She stood in the kitchen covered in flower. Her red apron smeared with butter and chocolate. The spring air flowed through the kitchen with smell of blooming dogwoods and fresh cut grass. Her fore head beaded with sweat from the heat of the oven. Flour finger prints wrapped around the oversized wineglass. A bottle of Pinot Grigio sat on the counter among the baking clutter, condensation, pooling at the bottom. The sun bounced off the green bottle displaying multicolored kaleidoscopes around the open country kitchen. Jesse hummed to the bluegrass playing in the background as she looked out the window watching her goats graze.. Jesse filled the glass to the brim and quickly gulped down half.
“Hey baby” Tyler says calmly… Jesse jumped startled from the surprise of his voice.
“Hey Hun, you scared me. How long have you been standing there?”
“I have been watching you for a few minutes,” Tyler exclaims as he grabs Jesse and pulls her close to him, leaning in to kiss her.
“Stop, I’m busy,” Jesse pouts pushing Tyler away. The smell of booze permeated his nostrils and filled his lungs with anger. Disappointed he let her go watching her eyes dart around the room. Tyler backs away rejected. Jesse refills her wine glass and takes another long sip.
“So, what is going on in here? You have not baked in months. It smells great.” Tyler tells Jesse trying to keep his mind off the nearly empty wine bottle on the counter.
“I just felt like some wine and doing some baking today… Is that ok with you?” Jesse bites at Tyler.
Not in the mood for a fight Tyler leaves the room.
“Axl, come here boy, cmon boy lets go for a walk.” Immediately the stout Chocolate Lab shoots out the back door and darts across the yard scaring the goats. Tyler lights a cigarette and walks slowly through the long grass dragging the heels of his boots..
“Axl, get your ball. Where is your ball? Axl darts off only to return as quick as he left with the dirty tennis ball in his mouth. Tyler takes a long drag of his cigarette and pulls the ball from the dog’s mouth and tosses it into the field on the other side of the fence. Axl darts up and down the fence until Tyler can get the gate open.
“What are we going to do with her Axl?” Tyler looks at his dog expecting a response.
“Even you know something is wrong don’t you?” Axl nudges Tyler’s leg to throw the ball again.
“Do you think she ever thinks about quitting? Do you ever wonder if she thinks about the mean tone in her voice that is always there when she is drinking?” Once again expecting or hoping his lab would have some wise wisdom on the state of his alcoholic girlfriend.
“Hell Axl, some days you love her more than you love me. What kind of bullshit is that? You are my dog!” Tyler yells throwing the ball even further out of frustration. Tyler and Axl walked the property to the sunset having a one way conversation and playing fetch.
As the sun completely set Tyler and Axl arrived at the back porch.. The lights were all on and he was ready to kiss Jesse.
“Really?” Tyler yelled after seeing two empty wine bottles on the counter.
“Babe, where are you? Hello? Jesse, where are you?” Tyler waited patiently for an answer. Quickly he ran upstairs with Axl close at his heels.
“Maybe she is just taking a nap Axl!” Tyler says to his dog. Tyler looks out the window and Jesse’s car is not in the drive way.
“I am so sick of this! Oh I swear I will slow down on my drinking she says.” Tyler mumbles to himself mocking Jesse.
He dials her cellphone to no avail as it rings from the living room.
“I know she is blacked out. Where on earth could she have gone? Back for more booze I am guessing.” Tyler has this familiar discussion with himself yet again.
The buzz of his cell phone vibrates from his shirt pocket.
“Babe, are you ok? Where are you? Tyler yells into the phone.
“Mr. Simms? Mr. Simms?” The voice on the phone interrupts Tyler.
“Yes, who is this?”
“Mr. Simms, it is Deputy Rawls with the Guilford County Sheriff’s department. Are you at home sir?”
“Yes, I am home. Why what is the matter? Tell me what is going on? Tyler yells back into the phone.
“Mr. Simms, I need you to relax. We have a deputy on the way to you now. Mr. Simms there has been an accident. Had Jesse been drinking?” Deputy Rawls asks in a firm voice.