“Sam! How could you?” he screamed. “I told you specifically never to open that bottle of wine!”
Coming home from the hospital into the darkened house he’d spied the bottle lying emptied beside the couch. It was the ‘63 Chateau Lafite Rothschild. It had been in the cellar since their wedding in ‘64. A special gift from his father in-law who advised they open it on their 20th anniversary. And now their daughter, their only child, was lolling on the couch, wasted on a very special bottle of wine. A bottle worth more than the couch she sprawled out on.
“Dad, don’t be a douche bag!” she slurred from her slumped position. His daughter’s bleached platinum hair reflecting the light of the tv. He looked over the couch to the screen flashing with images of a music video on the new cable channel MTV. The sound was unrecognizable as music to his ears.
It was August 24, 1981 and the world had become strangely unrecognizable overnight. His sweet child no longer a child, instead an angry teenager who bleached her dark hair (it had been the same color as her mother’s hair) until it was stripped of all color. His family torn apart before his eyes, by hair dye and angry youth, and music he didn’t like, and mostly by a disease no one had ever heard of.
“Besides, she wouldn’t have been able to drink it anyway,” the girl giggled from the couch, “unless they poured it into her IV bag.”
Rage filled Bob in an instant like molten metal surging through his body. He reached over the back of the couch grabbing her under the arms. The girl’s weight surprised him, and for a split second he wondered if her army boots had lead in them. As he pulled her over the couch she suddenly came to life and began swinging her feet trying to break free. One of her boots made contact with his groin forcing him to drop the girl and drop to his knees, then fall to his side, gasping in pain. As she sprang free from his grip, Sam grabbed the empty bottle from beside the couch. She wielded the bottle like a bat holding it by the narrow neck, cocked over her shoulder ready to swing.
“Sam, please….” He saw her tear streaked face, black eyeliner running down her cheeks, then she was gone, running out the door into the night and away from the nightmare of their lives.
He’d hired a private detective before the police gave up looking for her, but even the detective could only provide speculative information on where she’d gone, reporting that LA had become the destination of choice for disaffected youth. After his wife died Bob thought he would see her at the funeral but she remained at large. Three years later, on what would have been the 20th anniversary of their wedding, Bob saw the small hand picked bouquet of flowers resting up against his wife’s headstone. The flowers were arranged in a dark green wine bottle with a faded cream-colored label. In red ink still faintly visible the year 1963.