He was only out of hospital with the Covid. Said he nearly died. I knew it wasn’t the Covid at all that had him in there, hooked up to all sorts of pipes, wires, bleeping machines.
I told him to stop what he was doing, stop the drink as the Covid loves people that abuse alcohol, people that are overweight, people that are unhealthy. Most people that die from the Covid are unhealthy. That’s a fact.
“But you drink too,” he replied. “You drink every night, I’d say?”
“Yes, but I can stop if I want,” I replied. “That’s the difference and I’m healthy, a good enough weight, I get out and walk every day.”
I carry on as he’s really listening now, not interrupting.
“You sit all day, always have done. This might be a chance for you to change your life, lose weight, stop drinking.”
He is quiet for a while, I hear him breathing, still a catch in his chest there.
“I’m not stopping for anyone or any virus,” he replies after a while. “I enjoy my drink. You should too.”
I hear him tackling a new bottle, clinking away.
We stay on the phone like that for the evening. I get myself a drink too. But, just the one.
Rozz Lewis is a primary school teacher living in Carlow. Her stories have been published in a number of magazines including The Stinging Fly, Boyne Berries, Wordlegs, The Galways Review, Silver Apples, Crannog, Spontaneity and Literary Orphans. http://www.rozz.ie http://www.theholdingcell.eu