Delilah discovered this wine that’s only 14 bucks a bottle and pretty damn good.
By the time it’s past midnight and we’ve gone through four bottles she’s asleep on the couch.
Delilah needs me to drive her to the shop a few blocks away so we can pick up another case of wine. She still doesn’t have a driver’s license, and I probably shouldn’t count on her getting it any time soon since she’s 54.
I wait in the car while she runs across the street to the shop. She’s wearing three layers of surgical masks because she’s scared of the virus. It could kill us both probably pretty easily on account of us both drinking at least two bottles of wine a night and my pre-existing condition as an asthmatic and her thyroid problems and maybe the lack of vegetables in our diet.
Delilah discovered this wine that’s only 14 bucks a bottle and pretty damn good. It’s from Puglia, which is the heel of the boot. I used to want to go to Puglia but I’m not sure now. It just seems so far. I think some of my family’s from there.
I hold onto the steering wheel and close my eyes. It’s a strange sensation to be out of the house, makes my skin crawl.
Our house is falling apart and needs fixing, and the lawn, and the backyard, but all I find myself doing is plunking my body down in front of the computer and scrolling and scrolling, and by the time it’s past midnight and we’ve gone through four bottles—Delilah filling my glass without my noticing—I look over and she’s asleep on the couch, the light from the computer shining on her face. She has some wrinkles now, some gray hairs, but she’s still very pretty. She wears those yellow tights and the funny shoes with the buckles and all of her dresses and long skirts and knits that her sister made.
I’ve been retired for about two years. I had one of those jobs with a pension attached to it, civil engineer for the city. Since we paid off the house a few years ago and the area’s gotten better, and Delilah was still teaching art classes at the elementary school, at least until before the pandemic, we’re doing okay. I collect my pension checks and she’s collecting unemployment, and we don’t spend much on food or anything else. It’s just the wine.
We always liked drinking, but it wasn’t until this pandemic lockdown that we got to doing it more intensely every night. Our wine shop started offering discounts for customers who order a case. We started doing the discount, but instead of keeping the case for a week or whatever, like we planned, there was just so much wine, so we kept drinking, and we could keep going until we fell asleep. We’d pick up twice a week, then three times, every three days. Four bottles a night, I’d say. The nights we get a fresh case are the best nights of the week, when things feel full and complete, and we’ll never run out again. There’s a sensation of bounty, like when you’re served a delicious-looking meal at a restaurant when you’re starving.