It had been a while since Hank had scrutinized his wife in the manner he’d recently adopted. He noticed a rhythm in her addiction. She didn’t wake up happy anymore. She woke up in a foul mood, distant and cantankerous until she’d had her coffee and her morning pills. As the pills took effect she became increasingly loquacious. She didn’t realize the twists and turns her mind took had no pattern or that her conversation lacked focus. She talked to hear herself. Hank walked the shore in the mornings, leaving her in bed asleep, as was his habit after the boys moved out. He gave her a quick kiss before he rose and began his day in solitude.
By the time he returned the narcotics had leveled off in her system. She didn’t eat lunch, saying she’d had breakfast, which she had not. She liked her medicine undiluted. She would take an afternoon nap if she’d overindulged and then the cycle repeated itself. A glass or two of wine in the evening had a calming effect on her. He saw their future. It wasn’t what he’d planned on.