OUT OF THE BOTTLE MAY 2019 BY JUDI NICHOLSON
Sitting in a therapy room amongst strangers, Evelyn wondered what on earth had led her to here of all places. As the wine poured it was as though the real Evelyn had squeezed her way through the neck just as fluidly and out of the bottle too. She liked bottles with corks and couldn’t image why anyone would prefer screw tops. That popping sound had excited her every time she’d heard it. It signalled the change in her – it gave her voice and made her feel that she’d arrived. John had amassed quite a wine collection which was spread out on racks in their wardrobe.
Evelyn loathed John’s freedom as his hours increased further into overnight stays away. Initially, she had questioned whether she should open a bottle, but surely there was no harm in one. POP! With the cork now extracted, the tantalising bouquet drifted on air. That first gulp of deep red wine exploded on her palate with a piquancy that so urged her to drink more. The more she drank, the better she felt, and the tedium drifted away.
Over time, Evelyn managed to drink most of Johns fine wines, replacing them with cheap substitutes as an attempt to conceal her wrongdoing. Evelyn went back to work, but every day she spent longing for a drink. Evelyn found she no longer just thought about what she would really like to verbalise, she just said it and her behaviour became more risqué. When John wasn’t home either was Evelyn -she’d be at a bar drinking with others or alone.
Eventually, John discovered his decimated wine collection. Evelyn then had to defend herself for literal closet drinking and she certainly held her own in the argument. She told John how she really felt about their marriage; that she was glad to be rid of him and that yes, the wine was every bit as good as he could have possibly imagined. With that, she picked up her bag and coat and practically sashayed out the door leaving an incredulous John mouth agape. Pleasantly liberated, Evelyn drove to her usual bar preoccupied with needing a drink. “It’s ok, I’m getting an Uber” she announced as she left the premises on closing. Fidgeting around in her bag she located her car keys and sinking into the driver’s seat she unsteadily inserted the keys in the ignition. Supporting herself on the wheel she closed her eyes but was startled by a knock at the window. A flashlight shone in and she could now see a blue light reflecting of the rear-view mirror. Evelyn spectacularly informed the officer in a barrage of expletives as to what he could do with his flashlight. Evelyn looked around the Therapy room and out of the window. She pictured herself on a better day having a glass of wine in the sun.