The Niggle by Helen Jeffery
You tell yourself it’s not a problem
You don’t have an issue
You could stop any time you wanted
But you don’t. You don’t stop. You keep going
You go at every opportunity there is
It’s your birthday. Her Birthday. His birthday
It’s the wedding - the Christening - the party.
It’s the weekend - that picnic - or barbeque.
It’s Friday. It’s Saturday, It’s Sunday.
It’s a bad day. Bad week. Bad month.
You deserve it. It’s a treat. It’s sociable -
But sometimes...there’s no-one else there so-
What is it then?
Well, then it’s a.. way to take the edge off
Blur the issues, forget the stresses of - of- work.
Of kids. Of - life.
And you know what? It’s fine.
It’s abso -bloody-lutely fine because you
Don’t have a problem.
Because you could stop whenever you want
It’s just that you don’t want - to stop, that is
Not yet. (pause)
Yet you know. Deep down you know.
That it’s not good to be counting down the hours until
You can have a drink and no-one will frown
Not good to be thinking of days out that might involve
A glass of wine (or two) with lunch - or a nice walk with
A detour en route for a freshly pulled pint or- even better still,
A cold glass of white or a smooth red as a reward at the end
For making it through.
And when the hangovers start to eat into your days
You laugh it off as just ‘getting older’ and stock up on
Alka seltzer, taking one every morning just to clear the fog when
BANG! There it is again - the niggle.
And worse still, when you wake the next day with NO recollection
Of the last hour of the last night it plants a seed and it starts to grow
No longer just a niggle but a bloody great big bell that you can’t silence
cos...you’re not stupid.
And finally, when you don’t want to admit that the thought
Of not having any in the house fills you with a sense of panic
Which you push down and swallow.
Finally, when you know that you can’t ignore it any longer
You face the facts. Head on now.
And you start to unpick