I take to drinking – Salon

I take to drinking – Salon

It’s just one glass to relax. My kids aren’t asleep yet; I can hear Henry talking to his teddy bears in his crib, and Lydia and Elvis are still telling each other stories upstairs, giggling now and then, but otherwise the house is quiet. The television is off. I collect a few dishes from the dining room table and head into the kitchen to unload and reload the dishwasher, but before I start, I open the highest corner cabinet and consider my options: American Honey, Bailey’s Irish Cream and Amaretto, Maker’s Mark, or a glass or two of merlot. 

This is what I do now, but I used to hate alcohol, all kinds. I shook the cans Dad sent me to fetch to make them flat, Miller Lite cans he drank from then stepped on with the heel of his work boot, cans crunched and piled in a dumpster behind his shop after hours, into the evening, and on the weekends. Those nights when he finally came back to the house, Dad wrapped his strong arms around me and smiled. 

“I love you, Sare,” he said, and I rolled my eyes. 

“I love you, too,” I crooned, “Goodnight, Dad.” 

And there was the drink that kept my grandma away on holidays (not feeling well), the drink that made the dad of the kids I babysat for pass out on the floor before driving me home down dirt back roads, the rum my mom said made her sob so she wouldn’t drink it anymore, but it was all kinds, especially beer, that goat piss yellow. 

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I sneered and turned up my nose at my peers, the high school boys and girls who gathered around campfires at their parents’ houses on weekends underage drinking and drinking and drinking. Here I am, now, sipping a generous pour of American Honey from a glass tumbler, sighing, alcohol warm down my throat.

* * *

I took to drinking malt beverages first because they tasted like liquid candy instead of the sour water of Millers, “fruit-flavored” wine coolers I could twist the bottle cap off and take a swig without a grimace. It started when I studied abroad in Australia for a semester my freshman year of college, where it was okay to drink at 18. I followed the rules. I obeyed the law. The Americans joined the Aussies in the merry, slightly startled looking party. Aussies know how to hold their alcohol. I hula hooped for a lemon Stolychnaya Ruski; it was paradise hot, the bar was open air, everyone sat at picnic tables, clapping, cheering, counting to ten as I hula hula hula won! This was the first drink I actually liked. I drank it down as if it was fair lemonade, pressed the rim of the glass against my lips. 

My boyfriend squeezed my waist, so proud of his girl and her hula, her smile, her empty bottle. Later, I lectured him about drinking. 

“It’s just that, you’re different when you drink,” I said, the “I love you’s” quicker, easier, just like my dad, just like him. 

“I’m not like your dad,” he said and laughed, tipping back an amber bottle. 

I hated …….

Source: https://www.salon.com/2021/12/11/i-take-to-drinking/

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