I held it like the glass baby it was, to be nurtured, looked after, never to exchange hands. Each carbonated sip led to a dull feeling of happiness to return from it’s lengthy hiatus – since yesterday. Everything had been just fine yesterday, just like today would be just fine the next. The human memory is a strange beast, inaccurate and always able to find the positives of the dusty past, while simultaneously able to make recent events shine with the gloss of tragedy and despair. And that, is why I bought a case of these brown bottles. Don’t get me wrong – I’m not an alcoholic, I don’t even like to drink much apart from what comes out the tap. But every now and then, this shelf bought therapy was just what the doctor didn’t order. The price of a box of beer is £10; the cost of a one hour session with a psychologist £70. The benefit, apart from price, being that beer doesn’t ask questions and you can take it everywhere.
Like Scotland has whisky, Russia has vodka, France has wine, so Belgium has beer. This stuff was imported, none of that foreign-sounding-nametag-but-brewed-in-the-UK shite. As more liquid poured down my gullet I thought of all the other things from Belgium or at least associated with the much maligned nation. Chocolate, and diamonds, but then the diamonds were from Africa, so technically that left chocolate..and beer. Still, not a bad legacy. Plenty of countries have done less. What has Uzbekistan ever done?
At that moment my eyes closed, soft lidded like a shop front gently closing. My mind drifted to booking a trip to Brussels and to the tour of beer factories, ending with me breaking from the tour group and diving head first, mouth open into a vat. Never mind. I opened my eyes again and chugged the rest of the beer down, spotting the calendar on the opposite wall of this forsaken living room. November. As if I needed a reminder. It was pissing with rain outside. ‘Outside’ – struck me as the most needless addition to ‘rain’. Where the fuck else is it going to be raining? Anyway, it was miserable outside, dark and only half three. It was even more miserable inside. My wife had been cheating on me again.