By Phil Dwyer (Toronto, ON)


I could blame it on nerves - I was meeting her family for the first time; or on the season - it was Christmas Eve. But there's no getting over it, I crossed a line somewhere after the third pint at the local, and the Caesar her sister mixed when we got back to the house. I crossed it so fast I didn't notice, and I just kept going.

It wasn't just the booze; what sank me were the hand gestures. They weren't obscene, just reckless.

Next to her mother, Martha Stewart looks like a lazy slattern. So when I struck my capacious red wine glass with the back of my hand and saw it topple towards the virginal table-runner, I did what any drunken fool would do and grabbed it. Time slowed. The wine's inertia carried it onwards, over the glass's lip, the virginal runner, and the three diners on the other side of the table. Horror.

But wait. What's this? I had over-corrected. A new tsunami was gathering in the glass. It unleashed itself on the two other diners on my side of the table, and the wall behind me. Miraculously, I alone escape. Her mother was still finding red wine stains months later: on blinds, light fittings, even the ceiling fan.

Undeterred, I continued drinking until, towards the end of dinner, I retired to the bathroom. Concerned at my long absence, she found me asleep on the throne, my trousers around my ankles.

She married me.

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