From "Terrible Driver," an O. Henry Recommended Story
She floated around her house, poured wine, sang along to arias, and nodded and smiled when her guests touched her arm and exclaimed at the lushness of the velvet of her dress, the tenderness of the lobster, the bouquet of the wine—it's all so perfect, they said, you've done everything perfectly. With that, she could almost ignore the disapproving line of her mother's mouth, and her sister trying awkwardly to talk to Harry. More wine. Davina needed more wine, her sister needed more wine, everyone needed more wine.
She floated into the kitchen, reached into the crates stacked by the sink, pulled out a new bottle of wine, handed it to her almost-husband, who stood by the counter, embroiled in a conversation with her friends from graduate school, smoking, gesturing with the hand that held the cigarette.
His thick glasses were steaming up in the hot kitchen. He pulled them off and swiped them across the front of his blazer. He was shouting about something—politics, it sounded like—and through her pleasant tipsy haze, she felt as if she were in her office, writing a note on her pad: "Displays new behavior: loud, excitable."
She handed Jack the wine bottle and without stopping his conversation, without looking at her, without putting down his cigarette—someone pulled it from between his teeth and held it for him—he worked the cork out, wiggled it back and forth, the bottle clamped between his thighs for leverage. Someone said, "Davina, you need a new corkscrew," and Jack looked up, laughing, gesturing toward Davina with the cigarette back in his hand.
("Terrible Driver" by Halina Duraj first appeared in Witness. Copyright © by Halina Duraj. Excerpted by permission of the author.)