The buildup of anticipation and optimism crumbled in disappointment when I arrived home. My father laid down the events that occurred while I had been gone.
Horatio didn’t learn from the first two times that he neglected to show up for work, so he felt a third was necessary to drive it home. Consequently, he had been unemployed for the previous three weeks and has not been sighted for even longer. This meant that throughout the past few weeks he had been in an all-out brawl against his liver to destroy as much remaining functional tissue as possible.
I knew what I would find walking through the door to his house. The TV would be playing a movie at a volume that was way too loud for an incoherent audience member, the bathroom would stink like cigarettes, the refrigerator would be empty, save for a ketchup bottle, his pantry would look much the same, and Horatio would be passed out on the couch with a 1.75 liter bottle of vodka on the floor in front of him.
What would be the point in seeing this all too familiar scene? He’d be drunk, therefore there was no point in having a discussion that he wouldn’t recall having.
I went over there regardless of the sad sight that would be encountered. After letting myself in with the spare key, I could see that everything appeared as expected. I walked over to the unconscious body on the couch and gave him a sternal rub to judge his level of intoxication. Horatio’s head rose slightly and his eyelids retracted only enough to see a sliver of his pupils. He will not remember seeing me.
Picking up the half-empty 1.75 liter of vodka, I walked over to the kitchen sink. Turning the bottle upside down allowed some of the caustic vapors to reach my nose. The piercing smell sent my stomach churning in empathy for Horatio.
As the rest of the bottle drained I found a notecard and pen to write him a note. The note was rather long, but can be summarized in a few words. I explained my disappointment in his recent choices; that I know he is stronger than this; and that I love him no matter what. When the bottle finished draining I placed it on the counter with the notecard on top of it and left.