PROSE: One Evening

The wine’s been drunk. She’s lifted the bottle more than once to see if there’s another drop she can coax from its neck. Each time is as unsatisfying as the last.

“We need some more wine,” she grumbles.

“Yeah, well, I need a new job,” he replies. He has a newspaper in front of him, frowning as he leafs through it. “Didn’t these things used to have job ads in them or something?”

“That’s all online now.” She pulls herself to her feet and drifts over to him, empty bottle hanging from her fingers. “More wine, Jacob.”

“In the fridge, Emily,” he replies, scowling at her. It’s just an act, and he drops it when she bends to kiss him.

“There’s none in the fridge,” she says, sinking down onto the floor beside him. “We drank it all.”

“Oh.” He purses his lips in thought. “That would be a problem, then.”

“Indeed it would, dear husband.”

“We should get some more, perhaps.”

“What a delightful idea. I’ll get the coats.”

The streets are wet. The bottle shop is closed. It is later at night than they had realised.

“If we go past the town hall, we can check the clock. My phone’s turned itself off.” Emily brushes against him, curling her arm around his.

“Does it matter? If this one’s closed, they’ll all be closed.”

“There’s got to be something open. A petrol station, or something.”

“Do they sell wine?”

“I bloody well hope so.”

They end up at a friend’s place, heads clearing, huffing clouds of white into the midnight air. His light is still on; as far as they can recall, it has never been off.

He ushers them inside with a warm smile and an offer of coffee.

“Or something more, perhaps? Vodka? Bourbon?”

They drink Irish coffee out on the terrace, wordless and content. The cold bites at fingers wrapped around warm glasses, at reddened cheeks and noses. They have another, then drift inside, where their host reads out what nonsense he’s been writing, run-on sentences and wine-warped passages that make them smile, or summon tears to prick at the back of their eyes.

Sleep reaches them as the sun rises, three to a bed, tangled in sheets and duvets with the windows wide open to let the city in.

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