Anton cupped his drink in his hands, holding the small tumbler style glass in front of him as he stared endlessly at the gently rocking, bronze whisky within. Two partially melted ice fragments clinked quietly against the sides of the glass, the only sound in the room besides Anton’s slightly rasping breathing and the low crackle of his open log fire that burned slowly in the hearth some few feet away from him to his left. The fire was the only light in the room yet its dull glow made the liquid sparkle now and again depending on the movement of his hands.
He took another sip of the whisky and felt the slight sting on his gums as the liquid entered his mouth and he swilled it around before swallowing. The stinging sensation helped him to focus more on his environment. He needed this distraction from his thoughts, those reflective thoughts that plagued him. Thoughts, memories and unspent dreams haunted Anton night and day and whisky was the only thing that seemed to help to keep his mind from drifting entirely into that phantom, unreal, spent world that was his past.
Occasionally he would attempt to focus his thoughts on a future, certainly he hoped that somehow, in some way, his future would turn out to be better than the life he had lived thus far, it certainly could not be worse in his opinion. He would attempt to put the whisky down and imagine a world in which he was respected by those people in his life who mattered. He would dream of finally finding that perfect relationship with the woman of his dreams who would never pressure him into giving up too much of himself and those things that were important to him just to “earn” her love. One day, he would find a woman who was beautiful and intelligent yet quirky and fun to be around who could simply accept him as he was and not try to change him. They would live in a cottage much like the one he currently lived in but it would be their’s and not rented. They would have children, probably two and have a nice car and a holiday every year without worrying about debt. But there was he rub. This was the point in his thoughts that always drew Anton back to reality and back to the sting of the whisky; debt. He was up to his neck in debt.
Mind you, it was hardly any wonder really, after all, he had pretty much failed in every other area of his life. Every relationship he had ever had with a woman was now just another notch on his mental experience chart, just another reason for him to hate himself the same way his mother had hated him, the same way his teachers at school had hated him and his fellow students who used to gang up on him, push him to the ground and beat him or find so many numerous other ways to humiliate and hurt him.
The sense of unfulfilled ambitions and dreams, all those things that other people seemed to take for granted had the power to choke him. Tears were not enough and stopped flowing until the only physical reaction left to him was for a jagged pain to form in his throat from unuttered sobs that cramped and closed his windpipe to the point that only a remade cigarette and sip of whisky could clear to the point where he could breathe again. Yet even then he often wondered if he should clear his throat this way, why not just let it overcome him; why not just let the grief take him to an early grave; why not find out just what lay on the other side of the veil?