Old habits die hard, he noticed. Even though they seem to be forgotten, the live on, under the surface. Hidden. But it only takes a small gesture, to make them come out of hiding. He didn’t want to offend the local culture, and it was so long ago. It won’t be a problem. At least, that’s what he thought when he reached to pick up the small carafe the waitress customarily had brought after their dinner. As he pulled the stop and tipped the carafe to fill the tiny glasses with raki, his long forgotten habit was awakened. Without thinking he raised the glass, looked around the table, and downed it in one quick, aggresive move. Before he knew it, the carafe was empty. Four shot glasses of the stuff had made him a bit dizzy, but aching for more.
He noticed the glance of his long time friend, but chose to ignore it. Not drinking hadn’t been a problem for so many years, so it wouldn’t be now.
Later, in his hotel room, he giddily took the second bottle from the brown paper bag. After returning there with his friends, he had sneaked out to buy them. The first one had tasted so well, that he had gone out again. Just like in the old days, his boundaries quickly fading and easily crossed.
Bottle three followed soon.
The next morning, the cleaning lady found him in bed. Five empty bottles on the table, neatly lined up to a drunken eye, the sixth, half full, in his cold hand.