This is the twenty-eighth part of a fiction serial, in 816 words.
A few days after my dad’s funeral, Becky mentioned the Burns Night celebration. She was going to the social club with her family, the one where we had our first date. They had that big Scottish party every year, but as she had almost always been working, she hadn’t gone to one since we got married. I had forgotten it, what with my dad dying, and my mum acting all withdrawn and quiet. I told her I wouldn’t be going. The last thing I needed was to spend the night eating haggis while a lot of pretend Scots danced around to Highland music.
Becky sulked a bit, then suggested it might cheer me up to go. But I stuck to my refusal, and didn’t think it was a big deal. She could stop over at her parents’ place, or get a taxi home. I certainly didn’t have any objection to her going.
But for some reason, she assumed I did.
I was woken up at almost two in the morning by the doorbell ringing. I wondered what was going on, sure Becky would have stayed with her parents, so didn’t think it would be her. It was a grumpy looking cab driver. “You will have to come and get this woman out of my cab mate. I can’t shift her, and she hasn’t paid the fare either”. Wearing only my boxers, I walked across to the car and saw her flat out on the back seat. Her tartan dress had ridden up over her hips, and she was mumbling incoherently. I dragged her out, and she collapsed onto her knees on the driveway. I had to bend down and get her over my shoulder, telling the driver I would be back with his money. I took her straight upstairs, and dropped her onto the bed.
The generous tip pleased the cabbie, and I was relieved that Becky hadn’t been sick in his car. He shook his head and smiled. “She seemed okay when she got in, gave me the address fine, and chatted about all sorts of stuff. Then halfway here, she just passed out. I was glad when you answered the door mate, I can tell you”.
Getting her undressed was a struggle, but I eventually got her into bed. I brought a glass of water from the kitchen, and a bucket too, in case she was sick. It took me ages to get back to sleep, and when I woke up the next morning she was still flat out, in the same position. The smell of whisky coming off her was overwhelming. I knew she rarely drank that, so that might explain why she had been so bad. I was glad that the party had been on a Saturday, and not on the actual Burns Night itself, as I would have had to have skipped work that day otherwise. But Becky was due in that night, and showed little sign of rousing.
I left her until just after one, then went up to wake her. She was in a foul mood, terribly hung over, and snapping at whatever I said. She refused to get out of bed, and later that day she rang in sick for her shift, the first time she had ever done that without being ill. I tried talking to her in the bedroom, but she just kept turning over. So I went down and watched a film, sticking a pizza in the oven at six when I got hungry. The day had been a complete write off, and the evening wasn’t looking too good either.
She finally came downstairs at close to nine. Wrapped in a blanket, and with a scowl on her face. I was watching the news, and she suddenly reached for the remote, and switched off the TV.
“Frankie, I was so annoyed that you didn’t come last night. Everyone was asking why you weren’t there, it was really embarrassing. I had to make out you were too upset about your dad to come out. Christ, that’s the first time I went to one of those since I met you, and you couldn’t even be bothered to come. That’s why I got so drunk you know, it was your bloody fault”. I let her ramble on a bit more, until she had exhausted her moans. I knew full well that she was feeling guilty about the state she had been in, and blaming me made it easier for her to deal with. But my refusal to engage in the argument made her even angrier.
She went into the kitchen and made a cup of tea, then went straight back up to bed with it. I debated whether or not to go up there and get the argument over and done with, and decided I didn’t need the aggravation with work in the morning.
That night, I slept on the sofa.