Michelle was gone when Kelly finally pulled herself out of bed the next morning. A note by the coffee maker indicated that she had gone back to help Toni with her car. Kelly poured herself a cup from the by-now cold carafe and put it into the microwave to warm while she looked for something to eat.
Her decision of the previous day weighed heavily on her as she hesitated by the Baileys, her usual addition to Sunday morning coffee - or any morning I can get away with it - but after a moment of chewing on her lip she turned away and opened the refrigerator for the creamer. Michelle would only laugh at her if she returned in the afternoon to find Kelly "napping" on the couch.
Finally, Kelly settled at the kitchen table with a bowl of cereal and a second cup of rewarmed java. She skimmed the paper that Michelle had left, as she usually did, scattered across the surface, and tried not to think about what she had decided to do.
Thirty days hadn't seemed such a long time when she was discussing it with a glass of wine in her hand, but now the idea gnawed at her stomach with insistent uncertainty. Thirty days … four weeks; untold hours of facing the silent house and the uncomfortable awkwardness that being around Michelle brought of late.
Even the funnies couldn't hold Kelly's attention as her thoughts continually churned through the meaning of thirty days without alcohol. Finally she abandoned the table, and the now soggy mass that had been a bowl of frosted flakes half an hour earlier, and wandered into the office. Her day planner sat open on her desk where she had left it on Friday after checking for important research that might excuse her from the drive to Toni and Carol's. Half collapsing into her chair, Kelly looked down at the date.
The end of October meant that Kaitlan had been gone for almost two months; it seemed hard to believe. As Kelly flipped the page, she realized that Thanksgiving fell almost exactly thirty days away. Thanksgiving, the annual torture that masqueraded as a family gathering, was not high on her list of things to attempt to survive sober.
It was the one time of year that Michelle and Susan were in the same room together, which would have made it unbearable enough. Unfortunately, Kelly's mother was none-too-fond of Michelle even after all these years, and when the bourbon and water's started flowing things were certain to turn ugly. Kelly usually survived by getting so obliteratingly drunk that she could laugh off anything that anyone said to her. The idea of facing the day without alcohol to fall back on seemed impossible.
It was only a few days before the end of the thirty she had decided to stop drinking for, and seemed the perfect day to break what she had decided to think of as her "alcohol fast". What did it matter if she didn’t drink for twenty-seven days instead of thirty? By that time she would have made her point, that drinking was something she chose to do, not something she had to do. Susan could never stay away from drugs for a week, much less almost a month.
Feeling much better about her decision, Kelly pulled a red marker out of the top drawer and put an X through the date. One day down, twenty-six to go. How hard could it be, really? She barely had a headache from the amount of wine she’d had the day before. All she had to do was not drink. It would be simple. Confident that everything was under control, she got up and went to take a shower.