Last Orders

It was his eyes I noticed first. Mesmerising bottle green eyes. And talking about green, my friends were bright green with envy when we began courting. Apparently only 2% of the population have green eyes. Interesting little fact that, don’t you think? He wore his thick black hair swept back from his face. And what a face. The most handsome man I’d ever laid eyes on. Honestly, all the famous leading men of the silver screen at the time couldn’t compete with my man. That’s one of the things that made it all so painful.
We sat in the waiting room. He had handed in his sample in one of those clear plastic jars. Colour of cloudy whisky. Severe fluorescent lighting reminded me of our youngest grandson’s lightsabers, he had a whole series of them, the brightness was bringing on one of my migraines. And the smell of iodoform wasn’t helping. Hospitals aren’t what they used to be. Not a lot is mind you, if you ask me.
He was fidgeting, jiggling about with the coins in his pocket. It was his nerves, you see. He was shattered. I tried not to look at him. It was breaking my heart. The weight he’d lost. You could hardly see his back-side in his trousers. And he had such a great bottom. He wasn’t best pleased when one of those Indian looking Doctor’s called out his name. He could be a terrible man at times. So, this Doctor Shafique sits us down, I remember his name because he reminded me of the actor who played Doctor Zhivago, he was awfully handsome. Anyway, the Doctor told him in no uncertain terms. Really laid it on the line about the severity of the situation. “You are going to die!” He said, like he was saying “The floor is flat!”
I’d never seen my man shed a tear in his life. Not even when the children were born. Not that he was present at any of them. That wasn’t the done thing in our day. Anyway, to see him like that, completely breaking down in that room in front of the Doctor, crying his heart out, well, it got me bubbling as well. What a state the pair of us were in. When the waterworks stopped, I felt a real sense of relief. Things were going to change.
He obviously realised the enormity of the situation. We thanked the Doctor and left. I was parched, in dire need of a cup of tea, even if it was hospital tea. He said he didn’t want anything. We walked out in silence, I periodically stopped pretending to look in shop windows but taking a quick sip of my weak tea.
Then…I’ll never forget it. I remember it like it was yesterday. He was licking his lips like a dog, like he didn’t notice he was doing it. He was quiet, I thought he was contemplating, meditating on what the doctor said. He walked a bit faster, leaving me a step or two behind.
As we passed Quinn’s Bar a barman was clinking bottles, clearing an outside table. Campbell broke the silence. He asked for a drink of, well, whatever it was he drank. Vodka, Whisky, Brandy, Four Crown, he wasn’t fussy, anything he could his hands on. “Oh, come on darling, just one to settle the old nerves, it’s been an awful day”, he pleaded.
You see, his tears in that room, weren’t tears of contrition. Of how close he had come to losing everything. His tears were because the Doctor warned him that one more drink could potentially be his last. His tears were for the realisation that he couldn’t stop. His tears were for his liver, that like me, couldn’t cope with anymore of his drinking.
The tears that I shed, when he asked for a drink, were for the realisation, I knew in that moment, crystal clear, that he wouldn’t stop. I’d lost him. My Campbell was gone.