Nonfiction | Goodbye to All That

Three Glasses of Champagne

Or, Never the Third

To be clear — it’s not just champagne. It’s a champagne cocktail.

A sugar cube in the bottom of a shapely flute, soaked to brimming with the best bitters you can find (unless you make your own in which case I would very much like to be your friend), drowning in champagne (the quality isn’t terribly important because of all the distractions).

The first glass is pure delicious perfection awakening every fabulous happy atom of your being. You will be full of gentle magic and brilliance, your prose will shine, you will be AWESOME (these last four words are to be sung in the C major scale, starting at middle C for you, then E for will, G for be, and finally AWESOME is to be divided thus — next higher C for AWE, down to A for SOME — holding each briefly, a slight trill at the end).

You will do things like mince and sashay and you will say things like, “Oh, but she is!” and, “Onward, ever onward!”. You will feel beautiful and in mad love with your own bad self and totally in control. It is such singing, delicious delight that you will pour the second.

The second glass will begin like sweet liquid gold sliding into the center of your pure self, but will begin to buzz a little hard and fast. You will gigglingly remind yourself that, ‘this is the last one!’, and get back to your perfect communion with self and the universe — and anyone else in the room. You will be aware of a slight, ever so, slur in your speech and sway in your step, but confident that it isn’t apparent to the crowd. Or, if it is, it probably looks like a gorgeous hint of delicious danger.

You will pontificate and find great meaning in your discourse and your wit will be sharp and on point. You will remind yourself, again, that there is no need for a third.

On that rare occasion that you accept the third glass, however, things will change. Distant alarms will ring in the bowels of your fizzy brain, systems will panic. You will be vaguely aware of an approaching crisis, but are easily distracted and fairly sure of your magnetism. You know that you’ve dropped the reins and the horses are feeling a little frisky, but you hold on tight and laugh and laugh while your inner mirror is quietly scolding you for your ugly bad behavior, showing you all the ways you’ve ever failed and the horror will creep in, ever so slowly, and you will realize that you have, just three glasses in, become that girl. No, you’ve become that woman — the girl could still ooze messy charm. The woman, well past the days of knowing, deep into the days of experience and lessons learned, is just a mess. No heat, no charm, just mess.

You will drag your pitiful, disheveled self off to a quiet room, off to bed feeling slightly deranged and deeply sorry for yourself and ashamed of your knack for the epic bad choice. You will make notes, promise yourself, never the third. Never again the third.

Never ever the third.