I just felt the need to post this little exercise in creative narcissism. I promise that these will be few and far between.
In hindsight, that bottle of wine had been the best part of our relationship. It sat on the rack in the cellar for three years, only to culminate in one night of pure vinostatic bliss and then slowly fade into memory. We were a little like that.
Our relationship consisted mostly of anticipation and anguish – anticipation that things would get better, and anguish because they never did. Sure, there was enough between us to keep us together, but not really enough to look back on fondly. We spent a good portion of our time together shooting angry glances and sharp words at each other. Through it all, that bottle of wine sat in the cellar. It got better while we got worse.
We had picked up the wine on a trip to Napa that we took shortly after we got together. Even on that first trip there were signs of strain. We were all fire and ice then, undulating between passion and cool indifference. I'm not blaming it on her. I was never attentive enough, it's true, but I quickly tired of the way that she made me feel around our friends. I always wondered why she wanted to be with me in the first place, seeing as her most common response to my conversation was a roll of the eyes and a mocking comment. How could she have any feelings for someone who encouraged such derision? Still, I was part of the problem as well. I often lied and hid things from her. I always justified it by telling myself that she just hadn't shown herself to be trustworthy with my secrets, but from where I sit now I just see a liar.
While the bottle sat on the rack in the cellar, we somehow stayed together. We drank a lot during that time, which made the times that we weren't fighting more manageable and the fights much worse. I started to withdraw. For some reason this seemed to make her more desirous of my company, which made me withdraw still more. We were at our worst right as the bottle of wine was becoming its best.
We decided to open the bottle of wine for our anniversary. I think we both realized that the time was now, as we were unlikely to be celebrating anything this time next year. I cooked dinner while she lit candles and poured the wine. We talked about Napa, and left out the bad parts. We listened to music and drank our wine. For that night, we behaved like people in love. We finished off the bottle of wine, and another, and then went to bed.
The memory of the wine faded quickly, and so did we. We didn't really fight anymore, we were past that, but we both knew that there was nothing left to look forward to. A week after our anniversary, I packed my things and moved out. My mind still wanders back to that time occasionally, but I don't think too much about all of the bad times. I mostly just think about what had been the best part of us.