I walked into work the other day; eyes puffy, soul weary and feeling sure that if one more thing…no matter how small, were to land upon my shoulders, to be my fault or need me more than I felt capable of giving myself to that I would surely crumble. Just dissipate like one of those random dropped ashes that I blow off my side table without even thinking about where the pieces might land. My pieces just barely being held together after a night that should have been written for one of those asinine movies that encapsulates like the worst 24 hours of some jackass’s life. Yeah, that was my night.
So you know when you get home from a particularly grueling day, one full of you being “on” shaking all your bits to be charming, insightful or at the very least funny…the result of which is often not at all what you intended? Your, “This wine is sexy as hell” somehow twisting in some lonely, suspender clad, smells like a pile of dirty laundry guy thinking you are flirting with him? Your, “This wine is a wicked value” comment being misconstrued into, “Well I’m not cheap if that is what you are saying” or saying, “Oh are you going to an eighties party?” to a crimped hair, neon wearing customer when…they are not? Then coming home to share a story with your partner, a story that has kept you sane all day…finding a way to giggle at the silliness of the whole thing and forgetting that you are missing that filter that separates the shit you should say from the shit you ought not? That was my night.
“Hi Samantha” I looked at the face and while it was familiar I could not quite place it. It was about two months ago and I was in my normal pre-tasting frenzy that is my every Thursday. I was buzzing around and as I watched the woman that had so graciously greeted me…by name, glide around my French department then I saw a face I did know for sure, her son’s. I felt my cheeks go warm and as I bent over to price a Cotes du Rhone I watched them…saw their feet coming closer. I stood grabbing the empty case box I had just merchandized and I was face to face with her.
“I read what you wrote about me” my face getting hotter, little beads of sweat slipping back into my hairline. “I just wanted to thank you” now my eyes welling with tears of…of I’m not sure. Were they tears of shame? Pride? Guilt that I had written about her breathtaking courage here in this silly place that I thump away all my stupid rants and lustful wants or were they merely tears of awe and admiration? The woman that came in and shared her story of battling breast cancer for the second time, exposed her elation that she was going to be able to enjoy her wine while she fought this tremendous fight…that she inspired me to drink the same wine she was going to and share that with all of you, and here she was, after all that she had been through, thanking me. Tears.
I found myself stumbling and nervously pulling at the waxy trail of spent price tag tape that was dangling from my price gun as she told me how she had found my blog post, how it moved her, made her proud….telling me that her son had found it and said, “Mom I think she is talking about you” the second the words left her lips I could feel my pulse in my neck. A woman that had the strength to battle a monster that can and has devoured so many was now before me telling me about her four mile walks and tugging on her hair asking me, “Can you tell this is a wig?” took everything I had not to lose it. That’s a fucking lie, the second she left I did lose it, not for her…she took my breath away with her quiet courage, it was her graciousness and sweetness, the bit of pride that she wore in the face of seeing me, the woman that had written about her. Lost it while I drank yet another bottle of Azo Chablis in her honor, in the honor of knowing such a woman and in the heart thumping connection that she and I were and are going to share, forever.
“Hi Samantha” she was back and just as she was like a magical gift that first time she pulled my head out of my ass and reminded me of what is truly important, the second time when she filled my heart with pride and now…the morning after a horrible evening of self imposed drama, she was here again. Fairy Godmother for sure. We chatted a bit, the lift and light in her voice straightening my sulking spine, pulling my tear stricken lids wide across my eyes. “I finished my last round of treatment and look, I’ve got new boobs!” she chirped. This time, well this time I let my eyes…no matter how tired and sad looking, fall on her…no price gun tape, no feeling uncomfortable that I may have crossed some line. It was she and I, a rack of wine between us and I wanted nothing more than to wrap my arms around her, cry if she would let me and most of all, thank her.
Tonight my beautiful partner in Azo…I am drinking Our wine. Thinking of you. Admiring you and most of all, thanking you. You inspire me, make me proud to be a woman, make me feel like I have this strong and light gathering creature that is just outside my door and ready to heal me should I need it…I shall never drink this wine again without seeing your face, wig pulling and sweet lips thanking me. I should have told you that first time, it is I that owe you a thanks and I that will forever think of and remember you in the faintly doughy aromas, steely cut and fierce acid of Our Chablis.