Luck and Whiskey

“Rub the tip for good luck,” Granny said, gesturing to the squat statue perched on the stone table by the front entrance.

“I know, Granny,” I reached out and rubbed my hand over the well polished tip as I had ever since my first visit to her house back when my father had to lift me by the armpits so that I could reach.

She watched me with a critical eye, finally stepping aside to let me into the house after she determined I had rubbed off enough luck. “Tea or whiskey?”

“Whiskey,” I said immediately, “one rock.” I was twelve the first time she asked and had hesitantly responded with tea. I only made that mistake once.

I followed her through the winding hallways of the estate to the back parlor and cautiously eased down onto the stiff loveseat. Even though it had been reupholstered at least three times to match the new décor schemes, I could tell that it was still the same loveseat from my childhood. I smoothed my hands once against my jeans, wishing I could escape to the bathroom to wash my hands and douse them in purifier. But that would wash off the luck and then Granny would never agree to my request.

I took a sip of the whiskey as soon as she placed it into my hand. After five years, the burn no longer caused me to cough. Only after I swallowed did I meet her gaze with a smile. “Thanks, Granny.”

She thunked a bowl of peanuts down on the coffee table and sat across from me in the arm chair, her own whiskey clutched in her talon-like fist. “College.”

I swallowed hard and rested the whiskey tumbler on my knee. I delayed responding for three long heartbeats before I licked my lips, waiting to see if she would elaborate. “I received an invitation to study at Oxford.”

“They drink tea at Oxford.”

“They drink tea a lot of places, but I will not.”

Granny drained half of her tumbler before responding. “Why Oxford?”

Several responses flitted through my mind and I had to bite my lip to keep from blurting them out immediately. Fresh start. Escape.  “It would open so many doors that I would not have if I went to a public university.”

“There are private universities here. There is one down the road, even. Your father went there.”

“I know, he told me. I would still like to go to Oxford. They offered me a full ride. I would only need to pay travel expenses.” I took a sip of the whiskey, hoping to calm my nerves enough to allay the trembling of my hands.

“Your father told you no.”

“He said if I go to Oxford I will never be welcome again in his home.”

Granny finished her whiskey and rose to her feet. “You will come home for every holiday?”

“I would like to if it is feasible.”

I listened to the clink of ice on the glass and the slosh and crackle of the whiskey as it poured over the ice. “Christmas, Easter, spring break, fall break, summers. You will spend all of them here. You will work around the estate to pay off your travel expenses. And if I find out you have been drinking tea…”

“Thank you, Granny.”

“I will handle your father. Finish your drink and go home. Remember to give the tip a rub on your way out.”

“For luck,” I finished, a smile creeping across my lips.

“For luck,” Granny agreed. We locked gazes and in unison we drained our whiskeys.

At the age of six, Eliza was certain of two things. The first was that she had stories to tell. The second was that she had no talent for illustrating them herself. Talent or no, she still wrote and illustrated her first book, one that should be located and locked away if only to prevent her parents from embarrassing her terribly by showing it off alongside baby pictures. Now she spends her days writing stories that she isn't embarrassed to show off after a little bit of polishing.

1 Comment

  • Zidders Roofurry says:

    You’ve got a great writers voice. I love the vibe between these two and the way your words flow. I especially love the way you use whiskey and tea to convey their relationship. Good stuff.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.