He licked his lips in anticipation.His taste-buds could almost savour the cool bitterness of chilled beer.Beads of sweat formed at his forehead as he tried to fight his dilemma.
He glanced outside in the direction of his car-as if willing it to magically transform into his therapist and physically drag him out of the store.
But there was no one with him at the moment.He was left to fend for himself.
He weighed the possibilities-
His wife was at work.He could finish off the beer in his car and chuck the bottle at a roadside bin and go home.He will sober up by the time Carol returned.She has to know nothing.
And besides what harm could 1 or even 2 bottles of beer do?Surely he could handle that much.
Deep within he knew that it was a shallow argument he was presenting before his own conscience.But then what other option did he have?The allure was too strong.
'Oh...screw it.' he thought and picked up 2 white cans from the rack.He looked around the store nervously as if half expecting someone to ambush him from behind.
He wiped his forehead on his sleeve and proceeded towards the counter.
His cell-phone vibrated twice.
'Dammit..this better not be Carol.' he swore thinking of his wife.
His home number flashed on the phone screen.
'Daddy....' a high-pitched shriek greeted him from the other end as he answered the call.
'Cheryl'-he whispered as if realizing something for the very first time.He felt as if he had been hit by a bolt of lightning.
He closed his eyes.
'I got an A in Math...I got an A...yayy' the voice was bubbling with childish excitement and enthusiasm.
He inhaled deeply,suddenly reminded of how badly he had missed this voice in the past half an year-how he had regretted losing out to his own animal desires-how he had vowed to start anew.
'Mommy said I can have ice-cream...can you bring some on your way home?Please..pretty please!'
His wife had never left him alone despite the repeated threats for divorce.Reluctantly,furiously,grudgingly she had always stayed by his side during his darkest nights.
How could he have been foolish enough to even consider throwing it all away again?
'Hmm....let's see now..what flavor do you want?' he replied in a mock-serious tone.
'The black currant one... ' the voice on the other end shouted excitedly.
'Sure thing cherrypie...you be a good girl and finish your homework okay?Daddy will be back in an hour..' he answered back and cut the call.
He placed the cans securely on the rack from where he had picked them up and slowly walked to the other side of the store.
What 6 months of rehab couldn't accomplish his 8 year-old daughter did easily with one phone call.
He smiled at the irony of it all.
Never again will he succumb to temptation.
P.S:I had originally intended to develop this idea into a 55-word fiction but then somehow I felt I couldn't do justice to the inner conflict that an addict faces in such a short span.That's how this version came into existence.