The Bottom of The Glass

"Dad, its really pretty."

"Is it, Cass?" He replied absentmindedly, forking up some unappetizing spinach. Today was left-over day and buy instant food from the supermarket day. Cassia's food was untouched and looking at the bottom of her drinking glass was much more interesting.

Light passed through the glass, making the wet base shine and sparkle. The kitchen seemed brighter and the soft warm colours of the walls twinkled with tiny lights. The red AGA radiated heat and the green table cloth and never looked fresher. She swivelled the glass end towards her father and peered at him through the lens.

He looked distracted, with one hand through his hair, slowly greying through the roots. He chewed slowly and the fork was gently tapping the side of the ceramic plate making a ping! ping! noise rapidly. Swallowing, she watched the lump slide down his throat with wide-eyed fascination, watching the Adams apple bob.

"Cassia, eat your food…" He reprimanded her with a sigh, a recording of every conversation each night.

"But I'm not hungry anymore." She whined lowering the. The corners of her mouth drooped as the magical land behind the bottom of her glass disappeared. The harsh kitchen light glared and the cracks in the wall were very apparent. Cobwebs and spiders lived in the corners, and just above the AGA you could see black smudging of grease and dust. A result of neglected kitchen duties over the last few years.

Cassia propped herself with one elbow and let a finger twist around the long brown tips of her hair. Blue and neon green DC shoes came into view followed by a pair of baggy jeans and a grey jacket. Stuart slouched into view. One foot following the other, slowly without tripping over the cuffs of the jeans, made their way over to the fridge.

"Hi Stu!" Cassia said sitting up straighter with a bright smile. Stuart grunted back in response and slammed the fridge door shut, making the contents inside rattle. Satisfied with his findings and purpose now fulfilled he returned upstairs. There was a pause on the stairs, and the lumbering foot steps made their way back to the kitchen, only stopping to grab the beer opener, before revisiting his dark and musty cell, which was his room.

Stuart wasn't much older then Cassia, being seventeen, Stuart slouched around either staying in or out of the house. Usually not coming back till early hours of the morning if he stayed out. He was a bright boy, generally praised by his teachers, but after the aerosol incident Stuart resorted to drinks and girls, which Cass found really funny.

An aggressive sound resonated through the house and Cassia's smile slipped of her face. It seems that Stuart had taken the last bottle of beer in the fridge. Small footfalls sounded on the carpet and soon her mother's tired face peeked out from behind the doorframe.

Her red hair was wild, dark circles under each eye. Clutching a blanket around her whilst trying to hold a burning cigarette was quite a feat for the woman swaying slowly, tipping dangerously to one side and catching herself last minute. Her drunken gaze settled on Cassia and then to the fridge.

Stumbling to the fridge door, letting the blanket trail behind her, she tugged the door open. The last obstacle to her happiness.

"Rupert..where's..the Chardonnay?" She asked, taking a slow drag on the cig. Her feet were about to give way but she clung on to the door. Rupert stood up from the table and took a step towards her. He firmly held her wrist and pried it from the door.

"No. No drinking tonight, Susan." He enunciated each word clearly.

Cass sat still in her chair, eyes darting from one parent to the next. Tension was thick in the air and anything was bound to happen.

Her mother swayed on the spot unsure.

"No..?" She questioned to no one in particular. A savage look entered her eyes and they narrowed in defence. She took a firm step back and swung her free arm around, cigarette still in hand she slapped her spouse hard on the face, the cig tip singing his skin.

Yelling he let go of her wrist, clutching the side of his face in pain. The left side of his face had gone red and the lingering smell of burnt flesh was heavy and pungent in the air. But as soon as the animalistic rage came it had disappeared, leaving Cassia's mother in a sluggish and drowsy state once more.

Cass flinched, quivering in her chair, hands clenched together, shaking uncontrollably.

Opening the fridge door that had quietly closed, she pulled out the bottle of Chardonnay and for a moment stood still. Then as if struck by inspiration she slowly turned around and made her way down the dark, unlit corridor, where the television was blaring the news loudly.

"As the body of Katie Dalton still has not been found. Evidence points to a man of thirty years old, caught after being witnessed leaving the site thirty minutes after the murder. Police are still searching.."

Rupert's face went an ugly red colour, and it wasn't because of Susan attacking him…

"Dad..?" Cassia spoke up, after not speaking for a long time, her voice cracked.

He didn't reply, instead opened the freezer and got out an ice pack. Applying it to his face, he forced out a smile to his youngest daughter.

"I'm fine, sweetie. Why don't you clear that up and got to bed soon." A direct order. Cass nodded watching her father's retreating back. Dropping her gaze to her unappetizing meal that she had abandoned a long time ago, she sighed. At least she didn't have to eat it tonight.

She frowned, feeling empty and sick. Things weren't like this all the time..there were good times. When mom was smiling and dad was laughing, and when Stu actually joined the table on Sunday evenings.

But…

That was then and this was now.

Forcing a smile onto her face, it gradually became genuine. Picking up her drinking glass once more she let herself peek into the magical glass world. But with disappointment, it wasn't really there, but she pretended it was.

The good times when you didn't know the bad things. The naivety of being young and carefree, that was Cassia's eternal wish.