Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Rescue Me... (a re-post)

“God, what the fuck am I doing here?” the voice in my head, out of breath and accusatory as I stood in an alley, sweat rolling down my back, body scuffed and limping on an ankle that was twisted from a jump off a 2nd story balcony. Fourteen years old and thinking there was nothing quite as cool as breaking into a vacant apartment with three “friends” to drink icy cold forties, fool around and act like we were hard. Mario, it was Mario that enticed me to slip out the bedroom window that night. My bedroom next to my mother’s but my life, the one I was determined to stuff myself into…a world away from anything she could even begin to comprehend. The whisper from a gorgeous boy; long lean body, dark skin, big brown eyes, full sexy lips, big loopy curls that begged for my fingers to slip inside them. The tap on my window that I suspected was coming and me flipping the covers off my fully clothed body and wiggling myself out the window that never fully opened for the shitty paint job of the low rent management company that ran our complex….the semi-permanent scrapes that marred the little patch of skin right above my ass for years.

One in the morning I was on a bus with people that I was sure were cool as hell and for an adventure that would rescue me from the milky white world that made my skin feel slippery and foreign to me no matter how long I marinated in it. As the nearly vacant bus rumbled along MLK Blvd my heart started pounding, the tips of my fingers tracing the hard plastic of the seat beneath me….Mario’s fifteen year old sexuality thick and clumsy but utterly irresistible to a girl that was trying so hard to find a little slice of cool. A piece of vibrant, a way to feel or understand the conflict between trying to be a good daughter, a rock for her mother but still ached for a life that was hers and hers alone. The wee morning hours, this was where I found part of me, the me that loathed sleep, the me that longed to be touched so badly that when I was it was almost as if I could hear my skin moan….the me that would do things that haunt me to this day just to push back the sadness, the flaccid life that I observed, felt, and vowed never to let myself succumb to.

“Open the goddamn door!” the police pounding and screaming, making me jump up off the newly carpeted floor that felt soft against my shirtless skin as Mario fumbled at my bits and sent me running for the bedroom where my girlfriend was doing her thang. “Cops are here, get dressed. We need to get out of here” I snarled between my clinched teeth. My friend and her dude of the day pulling on their clothes and with panicked faces looking at me of all people as to what to do. These cool ass bastards that were so craveable, so cool and unflappable that I slipped out my bedroom window and was now here, in the worst part of town, topless, drunk and terrified. I tossed my shirt over my head, (left my bra nestled on the floor) and said, “This is the only way out that won’t end with us going to jail” as I slid open the sliding door to the balcony. I stretched my neck and looked at the drop as the pounding on the door was echoing in my ears. “Fuck. What do you guys want to do?” I asked, nothing….not one voice was willing to make the call. I found the beginning of mine, “Whatever assholes, I’m jumping” I said as I slipped one leg and then the other over the bars and tried my best to lower myself as much as I could before just letting go and plummeting to the ground.

I heard two thumps land beside me before, “Hey! Stop!” and that was when I started running. No idea where I was, where I was going and as I passed the piss smelling drunks that lined the streets, their ammonia stank filling my lungs causing my eyes to water even more than they already were from fear, I slipped down an alley and heard my own voice in my head, “What the fuck are you doing here?”

I would love to say that was the end of my scuffles with the police and friends that would urge me to misbehave, wasn’t…not even close but I learned that cold night that no one; not my friend, not Mario, not even the fear of displeasing my mother was going to stop me from seeking a life that lit me up, made me vibrate, made me find my voice and no one was coming to rescue me…

“Sam come try this” Randy once again making me taste a wine. I wore my discomfort on my sleeve as I slowly made my way to the tasting room where Randy stood….beaming and extending his arm, glass of golden wine being waved in my direction.
As I slowly walked into the tasting room I felt that same fear that I felt as I dangled from that balcony, I don’t get this, I don’t belong here and no one is coming to rescue me. I shot Randy one of my looks, the ones that let one know that I am pissed, annoyed and you are threatening me. His big beautiful grin, his hope that I might catch on, his belief in me shone back at me and I took the glass…begrudgingly. I shifted my weight from one foot to the next, felt the heat gathering in my cheeks as I stuck my nose in the glass….peaches and spice.

I let my eyes briefly rest upon Randy but my head was spinning. This, this thing that was slipping into my body, making me dizzy and feeling like a tap on my window…the draw was as powerful as those full lips, big loopy curls. I would scrape my backside, ride a bus, run past ammonia smelling lumps of life’s lessons to have, smell and taste more of this. My voice was silent but my heart….wide open. This was what I was seeking, what I needed, what those self punishing women that raised me could never do, would never allow themselves to do….my nose, my palate, my ache and the me that was just waiting came alive that day and I have never looked back.

“Where can I purchase a bottle of wine?” the first of two nights alone in Alsace, the region whose wines flipped me, awoken this fire, spoke to me loud enough to pull my misfit head out of my ass. I was there two days before the rest of my group….alone to wander, smell, taste…live in the cuddle of a tiny town and the people that shuffled past me. The wonder, the cold air, the giggle of a tiny child running from the butcher to the baker. Again so far removed from the life that had been offered me before that deep soul tapping sniff that would forever change my life, legs dangling off whatever story…me willing to let go.

To be continued….


Thomas said...


"...so far removed from the life that had been offered me..."

That is the nut of the experience, and such a beautiful thing when someone gets and accepts the message that there is more and it doesn't have to be the way it has been.

One glass of wine can open that sweeping door because wine is ever so deeply tied to our history.

Nancy Deprez said...

Wow, Sam, gripping, exciting, takes me back to my own teenaged experiences, which I seldom think about. What a way with words. Thanks! This woke me up this morning and was the perfect read with coffee & milk.

Cool the parallels you make between early experiences in life vs. early experiences in wine. It's like an awakening. Randy's special store is a place that awakens something inside.

Samantha Dugan said...

Yeah, as much as I admired my mom I knew I simply couldn't let myself wake up one day and be her. Wine helped set me on a course that would open me like nothing I had up to that point, felt before.

Awe, thanks chicka! All roads led me here, to this life that I love and live in so I do see the parallels in everything. The Wine Country is a magical and wonderful place....

Andy said...

Something about "a life half lived" comes to mind.

Anonymous said...

It's amazing when you find your 'place', that thing that opens you up, makes you want more, makes you feel. The Wine Country did that to me too, that first tasting I came down for. It engaged me, made me want to explore more and more, discover new things, taste new things.

Amazing story, and amazing place you've got there.

Samantha Dugan said...


Another Day of Crazy,
It really is a special place isn't it? I'm so glad you found us lady and I for one cannot wait to explore more wine with you.

Ron Washam said...

My Gorgeous Samantha,

Perhaps just as important was the moment in your life you decided to take up writing about wine, and writing about your life. There lies your greatest gift. You've taken your challenging and difficult past and transformed it into art, into literature, just as a difficult vintage, in the hands of a talented and intuitive winemaker, can be transformed into a miraculous bottle of wine.

I think everyone with a passion for wine has had a moment like the one you describe here, a moment when wine commandeers their heart. I fought it like crazy, but wine finally made me quit writing and follow it. I often wonder where my life would have led had I stayed with comedy writing instead of becoming a wine blowhard. Your life is becoming the mirror image of mine--wine has led you to writing. Lucky for us.

That blind leap from the second story in order to escape is the perfect metaphor for your life's path. Those afraid to leap, those fools and cowards, they are left behind. Little did you know at the time that you weren't running away from your past, you were running toward your future. It's a beautiful image, Samantha, the stuff of literature.

I love you!

Samantha Dugan said...

Ron My Love,
You Sir, you take my breath away....

Romes said...


Please don't let the "to be continued" take to long... I need to be transported back to France, and the picture of Alsace seems just the start...

PS - got my wine box yesterday and boy did I need to see that to brighten my day - I was bitching and ranting and came around the corner to the box and suddenly all was well again!


Sara Louise said...

The first part of the story took me way back to memories that have stashed deep, deep away.
It's funny (and odd) to think about life, where we all start from, where we all end up. Amazing.

Joe said...

I've always imagined Alsace would be the point of epiphany for me. Thanks for bolstering my hypothesis.


Samantha Dugan said...

So glad your box arrived and made your day! So, did you crack into anything yet? You know that too can make your day even better. I hope to get back on the writing path asap....got lots of love and encouragement over the last two days...cannot believe how lucky I am.

Is truly fascinating to me the directions some people take, the way life bends or breaks them...I prefer bending.

Alsace while small, (don't spend too long....trust me) is a magically beautiful place and the food....dude it's sick. Go, you simply must.

Paula said...

From the tip of the roof, I recognized the house, the car parked below, the name of the baker. You are, I think, in Andlau? I spent a 2 week internship there this summer. The wines are of the place like nowhere else, as stony, hard-edged, precise and immovable as the people who make them. Can't wait to hear more. You are a wine writer as talented with her pen as her tongue.

You are also mere kilometers from the place that won my heart, made me fall completely and madly in love, that did to me what Burgundy did for you. Jura. I don't understand it or them, but the food, the wine, the country, the people, the things they all do together, I don't understand it but I am ready to devote my life to trying.

Samantha Dugan said...

I actually just stole that picture from Google, just didn't want to wade through all my untitled photos on photo bucket when I was writing this. So I have no idea where that picture is from but I am sure you are correct if you were there and remember seeing it. I was actually in Ribeauville alone for a couple days on the trip I'm talking about. Alsace is so pretty and the food is just insane.

I feel you on the wines of the Jura and while I have not been.....yet, those wines speak to me. My inner geek, my lustful soul. All that complexity, the weighty whites...damn. Love them.