“It’s too soon to know,” whispered a voice.
“He has been under a lot of stress lately. It’s hard on him, with his friend disappearing and then the divorce.”
“You should consider it though.”
“His mother will never agree to it.”
“But she’ll agree to the original plan?”
“Yes, I’m sure she will.”
“Okay, it’s a good first step.”
Finding himself stretched across the sofa, Charlie swung his feet to the floor, only to be overcome with dizziness. He waited for the head rush to pass before standing on uneasy feet and slowly making his way toward the voices.
“What about your ex-wife’s mental condition?”
“I know what you’re thinking and I agree. She needs medication, but that is going to be tough because she is convinced she must face her problems without meds.”
“Hmmmm, this is not good for Charlie.”
Charlie fumbled through the dark toward the light of the kitchen. His heart pounded hard in anticipation of the visions. I should be shit faced right now, thought Charlie. He could not take his mind off the alcohol that was in the cupboard, but it was impossible to sneak past his father and the doctor. A bottle of rum, new and unopened was there waiting for him. He longed for it and could practically taste the sweet sugary, burning liquid. He was distracted by movement along the wall. Panic filled him. Standing still, he shifted his eyes toward the motion and a dark form of a person appeared. He rubbed his eyes, squinted a few times and crept toward it.
A cold hand grasped his arm, pulling him close.
“Shhh,” said his mother. She held on to him as if she feared he would slip away. Then she began to run her fingers through his hair. “I love you more than anything else in the world Charlie. You know that, right?” she whispered.
“Of course mom,” he said.
“Let’s go,” she said and pulled him gently into the kitchen.
“Look who’s up,” said Mrs. Lane cheerfully.
“How are you feeling, Charlie?” asked the doctor.
“Ok, I guess,” responded Charlie.
Mr. Lane rose from the table where he was seated and there was a noise of wood scrapping against tile as he pulled out another chair.
“Please sit Charlie,” he said, and then motioned his ex-wife to the other chair.
Charlie obeyed, and knowing some decision had already been made, he tried hard to control the rage that filled him.
“So, I hope you boys have not made any decisions without me,” said Mrs. Lane sarcastically. "After all he’s still a minor and I am still his mother.”
Dr. Murray shot Mr. Lane a look of caution. “Well, we all agree that Charlie has a drinking problem and needs some help, right?”
Mrs. Lane nodded in agreement, but her eyes began to narrow.
Charlie stared out the little kitchen window over the sink. The sky was now gray with hints or orange as the sun began to set. He willed the intervention to end soon.
“Charlie?” said the Doctor.
“I guess,” he responded.
“There is no guessing here. The first step is to admit you have a problem, we can’t continue without you realizing this,” pleaded Dr. Murray.
Wanting the meeting to end, Charlie finally nodded his head.
“Okay what we want to do is sign you up from Alcoholics Anonymous.”
This is bullshit, thought Charlie. I can stop drinking whenever I want.
Mrs. Lane shifted in her seat, rested her hands on the table and released a sigh.
“I think this is a good idea, Charlie,” she said and she reached across the table, grabbing one of Charlie’s sweaty hands.
“Sure, mom.” Despite the anger he felt for her absence, and the fact that he did not have a drinking problem, he wanted to make her happy. Her touch still comforted him and momentarily took away thoughts of the visions.
Gulping hard, Charlie looked up at the faces upon him and said, “I’ll do it, okay?”
Dr. Murray smiled wide and Mr. Lane gave a short nod of the head. Mrs. Lane’s eyes sparkled with delight and she squeezed his hand hard.
“You’re hurting me mom,” protested Charlie.
She smirked and raised her free hand to her face to wipe back the tears that rolled down her cheeks.
“I already made a few calls,” said Dr. Murray. “The meetings are every Monday and Wednesday at 5 o’clock at the First Baptist Church.”
A hard lump formed in Charlie’s throat and he looked up at his father. Mr. Lane was resting against the sink, arms folded across his chest, and staring at his ex-wife. Mrs. Lane released Charlie’s hand, tilted her head to the side and exhaled loudly.
“Baptist church!” she said. “Will they be pushing religion on my Charlie?”
“No, I guarantee that,” said the Doctor. “The church has allowed the groups to meet there for free.”
“For free?” she said angrily. “I doubt that.”
“Look, Joan,” said Mr. Lane. “I know where you are coming from and I agree, but Charlie needs help. Can we give it a week? If we find there is any type of religion pushing then we’ll find him another program.”
There was a pause, and then Mrs. Lane reluctantly nodded her head.