She placed a bottle of André and Tropicana orange juice on the marble counter top of her kitchen islet. For some reason, she had awoken with a craving for mimosas. She’d lay awake in bed, her hands pressed to her belly, trying to fight the intense desires that clutched at her seemingly parched tongue and desperately empty stomach. Finally, she could take it no longer, and careful not to wake her sleeping husband, she pulled on a pair of slippers and raced to the store where she bought a bottle of Tropicana orange juice and André champagne. She wasn’t wary of the $3 André price. She was familiar with the brand it was perfectly adequate. It got the job done. In fact, she preferred it to the more expensive brands.
In the kitchen she pulled down one of the crystal champagne glasses from her oak kitchen cabinets. The glass felt brittle in her fingers and for a moment, she thought about clenching her hand around it so that it would break, but she didn’t. Instead, she let the bubbling liquid fill three quarters of the glass and then added in the orange juice.
Lifting the glass to her lips, she curled her mouth into a grin as she felt the carbonation bubble into her nose. Two more sips and the first mimosa was down. Then, she was making another. The orange liquid curled in her stomach sending heat up into her chest and burning inside of her lungs.
She could hear her husband waking up and making his way downstairs. His footsteps were heavy and his flannel pajama pants swished together as he took each step. She stared down at the two bottles on the kitchen counter in front of her. When she could hear his feet sticking to the tile floors of the kitchen, she looked up.
“Hi,” his voice sounded gravely and she wondered when he’d last shaved.
She brought her lips together, pressing them down into a smile. She would have given him a kiss good morning, but instead brought the glass up to her lips and took a sip. He wouldn’t want her kissing him before she brushed her teeth. He always complained of her morning breath.
“Want a mimosa?”
“It’s too early to be drinking.”
She sucked in her cheeks at his response. She searched for a hint of teasing in his gray eyes, but there was none.
“Yeah, alright.” She didn’t care now that her voice was stiff.
“Don’t get like that,” he said and his voice was low and strained. She knew she should be careful when he got like that.
“Like what?” She asked. She’d never been any good at being careful.
He just ignored her and brushed past to find the newspaper at the end of the kitchen counter. Moving to the glass table to the right, he sat down and hid behind it. Her eyes followed him.
Turning them away, she stared at her oblong reflection in the half empty mimosa glass. Her dark brown hair swished just past her shoulders. There were creases around her mouth, revealing her age despite the makeup she used to disguise it. She slept in makeup. Her husband, Richard, wanted her to always look her best. Said he didn’t want to wake up to a different person from the one he went to sleep with.
“Just wanted to know if you’d like to have a drink with your wife,” she was surprised by how loud her voice was. She’d meant to mumble it. Passive aggressive. That’s how this usually worked, but her voice had jumped from her, challenging him. She blinked at the alcoholic beverage before her.
Silence. She could hear him debating, but was confident in her invitation. Whether it was the bubbles in her stomach or something else, she knew he’d come around. It was why they remained married. He would give in. Loosen up.
“Yeah, alright,” he said finally and she smiled, not caring that such a wide expression would cause more wrinkles, “what kind of champagne do you have?”
“André.” She replied staring sweetly at the opaque green bottle in front of her and turning it around so the label faced him.
“Oh, God,” he said, his face contorting with disgust, “I’m not drinking that rubbish.”
He lifted the paper back up so that she could only make out the top of his dark hair, becoming streaked with gray.
The bubbles had stopped glimmering in her stomach. She frowned a bit now. Reaching out her hand she ran her fingers over the label and then down the sides of the André bottle. Her lips pressed together.
“Margaret? Would you make me some coffee?” His voice sounded small and far away, as though the paper was a force field separating the two of them, “Margaret?” he asked again.
She stared at him, rolling the edge of the mimosa glass over her lips from the left to the right. Then she looked down at his reflection in the dark André bottle. It was warped, like those mirrors at carnivals. She blinked at it a few times then looked back up the actual figure of her husband. He had put the paper down and was staring at her.
“You know,” she said smacking her lips slightly after taking a sip of her newest drink, “I think, Richard, it was time that you and I got a divorce.”