He had bought the wine in Germany during a stopover on his way home from Iraq just a few weeks before we met.
We found it while unpacking old boxes just a few weeks before the end. We spent a pleasant few hours together in the kitchen that night, with me washing dishes and asking questions while he researched the wine. Ice wine, made from frozen grapes, and Trockenbeeren-Auslese, made from grapes shriveled and sweeted by “noble rot” are both served chilled, so we placed the bottles in the fridge, where they stayed until the night before I left him.
All week, we had worked together sorting our mingled possessions - the material evidence of our mingled life - and packing my things. We joked, we laughed, we talked, and we (mostly I) cried. That last afternoon, a Sunday, I remarked rather sadly that I had been looking forward to sharing that wine with him. It was one of many things.
He offered to open the bottles that night, when we returned from seeing a movie together, and I was grateful and hopeful.
“If we’re getting divorced,” I quipped, “We’re doing it with some class.”
He filled our glasses with the sweet, tawny-hued Trockenbeeren-Auslese, and we drank a toast, “to old friendships and new starts.” The ice wine came next, and he gave a toast; I’ve forgotten his exact words, except for something about “not staying in Arkansas,” which seemed like a kind wish. We drank the sweet German wine as we packed boxes and carried them to the waiting Uhaul trailer.
I left in the morning with the sweetness of the wine and his last kiss still on my lips.