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Ten Years Sober (A day at a time)

It was ten o’clock at night, and Alice wasn’t yet back from her tea dance. The door clattered open, and in bounced Alice, with glazed eyes and slurred speech, looking a bit disheveled. She tells her daughter that the dance was cancelled, and they all went to the pub instead.

Alice had been attending the tea dances for three years, since her husband had died. She was a mere fifty five years old when Jack died, and she still had a lot of living to do. They had done everything together; holidays, looking after the grandchildren and going shopping. Now fifty eight, she had met a new man, and they were dancing partners. She envisaged a future together, getting married and riding into the sunset.

On the day of Alice's visit to the pub, she had gone to the tea dance, and to meet her beau as normal. She arrived and was waiting for him to show, when she saw that he was already dancing with another woman. As he twirled his partner during the tango, he saw Alice. The music stops, and he walks towards Alice, accompanied by the other woman. He acts as if he and Alice are just friends, and he introduces the other woman; his wife of thirty years, who has decided that she would come to the dances, as she never got to see her husband on a Wednesday.

Alice is bereft, but she manages to maintain a smile and she shakes hands with, what was her name; oh yes, Martha. Alice mumbles something about her partner not showing up, and leaves the dance. She wonders how she could be so stupid as to take up with a married man and not see the signs. After all, she used to be good at deception herself. Next stop, the pub, where she hasn’t been for ten years, since she started attending Alcoholics Anonymous.

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