Why Is There Champagne in the Fridge?

by Andrew Roe

It's something I've been meaning to ask about for days. I don't remember buying it. I don't remember any friends coming over with it. And I don't think it's left over from New Year's—this past one or the year before that. (We're usually zonked by 10 o'clock anyway. The partying goes on, the fireworks light up the sky, and we're fast asleep.) But one day it was there, taking up space on the bottom shelf, lying on its side, one of the cheapo brands, next to the leftover tortellini and string cheese.

So finally I ask my wife: "Why is there champagne in the fridge?"

She's in the living room, I'm in the kitchen, and there's a pause before she answers.

"What's that?" she calls out.

It's that sacred time of night when the kids are asleep and the dishes are done and the lunches for the next day are made and we have maybe a half hour, maybe less, to ourselves.

"That bottle of champagne," I say. "On the bottom shelf. I don't remember buying it. What's it doing there?"

"Just because, just in case," she says, entering the kitchen now, sitting down at the table with me. "So that when something good happens we'll be ready, we'll have something to celebrate with."

I lean forward, toward my wife, and I can smell her smell, her aromatic essence.

"Let's pop it now," I say, and she smiles and stands up and opens the fridge and grabs the bottle.

"Care to do the honors?"

She sets the bottle on the table like it's an antique, a family heirloom, something that says something about where we've been and where we're going.

I have a little trouble at first, I've always sucked at opening champagne bottles, but finally I pop the cork, the sound filling the kitchen and all of downstairs (did it wake the kids? will we have to return to their rooms and cajole them back to sleep?), and we watch the champagne gush and spill out over the sides and all over my hands too, and for a moment, standing there and watching, both of us, it seems like it will never stop.

Andrew Roe's fiction has appeared in Tin House, One Story, Glimmer Train, The Cincinnati Review, and other publications, as well as the anthology Where Love Is Found: 24 Tales of Connection (Washington Square Press). A two-time Pushcart Prize nominee, he lives in Oceanside, California.