide of his own sorrow.
She didn't judge or ridicule, just sat back quietly and listened. He wept openly, gratefully and unashamedly, warm salty tears sliding down his face and nose. When he tossed and turned, alone in his empty bed, he would ache for her, without her he was nothing. He was consumed by her, thought of her day and night, craving her like a jealous lover.
And now the day of reckoning was upon him. He recalled the doctor's heavy words.
"Joshua, the test results are back."
The doctor paused briefly, as if afraid to deliver further words and then continued.
"I'm sorry to have to be the one to break the news, but we can't avoid this any longer. The situation isn't looking good; in fact it isn't looking good at all. Your chronic drinking is causing serious damage to your health. Unless you agree to give up the bottle immediately there is little more we can do ..."
He coughed loudly, and paused again, searching for the right words. "Maybe we can get you into a detox unit, or at least find you some kind of support," he suggested kindly.
A flicker of hope briefly crossed Joshua face. Then he shook his head and smiled sadly. There was no one who could help him now; he had surrendered to her long ago. With heavy shoulders, Joshua slowly rose from the chair and without a further word or backward glance, left the room.
Sitting alone, and in silence, Joshua stared hard at her, his beloved, the whisky bottle on the table. They didn't understand he mused. He needed her; she was the only thing that could remove his pain. She had been everything in his life, and now she was the only thing. He could hear her calling softly, beckoning him to taste her sweetness. With shaking hands he lifted the smooth golden nectar to his lips, knowing he would never let her go.