‘Damn these child proof caps,’ I said after 10 frustrating minutes trying to unscrew the white cap off the amber bottle. I had half a mind to take the little bottle downstairs into my dusky work shop and smash the container with a hammer. I’d be able to get at the pills then. However, I knew my arthritis would never allow me to navigate the stairs, much less grip a hammer. I could probably make it down – gravity would help but I’d never be able to climb up. I’d be stuck in the basement and would probably starve to death. I left the bathroom and headed down the hall, into the kitchen. This kitchen had once been the center of our world with children grew up and grandchildren visited bringing their joy to every holiday. That was before the cancer took Laura and Martha’s divorce kept the grand-kids in Denver until coming home became a chore.

Meals on wheels would show up around sundown and I wanted to have this damn bottle open before they arrived. I hated the look on the drivers face anytime I asked a favor. They acted as if I asked for a kidney. ‘I gave you one yesterday old man, and now you’re asking for my only kidney? How dare you!’ No thank you. I never wanted to suffer that indignity again. Being dependent on others for anything was the greatest indignity of all.  I pulled every drawer open and threw wide every cabinet door yet did not see anything that would help. For some reason Archimedes came to mind. ‘Give me a lever long enough and a fulcrum on which to place it, and I shall move the world,” It was indeed my world that I wanted to move.’ The light went on, the refrigerator light that is.

I nestled the bottle inside the refrigerator door jam and swung the door closed. I heard a large snap as the door bounced back open. Inside the jam was the pill jar surrounded by a small nest of little white pills. Good, I thought, very good. I picked them up, one by one and placed them on the counter. 23 in all. That should be enough. I’d been collecting these little gems for over a year for this very night. The anniversary of Laura’s last breath.

My plan was to simple –  to wash them down with a stiff drink, but that was too common. Laura deserved a grand gesture. There in the refrigerator was a wedge of Stilton. That should go nicely with the bottle of port from the last Thanksgiving the grand-kids were here. I told Alexa to play some Mozart’s flute concerto began to play. God! I hated that thing. In her guilt Martha thought this abomination from Amazon would be a suitable replacement for family. I pressed the little white pills all around the soft cheese and carried it, and the wine into the living room for an evening of sensual pleasure.

The pain in my body lessened as I sipped the wine and tasted my favorite cheese. ‘so much cheese, so little time’ I thought as the Mozart’s third movement began. I closed my eyes and listened as the flute soared toward heaven.

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