I can’t remember what year it was, or why I was in his apartment, half sprawled across the sofa, my girlfriend sitting with his, or one of his, he had many, on the floor, listening to Inside Bert Somers, and thinking that was the last place on earth I intended to go that evening.
I recall the wine was good, but then anything a step up from Ripple or Boone’s Farm was good, and the rugs were threadbare.
I was never a fan of Bert, didn’t know until today that he died and was buried in Valhalla, thirty years ago, not long after my youth did as well, although I am here to mourn that at least.
It should come as no surprise, for both Buddhism and Hinduism grew out of the same fertile soil. An older Hindu man said, “do not look for your Guru. When you are ready, your Guru will find you.” I knew the Buddhist equivalent, and its corollary, when the student is ready, the teacher disappears. My poetry professor’s yin couldn’t grasp my yang, and I am still waiting patiently for my poetic Guru but despite my growing age, he has yet to appear, but my spirituality seems on firm ground, so it may not really matter. But during my weight, I have found Oatley, Duval, Rose, Kirk, Cullen, and though I have met none, and not a one has found me, the Nirvana they place in bottles at my disposal, that they willingly a ship from Australia, makes me wonder what other possible Guru I might need.
As the last of the wine glasses is put back on the shelf the Brut recorked and the dishes set in the tray to dry we take a slow walk after the meal hoping the arrabiatta sauce will be less angry, the pasta less weighty, when we arrive back home to the sofa and the purring cat distracting us from the beckoning of the bed.
They have a youth that you think should make you envious, poured into clothing that would be a second skin, if skin were silk and polyester, patterned tights hair ironed straight, colored highlights and you still recall when this what a fascinated you, when you would have found it alluring. You probe the corners of your memory knowing the trigger is there, unable to find it in the vague images of velvet, flowing and draping, colors more vibrant in the acid fog, knowing it would all crash down too soon, that the cocktails they hold should be cheap jug wine in plastic cups to prolong the slow descent back into the real world from which the blotter paper and cactus provided a welcomed escape.
It begins lowly quietly, then grows builds until, all players together, it hits a point where you hope it is a crescendo, but it still grows ever louder and you retreat from the club, half-finished glass of wine on the table, knowing that when you reach the back door your evening is over.
The conversation flows freely, piles up on the table, amid dishes from a meal now fully consumed, as the last of the wine reluctantly cedes its grip on the bottle and settles into the glasses. In Abruzzi, the vintner imagined this, staring at the grapes pulled lovingly from the now ancient vines. As night draws its curtain ever tighter, as hugs replace the conversation, the rest of the grapes settle in for a final sleep.