Suzanne’s Christmastime Visit.
I couldn’t believe it, but there she sat at the end of the butcher block table.
It was Suzanne, and she was as beautiful as ever. She was sitting there, with that long, dark cigar, smiling and looking at me, not saying a word.
I stood there, stunned. Bailey and Brandy were no less surprised as they sat on the floor by her chair, looking at her.
I hadn’t seen her since March 9th of 2012, when, after about two months of visiting me, she walked through the door and was gone. I never did figure out how those Greek muses could do that trick.
All I could think of to say was, “Hello.”
She smiled and said, “Hello, Bobby, it is good to see you.”
“My god, it is good to see you, it has been so long, I thought you’d forgotten me. What brings you back?” I said.
She took a puff on her cigar, and through the smoke I could see the light in her flashing, emerald green eyes, and she said, “Bobby, I could never forget you, and I came to wish you a Merry Christmas, and tell you I like what you have done since we last saw each other.”
For those of you reading this, who aren’t familiar, Suzanne was the muse that dropped in, unannounced to my humble dwelling back in January 2012, having been sent by her mother, Calliope, who was the Greek muse of epic poetry. Suzanne, who was Homer’s daughter and the niece of Socrates, came to help me find a voice for my words, and in the process she helped me rewrite Greek history.
I sat down at my end of the table, as I done for so many nights, and we began to talk. I asked her what she had been doing since she left to go to Butte, Montana to help some poor cowboy poet who was having trouble. Her mother had decided she had spent way to much time in Bismarck with me, and besides, the cowboy was having trouble finding a word that rhymed with saddle.
“Oh, Bobby,” she said, “I spent a few weeks in Butte, and then mother called us all back to Athens. Seems she thought that we needed to become more efficient, and she also thought that the internet was getting in the way of the real business of muses, which is to help inspire. It was her thought, that the internet was making people lazy, and stunting creativity, and we had to work harder to counteract that.”
I was beginning to relax now, and asked her if she was staying the night. She said she was here for a day or two and then would be off.
I said, “Well, then, this calls for some kind of celebration. I don’t have any strawberries, but I do have chocolates and wine, if that will do.” I was referring to some of our evenings together when champagne and strawberries, candle light and music was the order of the day, or night, as it were.
She said that would be fine, and as I got up to get candles for the table and retrieve the wine, I turned around, and on the table appeared a bottle of Cabernet along with a plate of truffles. How she did that I don’t know. I lit the candles got the glasses, and poured us each some and sat down, still amazed at what I was seeing.
In the meantime, Bailey and Brandy were both laying beside her chair, now both seemingly sleeping, but obviously at ease that there friend from long ago was paying a visit. I had watched them when Suzanne was here before, and she had seemed to cast a spell on them.
I raised my glass and reached across the length of the table to tap her glass and said, “Welcome back. It’s really good to see you again.”
She smiled again, and in the reflected light of the candles on the table, her eyes had this wonderful, soft glow, and she said, “It is good to see you, my friend.”
For a time, nothing else was said. There was just the two of us, looking at each other, and the moment, a moment I didn’t want to end.
I took a couple of sips of the wine, and then got up to put some Christmas music on the box. I started with “Tomorrow is My Dancing Day,” by the Paul Winter Consort, one of my perennial favorites.
When I sat down, she said, “I know this song, and it is a lovely rendition of an old English carol.” I said, “How the hell do you know that?” Then I realized what a stupid question that was. I forgot for a moment who I was in the company of.
One bottle led to another, and she was beginning to loosen up. We both were, for that matter.
As I looked across the table I was struck by how the candlelight softened the glow around her face, and there seemed to be this faint aura that made the scene even more unreal.
“Okay,” I said, “What brings you back after all this time?”
She sat for moment, picked up one of her long, dark cigars, which seemed to light by itself, and she took another sip of wine, and said in the softest of voices, “ I just wanted you to know that I didn’t forget you, and the time we spent together, and it seemed to me that Christmastime was the perfect time to tell you how much you meant to me.”
I almost melted. I told her I had never forgotten her, or what she meant to me either.
Then she told me she had been keeping tabs on me since she left, and she knew that I had finished the first draft of the story I was having so much trouble getting started on when she had first walked through the door. She said she also thought some of the poetry I had written since then was not bad either. I figured coming from the daughter of the muse of epic poetry that wasn’t a bad endorsement, even though no one would ever hear but me.
I asked her if there was anyone special in her life, and she gave me this inscrutable look that told me if there was it was none of my business. Then she told me that muses do have relationship problems, usually because there is a couple of thousand years difference in age, sort of like ours. I reluctantly had to agree, but then I winked and said, “We can always give it a try.” She said, “Bobby, you naughty boy, wine is fine, but we can leave it at that.”
I said, “Well, you got me there, my friend.”
We sat there until the truffles were gone, and the wine was at the bottom of the bottle, and I knew it was getting late. I asked this ethereal vision if she was staying the night, and she said she thought she should, if I didn’t mind. Well, there was no question about that, she could have stayed forever is she wanted to, but I also knew that muses have their limits. We had dealt with that issue before on our nights of champagne and strawberries back in 2012.
I said, “Good night, and I hope to see you in the morning,” and before I could blow out the candle, she said, “You will, my friend, you will.”