“I think I know what happened,” I said, wringing out the dish towel for the fifth time.
“What?” My husband was on his knees with his head inside the refrigerator, soaking up pools of what looked like water on each shelf, not yet tackling the little lakes under the vegetable and fruit bins on the bottom. He’d already mopped up the puddle on the floor, the tip-off to some major issue inside. Puzzled, he’d dipped his finger in the liquid to taste and declared that he had no idea what it was.
“I think what happened was I stabbed the wine.”
I remembered the night before being so eager to bust out the new box of Chardonnay that I used a red steak knife to carve out the wee door on the side where the little tap sits. The opening is perforated but tough to push through with just my fingers so I grabbed the knife hoping to move things along a bit quicker.
The bottom of the box was soaked from having sat in the pond of wine overnight but there was still half a box left. I turned on the tap and ran what was left into the red pitcher I keep on the counter for when guests come, and I put water with lemons on the table.
“Funny, it didn’t taste like wine. It doesn’t taste like anything.” I could’ve been insulted by this, but I wasn’t. My husband doesn’t drink wine out of a box. He doesn’t drink much of anything except bourbon or whiskey on weekends, an occasional beer if he’s watching football. We are quite different in this regard.
It’s come to this. I am drinking wine out of a box. That I open with a steak knife.
Here’s where I claim to have fallen from some rarified grace, say that I used to drink really great, expensive wine but had to economize because of our retirement and the pandemic, show myself to be a self-sacrificing lady who puts her husband’s bourbon first.
It would all be lies.
I love wine in a box. I love opening the refrigerator door and having a spigot there to fill my glass. I love the effortlessness of it.
My big brother drank wine out of a box. I was glad for the box wine when he was on his last legs, stuck in a hospital bed in his living room, smart and feisty, but so, so tired. I was glad to fill his small glass. He appreciated it. He sipped. And it took him a good while to empty a glass. But when he did there was more wine in the box, the box of wine was bottomless for him.
I’m not sick or on my last legs but things being the way they have been for so long, the worry and wonder about the pandemic, it’s an odd comfort to have wine in a box. I love the bottomlessness of it even though today, unfortunately, the bottom somewhat fell out. An important lesson learned.