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Leg in a cast, unable to drive, and restricted to a couch day and night, Bette’s townhouse had become a prison. In a dark funk, she wore the same shorts and tank top for days. She’d opted for only one sponge bath since the funeral, citing the clunky cast as her primary excuse.
Every corner of Bette’s townhouse evoked a memory of Avery. When the kitchen light flicked on, the morning ritual of cooking breakfast and sliding against each other as they danced to music floated in the air. When sunlight shined through the dining room glass door, the bay beckoned her to relive the evenings she spent with Avery in the deck chairs watching tankers float by.
The only way Bette got through the day was by numbing herself any way she could. Janet, though, had eyes in the back of her head and made for a strict babysitter. Janet knew when she had last taken a pain pill and when she could take the next, but Bette outsmarted her. Unfamiliar with the space between the couch cushions, Janet had yet to discover her hiding spot for the Johnny Walker.
“You’re not due for another pain pill for an hour, so I brought you another icepack, dear.” Janet applied a large blue therapeutic bag over Bette’s cast. “Any preferences for dinner tonight?”
Bette forced herself to a more upright position on the couch without tipping over the fresh ice pack. She sighed when she spoke. “Migas would be nice; they were Avery’s favorite when we ran late.”
“Well then, that means I have extra time on my hands before dinner. How about we get you into the shower and a fresh set of clothes?”
“I don’t know, Janet.” Personal hygiene had taken a backseat as did everything other than nursing a broken heart and ankle. “I don’t have the energy today.”
“A quick shower will do you wonders. I’ll set everything up, then come back and help you wrap your cast.” Before Bette could object, Janet bounced out of the room.
Bette slid her hand between the cushions and pulled out a half-empty bottle of Scotch. She took one large swig, then a second. The liquid warmed her throat but did little to warm her mood. Instead, soon the alcohol relaxed her body, and she sank further into the cushions, focusing on the cold emptiness around her.