Valentine’s Day, February 14, 2012.
Suzanne looked lost in thought tonight, as if she was thousands of miles away. I wondered.
I had brought out almost every candle I had and put them on the butcher block table. When all were lit, it almost looked like an altar at a church. I had turned out all of the other lights in the house so the only illumination came from the warm, yellow flames from the different colored candles that lit up the area where we sat.
We were into our second bottle, and the strawberries were tasting sweeter than ever as the bubbles in the glasses rose around them and burst to the surface. For me the scene was as serene and as magical as it could be.
She sat opposite me, as she does, smoking her long, thin, dark cigar with the smoke seeming to wrap around her like some ethereal shroud that any goddess would wear, looking more beautiful than ever. Yet, she seemed to be lost in a reverie that I could not imagine, so being the kind of guy I am, I asked her directly what she was thinking about, really hoping the answer would be that she was thinking of me.
“My sweet friend Bobby, there are many things that come to mind at a time that is set aside for love and lovers, and I suppose I’m not any different than you are during a time like this.” She said, and then, trying to deflect the question away from her she asked me, “What are you thinking about tonight on this night of champagne and strawberries?”
I looked at her through the smoke and the candlelight, and melted. I think she knew I was thinking of her, but all I could think of to tell her was, “On this night, right now, I think about how wonderful these nights were in my life, not just once, but twice, and never will be again. With the possible exception of this night, even though I know trying to capture this night is like trying to capture a cloud, and I think of many things.”
“I think of soft, warm summer nights, midnight swims and wine on the deck, and remember how good it was.”
“I think of nights filled with music, bread and wine and talking into the wee hours of the morning of dreams and hopes and things to come, and remember how good it was.”
“I think of laughter, tears, kisses and most of all the touches that came with it all of them, and I remember how wonderful it all was.”
“Now, having said that, I don’t want you to get the wrong idea. My words are not those of some sad and melancholy lament, but rather those of a song of of celebration of memories that are important to me.”
“So,” then I said, “my little Grecian goddess, now that you have me all dewy, are you going to answer my question? What do you think about? Is it that student you told me about, or are there other loves that have made your life worth having lived?”
She sat there, in the light and the smoke and looking across the table from me, now slowly stroking Brandy on her lap, seeming to change before my eyes. Everything about her was as soft as if I were looking at her through a lens that diffuses the light to create an otherworldly look. Her eyes were shining that brilliant green through the light, and it was as if she could look right through me. I wasn’t sure if it was the champagne or the strawberries, and I didn’t care.
“Oh Bobby, Bobby, you make it so easy for me to talk of such things. You and I are not unalike, you know, in how we get involved in such affairs of the heart. We are almost to easy. I will tell you that my affair with my student was an important part of my life, but that was but one of those affairs that was doomed from the start. Like you, there are other affairs of the heart that I remember on days such as this, and the memories I cherish as you do yours.” So I asked her if she was just going to tease me, or if she was going to open up any further.
She paused, looked at me with a look that could melt a glacier, and said, “I wonder if you don’t do these champagne and strawberries nights to get me to do that, Bobby, or if you are doing them because of what they mean to you.”
I just said, “I do them because I like champagne and strawberries, and I do them because I want to get closer to you. Is that so bad?”
She took a puff on her long, thin dark cigar, blew a smoke ring out into the night and said to me, “I too like champagne and strawberries, and I like you very much as well, but I also know this could be an impossible relationship.”
I said, “Wait a minute. This is Valentine’s Day and anything is possible…..if only you believe.”
She emptied her glass, took a bite of the last strawberry, smiled and said, “Good night my friend, and thank you for this night.”
Take care, be well, keep in touch and believe.