WHEN I picture my favorite moments with my husband over our 23 years together, someone is always holding a glass, or a bottle of wine, or a plastic cup — well, except for the last 11 years, since Rob stopped drinking.
I can plot the timeline of our relationship by what we were drinking.
First, the bloody mary in a can I had bought for us to share on the Amtrak train, where we had just met. The cold Rolling Rock beers we drank the next night on our first date at a bar on the Lower East Side called Downtown Beirut. The glasses of Pernod on the rocks we sipped while listening to the Velvet Underground, after I had moved in with him (and his three actor roommates) on Staten Island. The coveted 100-year-old Armagnac my father — clearly drunk with happiness that his daughter had finally brought home a man he approved of — decided to break out and share with Rob.
When the family was together, there were always bottles of wine, aperitifs and, the empties rolled across the floor to honor those who couldn’t be with us and celebrate the fact that we were all together. There were the icy martinis we’d toss back while working at Spy magazine, a river of that connected us to the past and our heroes of the Algonquin Round Table.
Home for the holidays in Delaware, there were shots of aquavit with an oyster on Christmas morning. There were always after-dinner drinks — Chartreuse and port and whatever exotic liqueurs my parents might have discovered on one of their trips to places like Vietnam or the former Czechoslovakia. We wore linen and drank gin and tonics barefoot in the grass at our wedding shower.
On our honeymoon in Portugal, there were tall glasses of passion-fruit juice mixed with. The next year, when we picked up and moved to Portugal, there was white-bootleg absinthe that we drank to the point of hallucination, and drafts we bought for pennies while living in a squat in East Berlin.
In a series of New York clubs, we pounded beers watching bands that left our ears ringing. At weddings and christenings we killed bottles of Champagne, magnums and jeroboams. Toasting good fortune, love and long life, we were a symphony of Champagne flutes. There was the Chartreuse V.E.P. that we drank with my family after my daughter was born, and my father was dying.
A Glass All Empty by Elissa Schappell