When my husband and I constructed a home bar in our finished basement, we thought we were creating a place of occasional relaxation and adult escape. We didn’t realize that we were installing a conscience as well.
Workout completed, dinner finished, lunches packed, basketball practice done, homework complied with, nighttime stories read, the kids tucked into bed, kitchen cleaned, the toys picked up off the living room floor, and the laundry finally put away, Marty and I decided we desperately deserved a nightcap.
Not wanting to wake the kids, I donned my fluffiest pair of socks, whispered down the stairs and floated across the living room floor. I slid past Mackenzie’s and Jameson’s doors, reached the edge of the bar and silently glided around the corner, all done in the mask of darkness. I beamed. Even the most noiseless of cat burglars would have been proud of my stealthiness.
I carefully pulled two long-stemmed wine glasses down, and set them on the concrete counter top with the tiniest of clink-clinks. Holding my breath, I strained my ears to listen… Only the natural creaking and settling of the house accompanied the glorious silence.
Slowly, I inched my finger along the edge of the wine cooler, breaking the seal with a soft pop. I counted to three, listening, then gradually pulled the glass door open. The compressor in the cooler kicked on with a slight shudder, and the fan whirled faintly from the back.
Selecting a bottle of wine, more so on convenience than desire, I grasped the neck tightly in the palm of my right hand and used my left hand to guide the bottle out. The thick punt made a soft screech sliding across the metal rack. Again, I concentrated on the sounds of my apparently sleeping house. Satisfied that all was calm, I noiselessly pushed the glass door of the cooler shut and slowly stood up.
“What-cha doin’?” a sing-song voice rang out. Shit. I was busted. The hairs on the back of my neck stood on end as I scanned the room. Jameson appeared in his doorway, leaning on the jamb like a parent who just caught their teenager breaking curfew.
“Uh, um,” I stuttered. “Oh, nothing. I’m just picking up,” I lied. A sweat broke out on my brow and a nervous flutter took home in the bottom of my stomach. Why did I just freaking lie to my 10-year old?!
“Well, it sounds like you are getting a bottle of wine?” he insinuated. Wait a minute. I was still the parent in this relationship, right!? School night or not, who was the boy to question my alcohol consumption?
“You’re right, James. I’m getting a bottle of wine,” I fronted. I threw my shoulders back and gave him an attempted don’t-mess-with-me glare to accompany my increasing confidence. “Goodnight son, I love you,” I stated, and quickly scooped up the bottle of wine and glasses and headed towards the stairs.
“I love you too, Mama. Good-ni-eite!” The accusing, sing-song voice again. Damn it. I shuffled up the stairs, head hung in defeat and made my way back to our bedroom. Each step that I took closer, however, left me wondering how in the hell I was going to open the bottle of wine. I had inadvertently left the cork screw tucked discreetly in a drawer in the bar.