She holds the almost square glass in her hand. It’s a good weight for a drinking glass, she thinks.
She swirls the clear liquid around and around.
She scoffs at the offered mix.
This isn’t her first rodeo. In fact she’d once drank at a rodeo. But this is no time for that story.
She holds the glass up to her maybe-almost-she-thinks-official boyfriend and his family.
She smirkily nods.
Then she downs it.
She closes her eyes.
She opens her eyes to check if she is, in fact, breathing fire.
“Good stuff?” he asks with that expressionless expression that sometimes makes her want to hit him with a shoe.
“Smooth,” she whispers.
Everyone laughs. She bristles as inconspicuously as she can.
The party continues.
He puts his hand on her knee under the table. She relaxes.
She leans into him and asks, “What would you say if I told you that, even though I’m from the south, I’ve never tried moonshine before?”
“I’d call you a filthy fucking liar.”
“No,” he replies, as he mixes her a drink with vodka and some kind of juice.
“You’re a pain in the ass,” she tells him.
He shrugs and passes her the drink.
She takes a long swig, to try to wash the taste of evil from her mouth.
She suddenly elbows him in the ribs to get his attention.
He looks down at his side. Then up at her. He gives her a “why did you elbow me in the ribs?” look. She shoots him a “whatever, you’re a giant” glare.
“Hey what?” he asks.
“I heard someplace that drinking moonshine can make you go blind.”
“Yeah. I heard that too.”
He sips from his bottle of water.
She waits for more information. She gives him what she thinks is a reasonable amount of time; it’s about two point three seconds.
“AmIgoingtogoblind?” she demands.
“Hmmm. Probably not.”
“PROBABLY not?” she stage whispers.
“You should get rid of that coffee table with the sharp corners just in case.”
“Ugh. Why do I put up with you?”
He turns to face her.
“Because my day doesn’t really start until I hear your voice. Because your smile disarms me so completely. Because I want to know everything you think and feel and believe and desire. Because I love you purely, simply, and without conditions or fear. Because you love me. More than you’ve admitted. And not yet as much as you someday will. Because in a world with more questions than answers — a world that seems to breed insecurities and loneliness into us — you know that my feelings for you are true. You put up with me because I love you… And I always will.”
He turns back to the party. He takes a swig of water from his bottle.
After a few moments, she speaks..
“Okay. Fine. But I’m genuinely worried about going moonshine blind.”
With his hands resting flat on his lap, he asks, “How many fingers am I holding up in front of your face right now?”