Friday, June 16, 2017

Can I Have This Dance?

“Reasons Why Your High School BFF Will Be Your Friend For Life”

Some linked post I saw over on Facebook a while back. I was off, bored, lonely and trying to seek some relief from the hollows of my head and thickness of my heart that have plagued me for a bit now. Some from the dissolution of a relationship I was firmly and adamantly sure would last long past the cracks and chips the years had put upon it. Some from deeply crevassed lack of communication that has made it nearly impossible for me to be the me that makes me feel like I’m worthy of the somewhat, and oft over given praise and adoration that has befallen me. Some aching for the small farmers I just recently visited in France. The ones full of hope and optimism that 2017 was going to be the year that their fruit wouldn't be decimated by weather…a year they wouldn't wonder how they are going to pay their bills let alone be able to see any kind of fiscal growth. The ones that are now looking at losses of up to 90% for the vintage, frost biting the dainty heads off their newly flowering vines like some long-toothed monster. Some just from the shit that comes with being a 46 year old woman, leaking seals, longer aches, less emotional fortitude and such. Some from changes about to take place that will weigh heavy on my body, patience and mostly, the big dumb thing that rattles around inside my chest.    So click I did…


Clicked through the reasons I didn’t understand and spent way too much fucking time reading the cheese filled comments that followed. Eyes pouring over the highlighted tagging of high school buddies, the “LOL” s and the semi wistful clouds of prom remembrance people left like a scrawled, “Have a great summer” and “Keep in touch” in a yearbook that might be cracked open once or twice before it’s packed away in dusty boxes that will act like totem poles, standing guard over the attic or garage. 

I didn’t go to prom. Fuck, I barely went to high school. I entered the tenth grade but was asked to leave for my lack of compliance. I was a dick, plain and simple. Of course they didn’t want me back at Poly High and even the “continuation high school” I flirted with tossed me for not bothering to show up, “Even though when you do you turn in the most compelling papers I’ve ever read”….now there’s a person from high school I wish I’d stayed in touch with, that one pained face of a teacher that tried to reach me. No, I faked sick, offered to do the laundry and cook dinner, any little thing I could do to not be forced into a desk that highlighted how much I didn’t, fit.  Big tits, boy’s clothes, a full mouth that oozed foul words and carried numerous threats. Everything from ripping them a new asshole to making them crave me. Green eyes with thick bands of black eyeliner, always pointed down to my papers, my desk, my shoes or the pavement they slapped upon as I ran the fuck away from anything that might help me and right into the arms of the things that would eventually form me. 

My prom, as it were, was spent on a bus. I was 18 years old, dropping my fifty-five cents into the clanking change counter, doors heaving and huffing stifling air across my back as they slammed shut and the bus driver told me to, “move beyond the yellow line”. The shot I’d been given to stop my lactating had punctured a nerve making each step feel like another needle was being slammed into my spine.  Concurring those steps at the hospital to visit my tiny son, his eyes tapped shut to protect his vision from the oxygen being pumped into his incubator, his bitty warm fingers and astoundingly strong heart that pounded away even though he was born two months early. But nothing was as painful as walking back down those steps, hauling myself back on a bus, without being able to hold him, without being able to take him with me. A million miles away from puffy dresses, rented cars and the fumblings of first time touching. I’d been touched and sunk my teeth into the touching back. There were no hands shaking as they tried to pin a corsage to my strap, no parents taking pictures and laying out rules or curfews. I made my own rules, as self-destructive as they seemed. That full mouth devouring the fringe that lived outside the bindings of yearbooks, proms and high school BFF’s. Never the most beautiful. Never the most desirable. Never the smartest or most accomplished but like my tiny strong hearted son, I was never one to give up. 

“I’m kinda floored at how many of you are here” my words lilting past my goofy grin as I lean across the tasting table and splash a puddle of Alpine wine, Bourgueil or Alsatian Pinot Noir into a waiting and wanting glass. The crowd not only present, they are damn enthusiastic and all sponge like, there to listen, taste and learn about wines from cooky or less known little corners of France. I always stand there shaking my head, feeling each wonderfully earnest utterance of “I didn’t know” and “Wow, these are so different than anything I’ve ever had before” marveling in their trust and willingness to let me teach….let me, teach them. Always a bit shaken as I watch them clamor over the last bottle of this or that. I confess that I get off on showing them what cool, fresh, not expected wines you can find if you don’t write off entire regions for not quite fitting in.

“You know, it’s really easy to walk in a room and figure out who’s the best looking, not as easy to figure out who’s the most interesting”…As the words drip off my lips I get to see the eyes widening and the “Holy shit, I get it” bulbs go off, as people let the sometimes awkward but still brilliantly persuasive wines pull them, just, a, little, closer. The last time I used that phrase to describe a wine I looked to the register at the front of the store and saw my prom date for the past 27 years. His mouth full like mine, smile without question one we share, his strong little heart the one that stopped me from running and taught me a new way to use my…me-ness in a way that helped us. Much like the wines I often pour, we don’t always fit but, there is more to the story for those that are willing to listen. 


So to the wines that let me speak their praise

The people that hunger to listen

The palates that find sexy in quirk…

May I have the next dance?

To the young man I am so very proud to call my son, my prom date, while it will be lonely for me to look across the store and not see your, our face, I am so very excited for this next adventure in your life. I am always here, always watching.

 When you need me, meet me on the dance floor.