When a doctor asks me how much I drink I lie and make up a number, I’m afraid to say never because he might think I am a recovering alcoholic. It’s just that I grow up when cool people don’t drink. Drinking is for the bourgeoisie, for my parents, gin and tonics and Manhattans and martinis, scotch on the rocks, decanters and shakers set catty-cornered next to polished glasses on the bar, cocktails to be served with canapes, chopped chicken liver on crackers maybe, and the news on Channel 3.
My father comes home from work every night at 6:00 pm on the dot, a homely man made handsome in his felt fedora, overcoat, wingtip shoes, suit and tie, carrying a leather lawyer’s briefcase bulging with important files and the New York Times and the Post, letting himself in the door, I can hear the key turning in the lock, calling out, glad to be home. He is hungry for drinks and then dinner, hello dear he says to my mother smiling. He changes clothes, and he and my mother and I sit in the living room, we can smell dinner cooking.
I don’t say much, I read a book while they talk, but I like to watch them, my mother is so beautiful and my father looks at her with admiring eyes. Alcohol blurs their voices, my father jokey with a five o’clock shadow, my mother laughing one minute and complaining the next, she smokes her cigarette like a movie star.