I’m arranging the bowls on the counter, pretty ceramic ones that we managed to get back from Italy intact. Don’s in the living room, swabbing down the tables with a lemon-smelling wax product. We’ve got new friends coming over for dinner. Test-driving them, Don said, but it’s more like test-driving each other.

In my twenties I was out four nights a week at least. I drank whiskey while I was getting dressed so by the time I got to where I was going I was ready to be dangerous. Me and my girlfriends. I’ve lost track of them now. A Christmas card every few years when address changes catch up with us.

So this is a big deal, this dinner. We’re not minglers. Don’s uncorking bottles of wine.

“Don’t people usually serve white?” I say. We don’t have any in the house except the cheap stuff we use for cooking. We’re red drinkers, all the way. A bottle a night on the coffee table. I empty gourmet chips into a bowl.

“You’re thinking of the commercials,” he says. He’s got a lit cigarette in his mouth and he’s squinting against the smoke. I take it off his lip for a drag.

“We should’ve gotten some white. What if they’re allergic?”

He looks at me as though I’ve lost my mind.

“When I was in college I knew a girl who broke out in this awful rash all over her face and chest whenever she drank red wine. It happens. It’s possible.” I hand the cigarette back over.

“That’s only with screw-top.” He lines the bottles up. Not one was under forty dollars.

So like I said, this is a big night. New friends. Or something like that. We’ve been married five years, and before that, I went out a lot.

May 1, 2002
9:42-10:02 p.m.
Nashville, TN