Peace had come to our kitchen.
My wife sat across from me as we shared a glass of wine. Our children had just gone upstairs to get ready for bed and, like old friends and lovers do, we settled easily into this potentially misappropriated moment (siblings often need policing, you know). She slipped her hand into mine as we each shared our news of the week. We continued to drink the wine as we had during dinner, though the passing of it back and forth between us became more rhythmic as our dialogue evolved, a slow heartbeat of sniffing and sipping—the peaceful sonic canvas for our conversation.
Eventually we heard arguing going on upstairs. Since we hadn't sent the kids upstairs to argue, it was time to get them back on track. It’s a common tale. Parents of older children may recognize this scene with varying degrees of fondness, and I have no doubt that young parents are living the realities that lie behind it--working all day only to be stretched thin by working another job or trying to get their children to their next time-occupying cliché, and then home to some semblance of nutrition. I don’t know about you, but this is the sort of thing we like to complain about, but only so that we don't come to resent it too much. And all of this racing around makes us cherish these moments alone together even more.
The wine, a red Burgundy (Pinot Noir), was notably delicious, but integral as it was to our brief encounter, we didn't speak about the wine at all as we sat alone, and this is as it should be. Wine can fit so perfectly in these situations--it was both the hub on which we built our intimate moment, and the insulation around it. Some cynics might contend that it would have gone the same way with a Diet Coke, but a Diet Coke doesn’t smell like this wine did…when was the last time the experience of your soda was like nestling your nose in a pillow of cherries strewn with violets? Would our conversation have been different with another drink? I’m certain it wouldn’t have had the long-striding, carefree direction that it did. Perhaps, if we hadn’t found the wine so appealing, our experience would have been different, but it was right for us at that moment. The wine, and expressly the sharing of it, elevated our experience like nothing else could have.
How do I know? Before heading off upstairs, my wife stood, glass in hand, and, eyebrows raised, offered the final sip to me. I shook my head, so she drank it, and right as she did, I heard her breathe in: an inward sigh, a breath searching for a final bit of sensory enjoyment before having to tackle something else. I know that breath. I have made it myself, and with wine you’d do that without thinking.
Who’s doing that with Diet Coke?
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