A woman's affair with wine.
| Sally swirled the cabernet in her glass and watched the "legs" creep down. Foxen, she noted on the label. Her ex had a friend whose grandfather once owned all the land where Foxen vineyards were, near Ojai, California. He lost it in a card game. Stupid risk, she thought. |
She sniffed the rich aroma before taking a sip, the merest hint of tannin on her tongue. It was rich, it was almost like food, like a liquid gold melting down her throat, flowing by her chest and warming her belly.
Sally knew a time came everyday when she had to have her wine. She stared at the wine glass, the red blurring. She was back in college. Did she drink everyday then too?
Boones Farm Apple, that was it. Sally's "big sister" in the sorority, what was her name? Julie. Yes, Julie Something. Sally and her roommate gave Julie $2, and Julie procured two bottles of Boones Farm Apple. It later came out in Strawberry, did it not? She couldn't remember. Sally and her roommate snuck it into the dorm and iced it down in the sink. Having consumed a bottle, the two would hop in Sally's Camaro and cruise the campus and town, drinking straight from the other bottle.
Sally smiled and blinked at the zinfandel and tasted the rich texture of the grapes - definitely not Boones Farm. Why did they drink? It was simply done; everyone drank. Sally knew better, though. She was terribly shy. She joined a sorority to learn to be more outgoing. Sally's big sister, Julie, took her to fraternity parties and there she was introduced to the beer keg. For the first time in her life, she discovered she could be chatty and funny. She made friends when she was drinking.
After graduation, Sally found people drank in the middle of the day at advertising agency. She tried it, but found her head on her desk at two o’clock in the afternoon. How did they do that? She decided it took practice. She found a flask and took it with her to work, tipping a bit of rum into her coke in the afternoon. Not too bad. If there was a particularly stressful meeting coming up, she sipped a couple of swallows and found her anxiety lessened, yet she was still fairly sharp.
Promotions followed. Sally hated company parties to "smooze," but with a glass of wine before going and a couple there, smoozing wasn't so hard. She had good ideas for the company, but couldn't seem to spit them out during the day. At the parties they spilled like freshly washed marbles. She paid particular attention to the wives of her bosses, finding compliments to them later reflected on her performance reports and resulted in more invitations. More parties, more promotions, more money. All it took was the wine.
Until today. Today she was unemployed. Last night's party, she vaguely remembered, was a roast for her retiring boss. Apparently, she insulted his replacement in her comments from the podium. She held the prepared notes now in her hand. Nowhere did it say, "sanctimonious bastard." Co-workers assured her they came from her mouth. All she remembered was the silence in the ballroom, then someone escorting her off the stage.
Sally swirled the wine again. "Why did you let me down? I thought you were my friend."