Nixon and Essie after the war… :/ Writing this for all of you that where on team Nix!
"She put him out like the burnin' end of a midnight cigarette
She broke his heart he spent his whole life tryin' to forget
We watched him drink his pain away a little at a time
But he never could get drunk enough to get her off his mind
Until the night
He put that bottle to his head and pulled the trigger
And finally drank away her memory"
Whiskey Lullaby, Brad Paisley
Chapter One: The Desire of Death
The dark kitchen was lined with empty green bottles of the famed Scottish whiskey. Overdue bills piled up along the counters, a smoldering cigarette trembling between the broken man's fingers. Lewis's eyes were glazed over as he ghostly gazed at an old photograph.
His arm was around her waist, her arm around his shoulders. The year was 1943, back in Camp Toccoa, Georgia. Ropes from the neighboring tents framed their lively and beaming faces. The short and beautiful girl was laughing with her big white smile, clearly amused at a joke a man of Easy Company was pulling. Their Camp Toccoa PT shirts were practically shining with the bright sunshine that blanketed that training camp that was once hated, but was now missed. Nixon had his dark eyebrows raised, a white Lucky Strike pinched in his cheery smile. He wasn't smiling for the camera… he was smiling for her.
He took another swig from the heavy crystal shot glass, the burning liquor searing his raw throat. The sporadic fits of screaming and sobbing had worn his soul bloody and raw. His eyes fixed on hers, the small hazel ones that had drove him crazy were now black dots. Her arched eyebrows laughed, her round ruby lips practically beckoning him. He took yet another drink.
Lewis was tempted to pitch the frame to the ground. Maybe, it would break away her painful memory. The whiskey wasn't working anymore. More unbearable memories flooded his throbbing head. I should have swept her away that night I gave her her wings. I should have told her I loved her that night in Holland. I should have held her tighter every chance I got. I shouldn't have let her slip away.
Fingerprints laced her face blanketed by the thin glass. It reminded him of that night the only thing he knew to do was feel her face. As if he was blind, he wanted to read those half-closed eyes like brail, capture the softness of her lips, the ruggedly beautiful grime on her tear stained cheeks. Lewis Nixon wanted nothing else but to caress her fine features for one last time. It was his dying wish.
Esther fell for Floyd Talbert, and kept running back to him… no matter how many times he hurt her. Nix held her more than once, every vein in his body coursing a beg for her to stay. Essie would go back to him.
He went to their wedding. He went for her, as he knew it would hurt her if he wasn't present. At that moment as he sat quietly in the small church pew, envy flooded his emotions. I should be there. I should be giving her that ring. I should be saying 'I do'… because I will.
He remembered his lips twitching when his best friend, Dick Winters, asked if anybody opposed the marriage. When George Luz warned, Lew was forced to swallow his pride. Though he was jealous and hateful towards Talbert, Nixon still wanted the best for Essie. Inside, his heart begged for him to have her. It knew she would be happier with him. But her's just wouldn't cooperate.
Pulling out of yet another agonizing trance, Nixon touched his shivering hand to his cheek. It was still warm. It was dotted with chilly lines of tears, though. Damn. I'm still alive.
Esther had written him before, offering him her undivided friendship. She wrote in her elegant script writing of her beautiful children. The ones he wished he could have given her. She spoke of the simple farmhouse she lived in with Tab, and how happy she was. At the closing, she would quietly and nearly whisper the thought of visiting him one day. It was a pleasant thought of seeing her, but Lewis knew it was as impossible as gaining her love and desires. Her life was now fulfilled.
The last few golden drops seeped from the green glass moth, pooling in the deepest area of his glass. Sniffling, he slammed the empty bottle to the warp kitchen table. I want to be dead. He wound the red string in his yellowing teeth, pulling the wax from the lid. The contact of the glass 'clinked' as he poured another vicious shot.
"Gory… gory… what a hell of a way to die…" he slurred, toasting in the air to nobody in particular. He subconsciously placed his shaking hand on his abdomen, his stomach protesting loudly as he downed another gulp. He ribs protruded profusely, his spine sticking from his skin like a mountain range. Her memory burned him further, feeling hot tears boil in his eyes.
Nixon ran his thin hand along his pale and sweaty face, pushing back his mangy, greasy black hair. He would have taken a shower, but the water lines had been shut off to rickety house.
Easy Company had given up on him. His parents and friends at Nixon Nitration Works had had enough of his grieving. Richard Winters though, would never give up on him. They had been through too much for that. He would visit every Friday after work, offering a meager amount of groceries. Just enough to keep him alive… much to Nixon's dismay.
Gritting his teeth, he shoved the cork back into the lip. He caressed it in the nook of his arm, pulling himself up. His head throbbed as it severely scolded him. Tripping and stumbling over dirty clothes, garbage and empty whiskey bottles, he finally made his way into the musky bed.
Lew moaned and groaned, drawing his aching knees up to his boney chest. He nestled deeper into the stiff and incredibly uncomfortable bed springs. With a cough, he let out one last desperate sob. Burying his head into the dusty pillow, stained with his sweat, Lewis mumbled one last beg for the night.
"Please… please. Bring her back to me…" he sobbed, drawing the cold bottle to his lips. "I'd rather die." His pleading voice broke the ghostly silence. He fell into a restless sleep, flipping and flopping with each burning thought of her making love to Floyd. Her lips on his, her fingers laced behind his neck… their skin touching.
Awakened by the cool moon, his zinging fingers searched for her body at his side. The queen sized bed was empty, as his soul was gone. At last, he picked up the picture frame resting at his bed stand. He brought the night air chilled glass to his parched lips, another tear meeting with the glass. Fighting the urge to give in and pull his sidearm from the rattling drawer, he instead discovered a weathered letter.
His seemingly beyond repair- broken heart thumped back to life. The yellow page was from Esther. At the bottom was signed with her elegant name 'Esther Lou Talbert'… and her seven digit telephone number. "Call me if you want you talk, Nix."
After passing hours off contemplating, the orange sun peeked over the horizon of New Jersey. Swallowing down a rancid mouthful of agony, he jammed a trembling finger into the hole of the black Rotary phone. First he dialed her Iowa area code, and then had spun the ring around with pure memorization.
It rung five times and a ping of disappointment washed through him.
"Hello? Talbert residence…" her now mature but familiar voice sweetly sang through, making his heart thump ferociously.
His lips quivered, only able to make inaudible croaks.
"Hello? Who is calling?" His body locked up with her words. Lewis wanted to own that voice.
This won't be a long story- kind of an elongated epilogue I guess you could say!
Thank you for any feedback you have to offer, and I hope you enjoyed this wondertogonder'cuz I'm writing it for you! ;)