She walked into the apartment and looked at the two people inside. The one that had opened the door and the one walking into the room from the kitchen. They were her lifeline in this place. They were her demon. She entered the room, recognizing and at the same time ignoring the expressions on the two faces. She did not want their pity. But she did know that they knew what she was dealing with and would give her the few moments of refuge that she sought here. Settling onto the cough she sighed. This was not what she had dreamed of, this was not the happy ever after that the movies and books had talked about. This, was a never ending nightmare. Her musings were interrupted when a wine glass was moved into her line of vision. When she looked up at her brother-in-law he smiled gently.
"Think of it as medicine." was all he said as she reached out and took the glass. The deep reddish colored liquid sloshed in the glass. Lifting it to her lips she took that first sip. It burned, oh how it burned as it went down. The warmth of the wine spread with each sip as her worries were washed away. Several glasses later, each one having been poured with the words, 'think of it as medicine' she placed the glass on the table in front of her and stood unsteadily. Grinning goofily she turned to go. She would be okay now, she had fallen to his level.
Opening the door she looked at the steps before her. In her condition going down safely was going to be a challenge. Swaying slightly she reached for the handrail. Slowly and carefully she moved down the steps, giggling as her own thoughts. One foot went down to the first step. Once it was secure, she moved her other foot beside it. This continued one step at a time all the way down. Reaching the bottom without incident she raised her hands in triumph. Turning, she faced the mobile home that she called home. As she staggered across the large drive that was a communal access for both the apartments and mobile homes she passed a fellow resident. Grabbing her neighbor by the arm she began telling her a joke almost as old as she herself was. Chuckling at her own brilliance and comedic talent she staggered away, ignoring her neighbor's shaking in laughter. Not caring whether the neighbor was laughing at or with her. Nothing mattered at this moment.
Entering the mobile home she made her way slowly over to the kitchen table. Dragging a chair out she went to sit down near the window. Missing the chair she sat heavily on the floor. Laughing at her own clumsiness she lay her head on the seat of the chair. That was the moment the tears began.