They were merely for decoration given that he hadn’t had a drink in six years. Six years, four months, and 27 days. It had started out innocently enough. The fight happened about three months in to his sobriety. As if on auto pilot, he’d left the house in a blind furry, slamming the heavy wooden door closed behind him, mumbling to himself as he walked down the driveway.

It wasn’t until he was standing in front of his favorite pub that he realized what it would mean if he went inside. Hesitating for only for a moment, he’d turned and walked even further into town, ducking his head as he passed another pub, the liquor store, and the town bum quietly sipping beer from a brown paper bag. He walked until there was nowhere to walk- until he hit the edge of town- and a brand new wine bar. Never having had a taste for the stuff, Eric walked inside, hoping to sooth his demons simply by being in a place filled with an alcohol he had never been tempted by.

He’d sat for hours, ordering nothing, much to the frustration of his waitress. In the end, he’d bought a bottle of their nicest red, carried it home, and left it sitting on the kitchen counter for weeks. Until the next fight, when he again, found himself in the wine bar for several hours, absorbing nothing but the calming atmosphere and the smell of alcohol, before he again purchased a fancy imported Cabernet and carried it home, setting it on the counter next to the other.

Eventually, Grace had bought a wine stand for him to put the bottles on display, each one representing a time they had fought and overcome.

Friends would visit, inquire about the bottles, but wine was never offered. An inside joke. A secret battle won. An effort against the war that constantly raged inside.


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