At times he turned to the bottle, but the bottle wasn't always a friend. He was good at lots of things, but not the things he really wanted to do. A battle between 'hell is other people' and a deep, maddening loneliness drove him to wild thoughts, and often to drink. He wanted a wife, but where could he meet one? He usually had a job, but couldn't always keep one. He valued good results at anything he did, but his work never felt important, always meaningless somehow.
Wintertime was more difficult than the rest of the year. Shorter, grey days. Snowfall. But he spent more time at the coffee shop in the winter months and that's where he met her.
She just wanted to get out of the house for a bit that day, otherwise she would've made her own coffee. She saw him reading with such a serious face and it made her smile and ask if he were in pain. She wanted to know why he read books that made him cringe and look so depressed, and he became defensive until he realized how ridiculous he sounded and they both started to laugh. She'd just moved to the neighborhood and was killing time before her roommate came home and his shyness made her curious. She loved her family and her career and had a positive attitude about everything.
They dated casually and then became more serious. One night she saw his ugly side, his black-out-drunken side, and she told him he'd have to stop doing that or there'd be no way she could date him, no chance of him meeting her family. He gave up the bottle for her and they lived long lives and they went to their coffee shop often, even though they could make their own coffee at home.