Champagne, Strawberries and Chocolates

Good morning. This is Your Not So Brief Morning Briefing, March 9, 2012.

Suzanne and I did a lot of talking the last several days, which could account for my silence during that time. We have come to the mutual conclusion that her time here has come to an end. We agreed that while it has been a treat for us both, there was not much else for her to do right now. As she said, “What happens from now on, Bobby, is going to be up to you.”
Besides, she told me she was needed elsewhere, at least for the time being, and her mother Calliope had told her she had spent to much time here already, even though she and her agreed it was time well spent.
She asked me if I remembered what she told me the night I decided to give her the name of Suzanne? As you may recall, when she came here, she wouldn’t tell me her name, so I decided she must have one. She said then, “If it pleases you, call me what you will, but remember, I shall be here no longer than I feel I’m needed regardless of what you call me.” I still don’t know her real name, but like the Suzanne of Cohen’s song, she has shown me “where to look amid the garbage and the flowers.”
So, with that, we decided to have one last night of champagne and strawberries. This time, however, I upped the ante and threw in chocolates as well, hoping to make the night one of the most memorable ones of her visit. By the way, Bailey and Brandy got extra treats too.
I put on some Miles Davis and Keith Jarrett CD’s, lit the candles, as many as I could find, and popped the champagne. Brought out the glasses, prepared the strawberries and put out a plate for the chocolates she had somehow miraculously pulled out of her bag. How muses do stuff like that is a mystery to me yet. Then we talked.
She sat there, in the candlelight at the opposite end of the butcher block table, her emerald green eyes seeming to sparkle more brilliantly than any time since she came here, smoking her long, thin cigars looking at me and she said, “This has been a lot of fun my friend. It isn’t the end, but there is now someone off in Butte MT who needs my help worse than you do. You have been a good student, and I think there’s not much more I can help you with right now. I hope you agree that my time here with you has been good.”
“My dear Suzanne,” I said, “your time here has been for me a joyous romp, and while I will miss you, tonight is a celebration of our time together. I too know its time to move on. I look back over the emails I’ve sent out since you came into my life, and wonder. I think this makes 45 of them since the 12th of January, and almost 30,000 words. I can’t ever recall having this much fun writing in my life. And, I still have about a 3 inch stack of notes and bar napkins with ideas written on them sitting here on the table”
“Well Bobby,” she said, “what’s important is what you have learned in our time together, and what you think that is.”
“Suze, you have shown me a lot of things I had forgotten over the years. You reminded me again to not be afraid of the blank page. You reminded me how to think of it as the playpen of my mind. You showed me how to, in your words, ‘think of it as your own personal yellow brick road and to follow it wherever it may lead.’ You showed my again how to write to please myself and if anyone else likes it or not, it’s not important. You reminded me again it’s okay to be vulnerable and take a chance.”
I then asked her what she thought she had been able to show me in her time here.
Smiling she said, “Oh Bobby, I like to think that that I’ve helped you understand the world needs dreamers like you, ones that understand where their imaginations can take them. I think you have learned how to take something unreal and make it real, at least for some, and that is not easy to do. I think you have rediscovered that your imagination can take you places you never thought it could…if only you will let it, and I think you have rediscovered the joy of playing with words.”
Well, by now, I had opened another bottle of champagne, and thought this night is going along just right. She seemed to be in a good mood, Bailey and Brandy seemed content, and I thought, “Who knows what could happen.”
Suzanne must have been reading my mind, because she looked at me and said, “Bobby, you can pour me another glass, but what you’re thinking is really in your imagination.” We both laughed. And I said, “Damn.” This time she laughed.
The shank of the evening was fast approaching. The champagne was about gone, the last of the chocolates had long since disappeared, and while we sat in the half dark with the light from the candles warming her face, we both knew it was time. I said, “You know I really loved having you here. So did Bailey and Brandy, and I still think you guys knew each other in another time and place, but that could just be my imagination.”
“Bobby, this has been a lot of fun, and I really like you, and you know this isn’t the end of our relationship. I’ll be back, a lot of times when you least expect it, and just remember this, I’ll never be further away from here than that picture on the wall,” she said as she pointed to one of my photos of Joanie.” With that she stood up, came over to where I was sitting and gave me a kiss on the cheek, and whispered in my ear, “Promise me you won’t stop working now that I’m gone, for I will know if you do.” I promised, and while this is the last email I will send out, it is not the last we shall hear from, or about Suzanne.
She then reached down, scratched B andy and Bailey one more time, told me she’d be in touch, and walked out through the door without opening it just as she did when she came here.
How the hell those muses can do that door trick I’ll never know.
Take care, be well and keep in touch.
“Someday we’ll find it,
 The rainbow connection
 The lovers, the dreamers and me.”
–Kermit the Frog

About Bob Kallberg

Retired reporter. Concentrating now on recounting Joanie's 12 year battle with cancer, a battle she waged with extreme courage, determination and an indomitable spirit, that, for me, serves as an example.
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