In the movies, or television for that matter, if a person is holding a glass when s/he receives bad news, it almost always slips out of the person’s hand and shatters onto the floor. As if it represents how the news is shattering the person’s life.
In reality that doesn’t always happen. Sometimes glasses are broken in a tightened grip and sometimes, if you are like Beloved, you set it down carefully and gently. You take great care to not pass the horrors of the news onto other people or objects. I know because I’ve watched him receive bad news in a way where he set his glass of whisky down carefully before rubbing his face with both hands and heading to the door for some fresh air.
To look at him, unless you know him well, you’d never know that he received bad news. But the tightness, just there by his eyes, the slight crease between his brows and the set of his jaw told me all I needed to know. Just as the way he placed the glass told me he needed time to himself. He’d tell me everything when he was ready. Until then, I’d leave the glass where he placed it and just wait.
When he did come home, he didn’t pick up his glass. Instead he came over and took my hand to lead me gently to the large chairs facing the window. There he shared his news, never once taking his eyes off the scene outside the window. But when he was finished, then he looked at me with those soft eyes of his before he got up and took to his glass of whisky, silently drinking.
I would have thrown the glass if it were my news. But it wasn’t. It was his. And in his way, he is far more mature, far more composed than I am. And so, he set it down gently to pick up later on when he was ready.