Breadcrumb #278


Another long week. Rey returns home from Job. As he walks through the door, he reminds himself why he does this every day. How else will he pay the mortgage and feed Wife and Kids? Her teacher salary? Please. Though Wife probes him about his day, he refuses to give anything besides the occasional grunt. She should know by now he would rather talk about politics than Job. He hates talking about politics.

    They put the children to sleep. Though exhausted, he’s never too tired to fuck. That makes one of them. He massages her shoulder, their unspoken sign for sex. At his prompting, she shrugs him off and rolls over to the other side. “Good night,” she says. Now too horny to sleep, Rey reaches for his phone for a distraction. Anything will do. Like the text he received from Bud. Another invite for drinks at their local watering hole. What is usually an empty gesture is today an escape for the night.

    Rey glances at his wife to see if she’s asleep. “Honey, I’m going to grab a few drinks with Bud,” he whispers. As he throws on his peacoat, he texts Wife just in case she wakes up in the middle of the night, wondering where he went off to. She can hold the fort for a couple of hours.

What is usually an empty gesture is today an escape for the night.

    He walks to his SUV parked a few blocks down and makes his way to the pub. Bud is already at the bar, halfway through his first Heineken. Rey orders the usual whiskey coke. As they drink, Bud goes through the woes of the divorce proceedings, the same information he conveys via text every week. At the end of his update, Rey lays his hand on Bud's shoulder and tells him everything will be okay. That independence isn’t always a bad thing. Over their second drink, Bud discuss Daughter’s budding acting career. He couldn’t be prouder. His daughter, the beautiful starlet. On drink #3, the room starts to wobble like a rickety boat. Already? Those drinks did taste more whiskey than coke. Bud glances at his Apple Watch. It’s late and he should be heading home. He has an early morning meeting at Firm. Rey wants to finish his drink so they part ways. Bud lives on the block so he simply walks home. Lucky.

    Finish his drink, Rey does. Reason tells him he should return to his family now. That he’s had enough fun for the night. But the night’s still young and he has no early morning meeting. He’s an asset to Job. He could tell them he’ll be coming in late or take the whole day off and they wouldn’t bat an eye. So, when Bartender comes back around Rey orders an Old Fashioned. He takes his time casually sipping his drink and scrolling down his Instagram feed. He’s old enough to know the happy images presented are all fabrications, just like his. He lands on a photo Wife posted today. It’s an old picture they took in the park a few months ago when Son first started walking. When you see the picture, you wouldn’t be crazy the assume they’re a happy family. Bud took similar photos months ago.

    Bartender tells Rey it’s last call, so he downs his drink and closes his tab. Reason tells him he should call an Uber, that it’s too risky to drive in his current state. But, once again, Pride gets the best of him. After all, Home is only a 15-minute drive away and traffic is light at this late hour. Rey gets into his car and drives through the haze of blurry lights bleeding into each other. His eyes droop. The blaring sound of a horn startles him awake as he crosses an intersection on a red light. His lightning-quick reflexes save the day. He jerks the wheel to the side, narrowly avoiding a full-on collision with the van. Their bumpers tap. Rey and Driver get out of their cars to inspect the damage. Nothing but a light dent on Rey’s car. The van is spotless. Concerned, Driver offers to take Rey home. Rey says he’ll be fine. He gets back into his car and takes the slowest, most sobering drive down the last few blocks. Maybe God, the Universe or Life itself is warning him to stop this before it’s too late. In that moment, he vows that he will, but, deep down, we all know how this story ends.

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