The Memory of Wine

After their fight, Nancy stormed out of their 400 square foot apartment, down Sheridan Avenue, heading as far away from Bob as her feet would take her. He had no right to tell her she couldn’t take a night painting class, not after everything she did for him. His crisply ironed work shirts greeted him each morning, and his dinner was waiting for him when he got home. She gave him time to relax after dinner, away from her so that he could unwind from the days trouble, and she always brought him his scotch at 8 pm on the dot every night, neat, just the way he liked it. There was nothing she didn’t do for Bob. He had no right to deny her request.

 

The fog of anger and hate began to lift as she walked, and when she had finally walked off all of her emotions, she found herself in front of the cute winery that Bob would never take her to, despite her asking every week for a month. When she asked, Bob would launch into a passionate speech about how drinking was the devil’s nectar, a false promise to make you feel good so that the devil can control you and command you to do whatever he wishes. And he would end his tirades with “and no wife of mine is going to drink, ever.” The last time she brought it up, he grabbed her arms, and slammed her against the fridge, shouting into her face. His fingers left bruises on her that ached for weeks, a painful reminder that what she want didn’t matter anymore.

She stopped across the street from the winery and watched a group of four women, seated at a table by the window, having a wine tasting. They laughed as they swirled their glasses, twirling the wine to aerate it, before sticking their noses in the glasses to draw in the complex bouquet of aromas and flavors. The women sipped their wine. One made a face and shook her head, but the others smiled at each other, bobbing their heads in a way that suggested they liked the flavor. That used to be Nancy’s favorite part of wine tasting, seeing how the taste of the wine actually stacked up to the promised its fruity aroma made. Sometimes, there was a letdown, and the flavor was not as advertised, the implied bold notes found sour instead. But when the promise was fulfilled, it was if the heavens open up and poured sunshine in nectar form down her throat, the experience of that first sip so powerful that it was almost religious.

Nancy’s mouth filled with the flavor of wine remembered, and she crossed the street and walked up to the winery. Her hand grabbed the door handle. She was about to open the door when Bob’s old, dented whale of a Cadillac slid into view. He parked at the curb, and leaned over the passenger seat to roll down the window.

“There you are, I’ve been looking everywhere for you,” Bob called out to her. “Get in the car, let’s go.”

Nancy stood there, her hand on the door handle, her feet heavy. It would be so easy to open the door, and be one of those giggling girls at the table by the window. But Bob would never allow that. He would follow her in and unload on her there, and those poor girls at the table would be forced to listen to her drama. Even if she didn’t leave with him, the girls would never accept her after a scene like that. Who would want to be friends with someone like her? She wouldn’t, not after that. Nancy sighed, and her hand fell from the handle. She turned and made her way to the car, the flavor of wine but a memory.