The problem was the flask fit so well in his hand, its solid metal body, the gentle rock and rythm of the liquid inside. The whiskey rinsed his mouth, setting heavy on the tongue then sliding down. He stared into darkness. The deep thrum of engines rode up through the bulkheads, a soft but powerful voice, offering an opinion no one asked for, or could stop. He took another pull of the whiskey. "I can hear you breathing", he said into the vacuum outside.
"I wanted to talk.'
'Standing there watching me drink isn't talking."
"Neither is arguing with a drunk."
"I'm a long way from drunk," he sipped at the cold steel mouth of whiskey.
'We're all a long way from anywhere," her voice was soft, and without kindness. He shrugged against it, pushing off the blanketing despair she carried, always laying it upon others shoulders. A ward against the hope she found so cold.
"Doing the best I can to change that," and she shivered at his voice, the richness and near corporeal belief filling it. The gentle wisps of whiskey on the breath behind the words rose to her, a small handle of her own despair, she breathed deeply.
"If you'd done your best..."
He finally looked at her, a sadness in his eyes that brought silence to her lips. She stood, abashed at her despair, as he spoke, "I love you, Helen". He brushed her aside and stepped into the hallway, without a look, leaving her.