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The stem of her wine glass emerged from between her middle and ring finger as she slid it in a small circle. She didn’t know why sommeliers swirled their wine, but after watching Somm on Netflix, it was a practice she adopted.
They were nearly a week-and-a-half removed from the weekend they’d spent 2,300 miles apart. Todd, still living at Caroline and John’s apartment in their extra bedroom, asked if they could reschedule drinks the week following The Kentucky Derby. His lingering hangover mixed with the catch-up he’d have to play at work all combined for a week of 12-hour days and sleepless nights.
“Does Wednesday work for you?” she texted out of the blue on Sunday night. He confirmed, and she sent him a link to the PDF menu for happy hour at “their spot.” Todd knew what she was doing, and she knew that Todd knew. Neither seemed to care. 6 o’clock on the dot, they decided.
After being lead to a hightop in the bar, she asked the hostess if they could have a booth instead. Hesitantly, the hostess obliged and asked if they’d need food menus.
“Just drinks,” she said while looking over the wine list.
“Can I do a glass of this Cabernet from Bordeaux?” she asked.
“I’ll let your waitress know right away,” the hostess responded, setting the other menu where Todd would be seated.
She checked her watch and noticed that it was already 6:05. Defaulting to Find Friends on her phone, she again realized that they had turned it off during their break. Texting him seemed needy and overbearing, so she simply sat idly telling herself to not stare at her phone that she’d just stowed away in her handbag.
“There he is,” she thought to herself as he entered and brushed the rain off the shoulders of his jacket. She raised her hand and hailed him over. What ensued was an awkward ass-out hug and a fumbled exchange of cheek kisses.
“Soooooooo,” he began, “How ya been?” It was the uncomfortable start to the conversation that both of them saw coming. It was either going to be her or him asking the question, but neither had prepared responses despite both of their overanalyzing of the situation.
“Good!” she exclaimed perhaps a little too quickly. “Really good.” She hesitated while he looked down at his menu. “So how was The Kentucky Derby?” she continued.
“Really fun!” he answered generically. “Obviously a long weekend but, yeah, super fun.”
Another awkward pause that would’ve lingered even longer had their waitress not interrupted.
“Can I get you anything, sir?”
“Uhhhh,” he hesitated. “What’re you having?” He looked down at her wine glass that had all of three sips taken from it.
“I got this Cabernet right here,” she pointed.
“If you’re both going to be drinking this, would you rather do a bottle?”
They looked at one another. A bottle financially made sense but also meant they’d be committing to an hour or more of conversation.
“Uhhhhhhh,” they both droned on while looking at one another. “We’re probably good with just glasses,” they both said over one another in some variation of the sentence.
For the next ten minutes, the conversation fluttered between Todd’s busy week at work and small anecdotes regarding both of their lives since they decided it best to separate. Todd hesitated to mention The Kentucky Derby at length for fear of she-who-shall-not-be-named’s name coming up, and she tip-toed around the fact that their yoga retreat had turned into a rosé-filled girls weekend.
She decided to change the subject from hearing about the meetings Todd had earlier that day to something she’d thought about since the moment it happened.
“By the way, I’m sorry I broke our rule and texted you while you were at the Derby.”
“Ha, it’s totally fine,” he assured her despite not knowing how he actually felt about it. “I was pretty far gone at that point so sorry if my texts weren’t super coherent.”
“Juleps get the best of you?”
“Always do,” he remarked, searching for an out of the conversation. After realizing their horse had not only lost but got completely decimated, Todd and John found it fitting to shift from Juleps to Woodford-rocks. The rest of the night remained blurry for both of them to this day, but considering they both woke up alone and fully-clothed in their beds the Sunday following, they figured nothing that bad could’ve happened.
Todd knew he had texted her that night – he just didn’t know how much. Going by the “ignorance is bliss” mentality, he had deleted all his texts before boarding his flight back from Louisville.
Still searching for a way to shift the conversation, he remembered something he’d thought about when they began texting again while sober. Before he could bring it up, the waitress had returned to their table with two more glasses of wine per Todd’s hand signal from afar to get another round. When she exited their vicinity, Todd struck.
“Wait, so I thought they didn’t allow phones at the yoga retreat?” he asked.
“Welllll,” she stalled, “They don’t really.”
He gave her a look that strongly resembled the confused emoji. She knew she couldn’t lie about what had happened and was honestly amazed that Caroline hadn’t already told John (who would’ve obviously told Todd).
“Ugh, okay, fine,” she blurted out. “Remember how I said I was hungover when I asked you to do these drinks?”
“Yeah, that seemed weird too, did you–”
“Todd, let me explain before I lie to you,” she interrupted. “We skipped the retreat.”
Todd laughed before asking for clarification surrounding how and why it happened.
“We got super hammered at that restaurant I told you about and ended up being too hungover to make the drive to the retreat.”
Todd was shocked – not because they skipped, but because he realized that they had spent an entire weekend in San Fran-fucking-cisco without posting a single Instagram or Snapchat. The realization that their weekends somewhat mirrored one another brought life to an otherwise boring conversation. The second glasses of wine didn’t hurt either.
She explained to him everything they’d done that weekend, outside of the fact that they’d spent a drunken dinner with nameless men in blazers.
Todd smiled and nodded along as she explained everything that had lead up to their decision that maybe a yoga retreat wasn’t time (or money) well-spent. “We’re so bad,” she said repeatedly while Todd didn’t disagree – he simply kept listening while not asking for details for fear she’d ask more about a weekend he didn’t fully remember.
The waitress approached their table again, this time asking if they’d like another glass of wine before happy hour ended in five minutes. They looked at one another and had another awkward hesitation that had been the trending topic of their entire encounter.
“You know, I think I’m good,” she said to the waitress.
“Yeah, me too,” Todd confirmed before she walked away to print the check.
“I’d rather not stay here,” she told Todd with a whisper. “I just got another wine club shipment to the apartment – should we call an Uber there?” .
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