She never had a reason to drink. Now, at 9:23am on a Tuesday in September, she filled a Glencairn glass with Christian Brothers. She let the brandy seduce her, caress her, undress her. It fulfilled her in a way she had not been in a long time. She would go out for a drink but, given the time, the bars were not open yet. On top of that, John was there. She would not leave John.

She had married John 28 years ago. She, about 2 months prior to their wedding day, decided that she would love him. It was not passion. It was volition. John was strong. He was handsome. He was funny. There was not a single thing wrong with John but she could not love him in the way that people were supposed to love. She had always been this way. She had to set her mind to emotion. She never felt it. She gave off the appearance of feeling but underneath her flawless olive skin was machinery. A closed heart does not feel. A glass eye does not see.

She had decided to love John. Come rain or shine, snow or sleet, she would be there for him. She was the United States Postal Service of monogamy. If she was anything, she was resourceful. When John started appearing at the Bible study she attended in 1987, she pitted him against a mental checklist and he fit the bill. He was career driven, pursued God, spoke quietly with a sort of sad, self-removed wisdom and he had a dog. Check. Check. Check. Check.

So she went for it. She feigned being hard to get as a means to an end. She knew how the game was played and she won it. She married John a year later and the marriage worked. It simply worked as it should. For 28 years it worked.

She refilled her glass and went into the room where John was sitting. The television was on but it was not being watched. “I love you, John,” she said sleepily. John did not respond. He had not moved from his chair in weeks.