It was the lime that made me cry.
This drink was made for me for the first time by Lila's godmother. It was made for me the second, third, and fourth time by her as well. The drink is called a Dark and Stormy and its recipe is simplicity itself: Ice, a few fingers of dark rum, a bottle of Jamaican-style ginger beer, and a wedge of lime. And, like I said, it was the lime that made me cry.
The twins were seven months old when the lime made me cry, so it wasn't really that big of a deal. Everything made me cry back then. I blame it on my wife's hormones. We were spending a week down the shore and the week was not going well. Lila's godmother had taken it upon herself to mitigate some of the psychic damage the twins were wreaking on us all by mixing Dark and Stormies each afternoon and distributing them willy-nilly until all hands were holding at least one, sometimes two or more. I was usually a "more."
It was something in the way she handled the lime that did it. She'd cut out a wedge, and then just leave the lime right there on the counter, like she was saying, "Don't worry, little lime. I'll be right back with you in a moment." It was just so... so casual. It brought home to me how there was nothing whatsoever casual about my life right then. I could no more be expected to get "right back" to that lime than I could be expected to solve world peace. Those were the days in which I used to eat my breakfast cereal dry, because adding milk meant I had to finish it before it got soggy. Milk gave the cereal a deadline that simply was not realistic. And even dry, some days that cereal bowl would still be sitting there, full, when my wife came home from work that evening. Those were hard, hard days.
So it was one night that week, one of many, that I was up with the twins, strapping them into their carseats so at least the rest of our shore rental house would be spared their 3 AM infernal wailing, that I passed the lime on the counter. It had three or four wedges missing, but it was still there, waiting for the next round of drinks. And I lost it. I drove around Ocean City that night, back and forth on the deserted roads, with the twins in the back of the minivan slowly trading in their cries for sighs and sleep, and I bawled. I wished that someone would come and put me in the back of a minivan and drive me around. I wished that my only responsibility were going to sleep.
I wished I could cut a wedge out of a lime and promise it I'd be right back.