At the time I did not know anything. I remember always peering into the living room as a kid; Ma always curled up on the couch with a bottle beside her and a blanket covering her lap no matter the season. In my memory, she was always there looking up at the ceiling. Sometimes I would see her taking sips from the bottle. I cannot remember a time where a bottle was not beside her.
I watched you, Dad. A few minutes after you tucked me into bed I would sheepishly wobble down a few steps from the 2nd floor. Every night I saw you sit with Ma. Not only were you beside her but your expression would mimic hers. When I started nodding off, you would get up and collect the bottles on the table beside her–as if you knew. That was when I would scramble off back to my bed.
The room was mostly empty, especially considering its enormous size. A black couch stood up against the western wall. Two small tables stood on each side of the couch, covering the empty space between the couch’s sides and the walls. A small lamp rested on one of these side tables. A coffee table was centered a foot in front of the couch. A small cabinet rested at the other side of the room, the eastern wall. There was nothing else in the room–no phone, no T.V., no radio–besides for Ma and her bottles.
Notably, there were no windows in the room, depriving the room of light. The atmosphere shivered with an empty feeling. It felt like walking into an abandoned cemetery; pain of melancholy pinging an eremitic misery up from my feet, ascending through my spinal chord, and stinging my neck. But at that age I only could describe this feeling as a darkness overwhelming me.
I did not go into the room very often anyways, but when I did, I only stayed for a few minutes. She would call me in once awhile to grab a bottle from the refrigerator or bring her a snack. She never really looked at me. I couldn’t even remember a time where she hugged me. I guess in a way I was just “there”. At that age, I didn’t really care or really notice.