He wrapped his arms delicately around me– I wasn’t expecting it. Then he pulled me closer, and closer still– until I could taste the starchy fabric of his lapel on my lips. “Are you sure this is a good idea?” I asked. He didn’t answer, but rather grabbed a full glass from a waiter weaving through the crowd. I glanced to the side but could still hear it slide smoothly down his throat.
I met him two weeks ago in between the folds of a stained loveseat on the outskirts of town. Secrets and shames spilled and eventually we left for my place. It took only six hours for him to declare his love for me, and seven to return home to his wife. Radio silence for two weeks, and then we crossed paths at a gallery opening. Unbelievable, yet there he was, pulling me into his embrace once again.
The truth is that Champagne rots– between light, aerated bubbles and pearly smiles. It corrodes our manicured selves and exposes the subdued truth, but it’s not an honest truth. It’s a truth endowed by secret desires. The same impulses tethered to the peripherals by our sober judgement– until a tongue serrated with bubbles unleashes them.
“I don’t think this is smart. What will your wife think?” I asked.
“I think that one dance is perfectly harmless,” he responded, “but anything more and they might brand us for life.” His eyes were too innocent to be misconstrued, and I so desperately wanted to be naive enough to agree.
“You’re drunk. And I think you’ll regret this in the morning.” I wanted to regret it myself and pull away, but his arms refused to part. He began to sway to the music, lowering his hand to the small of my back and tracing his other hand down my arm to meet my fingers. My brain was opposed to the dance, but the music tempted my feet into a waltz. I sensed the eyes of the room gravitate towards us, but the warmth of his hand on my lower back quickly silenced all of my reservations.
The anger and jealousy of the past two weeks didn’t vanish though, and despite my quickening heart I tried to stay centered on the soles of my own feet, as opposed to leaning fully into his. I wanted to trust him, but I knew better.
Champagne unleashes our inhibited selves– justly or unjustly souring the night with monologues usually reserved for our own heads. The bottle uncorks and we fill the air with our lust– dancing momentarily without fear of the consequences our alcohol induced actions will bring. We leave the evening not covered with dirt or grime, but soaked in the unmanaged mischief of others, and the escaped secrets of our own. I decided to revel in our waltz, knowing that his buzz would fade, and his wife would ask about me– the man her drunk husband was dancing with. Champagne is a filthy drink, but still, he pulled me closer.
Gunnar Lundberg is a graduate student in Modern Literature at the University of Glasgow. He enjoys Ina Garten memes, hiking, and reading poetry in hammocks. He has previously been published in Ayaskala, Global Hobo, and Xene. Follow him on twitter @gunnarupnorth.