Pickled Picnics

Written in response to August Writing Prompts by M


Marie was exhausted. She had been driving for five hours straight. She wasn’t very keen about the picnic. Initially, She thought of her husband’s family as drunken fools. Weddings, holidays, get-togethers, somebody’s graduation, her pregnancy – everything started and ended with alcohol. At first, it was like a fun idea, everyone sitting around the dining table or couch and drinking as they talked. Then she miscarried. She was totally devastated, while her husband drowned himself in whisky barely being there for her. She didn’t expect him to console her or anything, she was just too afraid to be alone. He drank with his siblings and his parents, all of them crying and howling, while Marie sat there alone, in the dark. Alcohol was the solution to everything. He combatted joblessness with Vodka. He drank, drove, and drank some more. He got penalized for drunk driving and his license was revoked. In a rage, he sold his car and drank some more with all that money.

He was suffering from the disease of denial. At first, she hated the malodour that wafted off of him. But lately, it took the form of an olfactory syndrome, she could not distinguish the smell of alcohol, in parties, in pubs, even at her own house. She stayed in this marriage because she had loved him. Never once had he risen his voice, yelled at her, or even argued annoyingly. But nowadays she couldn’t distinguish between his original personality and his drunken one. She took him to many doctors, alcohol addiction programs, thrown away bottles but that just drifted them apart. She put all her resources just to understand his problem. But he suffered from denial and alcoholism at the same time.

They reached the beach. They were all seated on a picnic blanket, with more alcohol less food. His sister was on the brink of drunkenness dancing with her husband, her kids were running around. Marie sat beside her mother-in-law. She tried to smile. She felt out of place. She noticed that everybody was drunk. Then her gaze shifted to her husband. She realized he was always drunk, very drunk, no matter what time of the day it was. She had an urge to do something suddenly, like sprint off leaving everybody behind. She kept sifting her fingers and smiling occasionally. That’s when she noticed one of the children, sipping alcohol while everyone was looking away. She raised her voice. The family denied and blamed her for trying to frame a child. She looked at her husband who wasn’t conscious. He couldn’t even stand up on two legs, let alone stand up for her.

She stood up and screamed FUCK YOU ALL before flouncing towards her car. That’s how Marie drove away from a pickled picnic and a regretful relationship.

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