Thursday, October 3, 2013

The Good, The Bad & The Here We Are

Up late. Another night where sleep eludes me. Feels like some ancient childhood memory reminiscent of Easter egg hunts and first kisses out beyond the backstop on the kickball field. Something so long ago that it barely seems real anymore. Never been a good sleeper but the past few weeks have catapulted me to the fucking top of the “We Never Sleep!” heap of slack-jawed, glassy-eyed mumblers. Winning. Feels like winning I assure you.

So disconnected from the life I was sure I was woven tightly into that I feel like half the time I am sitting here all frumpy and pouty watching some shit tv program that were I not so deprived of sleep…and inspiration, I might get up and change the fucking channel. Sucks. Like a ton. Personal life in bitty pieces, shards really, leaving me picking up the pieces that aren’t slicing me to shreds, trying to put them back together as best as I can. Work spinning about two months ahead of what I feel prepared for, like I am the snot nosed huffing kid in the too tight shirt running, tripping over my untied laces, no time to wipe the skid marks off before jumping to the front of the line, having to be all in charge and sorta charming. Finally felt like I was catching up there and BOOM! Sock in the gut that I shan’t, we shan’t, be recovering from anytime soon. Means more hours, more work, less peace and a missing that is making this sentence too painful to finish. We will recover and change almost always brings bright new energy, learning, laughing, teaching and life affirming puffs of fresh air. It will be all good but in this right here very second…feels like there are a pair of beloved hands spreading my ribs apart, taking my heart as a souvenir. Boo.

Tired of crying

Tired of missing

Tired of my own sulking

Just tired….

Got a text message from my beloved Amy who is currently a million miles away right now, or might as well be there in Texas, too far for one of her adorable and melting hugs. The ones where she wraps her whole tiny body around my chunky frame, the way her big heart and absolute love for me squeeze me so tight I can’t help but suck my breath in deep for the sheer power of it. Her knowing me like she does, she was able to feel my ache from all the way over there. The call just two hours later from our other best friend, her missing, aching, needing too. The three of us wading through our own lives but so…weaved together that we can’t even suffer alone. Thank God. Kinda nice to drop the pretense and bullshit and hear your own truth bubble out in the form of, “I don’t care how tough I am, I miss you and I need you”…trusting the voice on the other end will be welling up with tears, grab a glass of wine, a vodka tonic, a craft beer, tuck into a corner and soak up each other’s need…feel ourselves getting stronger from the being needed and trusted with that kind of fragility. Good bit of reconstruction that.

Found myself opting to clean my stove top tonight rather than write anything in this space. This space I crave at 5:00 AM when the fingers of desire knock at my chin, pull at my heart, “Come talk to me….” A whisper that pulls my skin tight and starts the tossing and turning. My mind fully aware that it is me, me needing to come here to breathe but this blasted heartache and disillusion causing me flip on my side, jaw tight, blanket pulled over my head as I tell, myself, “Fuck you. You left me”…hurts. Poured myself a glass of Chablis, pulled out a pad of paper and without filter started writing. The words that smeared across the sheets of lined paper, all scented with industrial saturated ink, they weren’t mine. I let my mind free and my thoughts, needs, wants and hope ran to a poet, his words pouring out the tip of my marker in volumes. My mouth stained with cold river stones, uncooked dough, freshly cut green apple skin and that salty thing that reminds me of spending a day at the beach and my mind, heart and inspiration went right to Rumi. The past few weeks just washed over me like a giant wave…

“I’m a vegetarian, but I hate olives….will I like this Cabernet?”

There is A science to this whole wine thing but…

“I’m looking for a Cabernet Franc that doesn’t have that vegetal stuff. One that has the fruit of a Zinfandel but with some creamy vanilla like a Merlot”

Explain to me why it is you’re asking for Cabernet Franc?

“I need a red wine for ceviche. Oh and nothing wimpy like Pinot. Well I know it might not sound like a red wine dish but. This is why I came to the experts! I am going to be with some real wine people, so they will know. Help me out here, isn't this what I'm paying you for?”

If they are real wine people, they will know, that is NOT a red wine dish. Yup, you came to the “experts” but we are not liars or magicians. No red is going to go with that. Oh and you are paying for the wine, the advice is on us...

“I need a red wine that will go with chocolate cake, and ribeye steaks”

Oh fuck me, where’s the camera???

“Is your boss here? Oh, he’s not? You want to help me? What could you know about wine? Oh, wow, you’ve been doing this for 17 years? Well I’m 59 so I’ve had way, way more wine than you ever have. Doesn’t matter, doesn’t matter, doesn’t matter, I’ve been drinking longer than you. So here’s my question, I bought a 3 liter of Veuve Clicquot at a going out of business sale, I won’t be able to drink that in one sitting…so, I was wondering how I would go about funneling that bottle into some other, smaller bottles? No? Not even if I blend up the corks and soak them in water? What if I made some of those foil things out of wire? Yes, I have shaken a soda, what’s your point? Whatever, it doesn’t need bubbles, if it has alcohol I’ll drink it.”

Fuck, fuck, fuckityfuckenfuck

“Our son has severe autism; we just never know what’s going to set him off”

Looking out the window at Toby who has been at his mother’s side for the many, many years they have been shopping with us, his face bloodied and red, tears streaming down his child-like 20 year old face as his parents tried to soothe him, give him the aspirin that his self-beating alerted them he needed. My chest jumping to my throat as I stuffed down every instinct I had to rush out and help them calm the 6 foot child as he smacked his own face, stopping short and knowing they didn’t need me. “Never seen Toby do that. Scary. I’m sure you are used to that but I have to tell you, I am profoundly moved by your patience and calm. That will be $2.49” as his father paid for the Jana water needed to wash down the pain meds…his smile as I didn’t make him feel like he was a charity case by giving him the water…a second time after he insisted on paying. 

“I’m looking for a specific Rose. It comes in a weird squatty bottle and is called Mateus. Oh, no, I’m sure your other Roses are wonderful but…well it is her wine, the one she was drinking when she agreed to marry me 50 years ago. We have a very special anniversary coming up, I need to find her wine”

Someone get on the internet and find this beautifully loving man “her wine”.

A woman in her 60s digging into her husband’s front pants pocket- “Whoa, you haven’t done that in ages” he sees me laughing as she walks out to the car in the parking lot- “I’m going to get in trouble for that one. I guess when you are a certain age you aren’t supposed to say those kind of things”

“I hope I never reach that age then”

“Damn right. I keep telling her, I’m on Medicare but I’m not dead”

A wink, a smirk and a nod of total understanding and agreement

A soft puckered woman’s hand reaching across the counter, taking mine in hers before..

“I just wanted to let you know, my husband, he passed away last week. He fought that Leukemia for four years but 6 weeks in ICU this summer…..he just couldn’t anymore. I know you always helped him, he loved your Cotes du Rhones and we are saving one just to remember him and how much he loved coming here”

Both of us with tears, firm grip of those hands, deep breaths of consuming each other’s fragility

“Is the lady that buys the French wines still here?”

My head turning as the voice lilted above my son’s head and landed on my so needing ears..

“Do you remember me? I’m the one you wrote about on your blog. I wanted you to know, I’m doing so good now. I’m healthy, active, happy. I have $50,000.00 worth of new boobs and I feel great. My son is having a birthday and guess what I need…yup, Chablis. Will you help me?”

My Lady of Chablis. Right there in front of me, looking 10 years younger than the last time I saw her, huge smile, perky new boobs, radiating strength and pride. There to see me and shop for Our Wine. We fell right into our banter, me in awe of her, she sheepishly boastful…perfection. 

My shitty few weeks, self-pity, sadness and unwillingness to pleasure myself with the pounding of my nails along the teeth of my laptop, stupid bullshit in the face of a soft hand attached to the face of woman that lost her lifelong love, her partner that bought my Cotes du Rhones. Nothing in the face of celebrating a love affair that has survived twice as long as my father lived and nearly as long as my mother did. Ridiculous when watching the tenderness of parenthood grab the wrists of a self-mutilating, adult child and coax him into sweetness and relief. Tiny when compared to a smiling cancer survivor who was brought to tears when she stumbled upon the piece I wrote about her, our connection and Our shared love of this wine I now have in my glass.

When love isn’t accepted

Move on

When love isn’t appreciated

Walk away

Hopefully time will teach

What real

True love is

This day weighed heavy on my chest but this night, with cold stones, apple skin and the sweetness of a shared moment in time with a courageous woman, my friends, the memory of great love….

You dance in my chest where no-one sees you.

But sometimes I do, and that sight

Becomes this art.      


Thomas said...

Speechless in New York.

Winey The Elder said...

Breathless in Oregon.

webb said...

Tearful in Virginia.

Samantha Dugan said...

Humbled in Huntington

Unknown said...

Gulp. So much I want to say, but would rather do it in person. So I will leave it with - gulp. Oh, and sending you a very tight hug.

The Passionate Palate said...

Ooops, Sam, the "unknown" is me. I always forget to sign in under the right google account.

Samantha Dugan said...

I think I felt that hug when we had our shared Rumi moment. Saw you posted another, and another of my favorites, this morning. His words pour into me unlike any other poet I've ever known. Thanks for the huggy reminder...and the comment.

Marcia Macomber said...

WONDERFUL! I love these posts. Get some SLEEP!

Samantha Dugan said...

Dear Marcia,
Said it this morning, tonight it comes down to Champagne, pot or that evil and creepy SleepQuil. Cannot keep functioning on 2 hours a night...I was barely functioning before, now?! Fuck. Thanks for reading and giving a crud. Hugs to you.

gabriel jagle said...


loved the story about the rose for the 50th anniversary

Samantha Dugan said...

Welcome back you. Figured you be up to your neck in freshly harvested fruit so it is nice to see you. All my winemaker friends are surviving on way too little sleep right about now, feeling a kinship I must I am grateful that you took the time read my silly crap here.

That old guy was something else, totally melted my heart and gave me hope that someday there might be someone out there loving me as long and thoroughly as he is loving her. Sort of the stuff dreams are made of right?

I was very touched yesterday when that same French lady, the one whose husband just passed away, she and her daughter showed up for our Spanish wine and paella tasting. Last year they had taken their daughter to the same event and even though their loss is still very new, they wanted to be there for that event, and the memories. Moved me nearly to tears. With all the shit that gets slung about, all the blame and finger pointing, the name calling and hurt, nice to work in a place where these wonderfully affirming things come my way.

Hang in there amigo and like I said, it was nice to see you.

gabriel jagle said...

thanks Sam! I've been working 7am til 9pm for the past week, so i'm a little spent. After a while it starts to seem a little masochistic and pointless, so it was really nice to get a reminder of how special a wine can be. Thanks so much for writing this