ARIA LEN - THE PERFECT COCKTAIL
Aria Len is a student of Full Sail University and is working towards her BFA in Creative Writing For Entertainment. As the daughter of an English teacher, Aria was introduced to the magic of books and writing and since then her love for written words has driven her to a career filled with her two favorite past times.
THE PERFECT COCKTAIL
As he accepted the drink she’d offered him, her heart pounded in her chest. She watched silently as her husband caressed the rim of the glass with his index finger. He looked up at her from his seat on the small sofa and motioned for her to sit down. She cringed as she slowly lowered herself into what used to be her favorite spot beside him on the blue suede sofa. He continued to burn a hole in the side of her head with his shadowed glare.
“I’ll get the papers to you tomorrow. I’m just hoping this can go as smoothly as possible.” His tone was precise.
“Nate, we don’t have to do this. It doesn’t have to end this way.” Maggie’s voice was strained like the strings of a violin.
“This isn’t working and it hasn’t been working for a while. I’ve known this and so have you, Maggie. Let’s stop pretending it wasn’t coming to this.” He sat forward and placed his drink on the coffee table.
She felt her stomach turn as she looked at his glass. He’d picked them. He’d picked everything, from the faded tan wallpaper to the sickly gray carpet that hid the beautiful wooden floors beneath it. This was another reason she considered signing the papers without any thought; his taste in home décor was another knuckle to her jaw.
“Do you love her?” her words swept through the silence like fallen leaves on a windy day. Her body tensed as she fought back tears.
Nate sighed and recovered his abandoned drink. “No. I can’t say I love her, but I can say that I like her enough to make me realize that marrying you was a huge mistake.” He would have continued telling Maggie how amazing Gabrielle was and how a prostitute was better than her, but he saw the tears that shrink wrapped her round blue eyes and the last thing he wanted was her to be scorned. A scorned woman made for a long, complicated divorce.
“I don’t understand. I loved you, Nate. I still do. I’m keeping my promise to stay for better or for worse.” She covered her mouth with her trembling hand.
“I admire you for that, but I can’t keep my end of the bargain.” He glanced at the drink in his hand and realized he needed it more than ever. The glass approaches his lips and in three large gulps, it’s gone. “Christ, Maggie! After all of those bartending classes I paid for, you still can’t make my favorite drink right!”
She said nothing, but her body suddenly relaxes into the old sofa. The headrest engulfs her tiny neck as she looks up at the ceiling. A small chuckle escapes her.
“What’s so damn funny?” he watches her and waits for an answer. “Well? Are you gonna tell me what’s so damn funny? Have you gone mad?”
“You said I still couldn’t make your drink right.” She gave a big, toothy, grin just like the one she had when she’d seen her engagement ring for the first time.
“Yes, that’s exactly what I said, Maggie. Why is that funny?”
“That’s actually the best cocktail I’ve ever made. Actually, I’d say it’s the perfect cocktail.”
Nate had decided it was best to end this conversation now. It was time for him to go. As he stood, he experienced a minor case of vertigo. He briefly closed his eyes and reopened them as the rollercoaster ride came to a slow halt. He turned to look at his wife. She’d stretched her thin arms along the back of the sofa and her legs were crossed. He scoffed and took a step toward the door. Somehow, he must have lost his footing because he tumbles to the floor like a freshly cut tree. Embarrassed, he hurries to return to his feet, but his body is paralyzed. As he lay there on his back, staring at the ceiling, he felt his breath being stripped from him.
Maggie watched as the lump in his throat throbbed rapidly. She lifts herself from the sofa and gently plops herself to the floor. Like an infant, she crawls over to her husband and wraps her arm around him. Kissing his lips, she looks into his fading eyes. She laid her head on her husband’s chest and allows his slowing heartbeat to lull her to an eternal sleep.