Alcohol stole my wife. Not in any figurative sense. One day she was there, and then she wasn't.
I could still hear her snoring next to me at night. A sound I later realized was my sleep aid. After years of waking up smiling to myself while gently kissing her neck, or sometimes grumbling and giving a nudge with the most convenient extremity. It was the absence of that sound that led to sleepless nights.
I could smell the shampoo in her damp hair as she walked by, as tenaciously and as gracefully as she always had.
I could reach to her while we watched a movie and feel the same skin, the dry hands and imperfections of a heavy-handed tattoo artist. I knew to avoid touching certain fingers when times were stressful because she would nervously tear hangnails away from her nails until they bled.
I could steal an occasional kiss and request a softly spoken, "I love you too".
Much like the memory of your favorite jacket or the smell of cologne on a pillow, the realization that what we are experiencing is without structure, cuts across our souls slowly and accurately. Denial becomes both a friend and enemy. Time becomes an opponent. Happiness washes away with every forced smile and misconstrued attempt of conversation.
Alcohol stole our connection.
Exaggerations turned to lies. Patience turned to aggression. Smiles became smirks and whispers to insults.
What's right or wrong becomes lost, as does the ability to hold back sharp tongues. Words become knives and everyone bleeds.
The will of man is strongest when we feel that our freedom is challenged. For each of us, a battle had begun. The intangible cause of war, created a seemingly distant and exhausting road to resolution, just far enough out of reach that there was no visible shortcut.
Alcohol stole opportunity.
Theft, by definition is the act of stealing. An event that results in loss. There does not need to be gain for something to be stolen. Sometimes the real thief is the idea that we control or have ownership of anything but ourselves.