I set up camp on the cold linoleum of the downstairs living room floor, to grade a stack of papers. The discomfort makes it easier to stay alert.

Here, my husband says, handing me a glass containing something pink and a big ice cube, and smiling down at me.

What is it?

A negroni.

I sip. The herby taste that runs over my tongue is hard to place until I remember the Campari that goes into it. Campari is a bitter, and though the drink is red, it too is pleasantly bitter.

I like the taste of bitter things, and I drink my coffee black and my scotch neat and smoky. What bothers me is that the color of Campari is all wrong. I have a type of synesthesia, very mild, that means that everything I experience or think has a color associated with it—not one I picked, but one my brain picked. All day the colors rush through my head as I think, and when I’ve had quite a lot of sleep the colors are more vibrant. I write by color, too.

To my tongue, Campari is navy blue, and when you add a little citrus it takes on a green sparkle, just a light one. A negroni ought to be some shade off from that, because you add gin (which is green) and vermouth (which is silver). It’s a stylish drink that sings of late nights after long days of meetings tucked away solo in a swanky hotel bar, listening to some sleepy jazz combo in the corner as you dangle your stiletto off your right foot and dream of warmer climates.

But tonight I’m in loose jeans and a cropped sweatshirt — navy blue—and seated on the hard linoleum floor, and my drink is all the wrong colors, but my husband has made me a drink to make the work go down easy, and I’m still in all the right places.

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