Tracy got up.  She grabbed the scotch.  How much is left?  About half, I said.  She said we just bought this bottle yesterday.  Then Tracy said anyone could get a job if they wanted.  She said that she got a job.  I told her, yeah, at Wally’s Grocery.  Tracy shook the bottle of scotch.  Wally’s pays for this, she said.  Then she stood at the kitchen sink and cried.

I put the game on.  I heard Tracy messing around in the kitchen in that familiar way.  I heard her getting the glasses.  She prepped our drinks as my team kept losing on the television.  I said to myself, here we go, things are all right now.  Soon she’ll come in with the drinks.  We’ll bullshit a little.  I’ll tell her how I’ve been looking for a job again.  Things will be square between us.

Tracy came in with one glass and the scotch bottle. She set it in the middle of the coffee table, and then sat on her side of the couch.  She looked out the window.  There wasn’t anything outside but people and their loud dogs.  There was nothing but life out there, and it was nothing like the life we had going on in here.

I downed a drink.  I sighed and acted like it gave me the ultimate in joy.  In truth, it felt like an ongoing obligation.  After I poured another one Tracy got up from the couch. She came back with her glass full of ice cubes.  Tracy slammed it down.  There were a few tears in her eyes.  Then she went back to looking out the window while I poured her a generous one, knowing that we’d both made an importance choice that night.