Broken Hearts Red Blend
Mending a broken heart through the magic of wine.
Jessica sits alone at her kitchen table sipping a cup of coffee, nursing a slight hangover, and trying not to relive the humiliation of the night before. The night began well enough. She met her good friend Josh at their favorite café, and had a lovely meal. After that, they walked to the local theater to catch a late showing of The Breakfast Club. Had they gotten to the theater one minute sooner or later, she would have avoided seeing B.B. with his wife.
She would have avoided sitting through the entire movie on the verge of tears reliving the sight of the two of them together. She would have avoided the way he looked at Jessica with pity in his eyes, the sight of his hand on the small of his wife’s back, and the genuine smile he had on his face before he saw Jessica. She cringed inside as she thought of the way she broke down into tears after the movie ended. Poor Josh, her doting faithful friend, had to once again listen to her blubber on about him.
But this was not the worst of it. Josh, the gentleman that he is, escorted her home, and shared a bottle of wine with her to help ease her pain. After he left, fueled by the wine and her indignation, she called B.B.’s office line, and left a nasty drunken message on his answering machine. He likely wouldn’t receive the message until Monday morning, it being the start of the weekend. She wished there was a way she could sneak into his office and erase the message.
“Fuck, fuck, fuck!” she cursed, hitting herself in the forehead with the palm of her hand.
She had no one to blame but herself. She was the idiot that got involved with a married man. The idiot that trusted him when he said he was leaving his wife. The idiot that believed him when he said he loved her. Now she was the idiot that couldn’t get over him.
With a heavy sigh, she opened up the La Jolla Light and began reading. It was a light news day, and not even half an hour passed before she reached the classifieds on the last page. A small ad in the bottom right corner caught her eye. It was outlined in red, and in beautiful black script read: Madam Padva, Clairvoyant for the Lonely and Broken Hearted, Temecula, CA. There was also a phone number. Jessica puzzled at this for a moment. What was a clairvoyant? Wasn’t that some sort of psychic? If so, what kind of help was she offering? She felt oddly compelled to pick up the phone and dial the number. This wouldn’t be the most absurd phone call she made this weekend she thought, recalling her drunk dialing incident of the night before.
Bringing the paper with her, she got up and went into the small living room where she kept the telephone. She punched in the number and on the fourth ring a woman answered.
“This is Madam Padva, how may I help you?”
Jessica nervously cleared her throat and said, “Hi, I uh… saw your ad in the paper. I was calling to find out what it is you do for the lonely and broken hearted.”
“Well that depends my dear. Every case is different. I take it you are in need of assistance in your romantic life?”
“You could say that,” Jessica replied.
Madam Padva chuckled lightly then said, “Why don’t you come by this evening. I have availability at 7 PM.”
“What is your fee?”
“My fee varies depending on the type of guidance you require, but most people find my fees quite reasonable. I have never received any complaints.”
Jessica thought for a moment before she made her decision. What did she have to lose? She could sit here beating herself up over him, or she could attempt to do something about it. At the very least it would get her out of the house, so she wouldn’t have to spend another Saturday night alone in front of the television.
“Alright, I’ll see you at 7 PM. Can you give me the address?” she asked grabbing a pen and notepad off the side table. Madam Padva obliged, and even gave her detailed directions.
Before they disconnected the call, Madam Padva said, “Drive careful Jessica. I look forward to meeting you.”
Jessica told her likewise, and then hung up the receiver. Suddenly it occurred to her, she never did give her name.
The drive to Madam Padva’s was pleasant and uneventful. She reveled in the simple pleasure of feeling her long, blond, feathered hair blowing in the wind as she drove with the T-top open on her IROC-Z Camaro, and the stereo blasting a Prince tape from the speakers. It took her about an hour to reach Temecula. From there she was instructed to drive east along Rancho California Road for five miles until she saw a sign for Padva Sisters Spiritual Guidance Center. Her studio, Madam Padva had said, was located in an Airstream trailer behind the main house. She was to park in front of the main house, and follow the path on the left side that would lead her to the trailer.
To Jessica’s surprise, the property was situated on a sprawling vineyard. As she drove slowly up the the long drive, she passed orderly rows of beautiful grape vines heavy with summer fruit. The main house was an impeccably maintained ranch style house with a circular driveway and desert-themed landscaping. She grabbed her purse from the front seat and exited the car. Looking to her left, she spotted the pathway that curved around to the back of the house and followed it.
Just as Madam Padva had said, there was a gleaming silver Airstream nestled securely in the backyard. It had a large awning strung with white lights, and a brick patio in the front with a small bistro table and two chairs. The door to the Airstream was open, and a warm glow from within welcomed her inside.
She walked up to the Airstream and knocked on the open door calling out, “Madam Padva?”
“Come in my dear,” answered a melodic voice from inside.
Jessica stepped within the dimly-lit trailer, and was greeted by the exotic smell of burning incense. The windows of the Airstream were covered by drapes of richly colored gold and red hues. The thick shag carpeting beneath her feet was a creamy white with flecks of gold. Madam Padva was seated at a large table at the rear of the trailer. Behind her were two ornate sconces casting a golden glow around her, giving her an ethereal appearance.
Madam Padva was a beautiful black woman of indeterminate age. Her skin was as dark as black coffee, and she wore her hair in bleached blonde dreadlocks that cascaded down her front past her ample bosom. Her make-up appeared to have been expertly done, and her full lips were painted a shocking red. She was wearing a flowing leopard print silk caftan, cinched at the waist by a red leather belt.
“Please, sit down,” Madam Padva said, motioning to a cushioned bench in front of her table. Jessica did as she was bid, settling herself uncertainly on the bench, clutching her purse in her lap.
“Tell me child,” Madam Padva said fixing her amber cat like eyes on Jessica, “What brings you here?”
“I’m in love with a married man,” Jessica replied, shocked at her own blunt honesty.
“Does this man return your affections?”
“No, not any more. He broke off our affair about three months ago, and went back to his wife,” Jessica said, obvious pain and disappointment coloring her voice.
Madam Padva considered this for a moment then opened a black wooden box on the corner of her table. From it, she removed a velvet sack and spilled the contents onto a golden plate in front of her. With horror, Jessica realized that the sack contained various small bones, and what looked like teeth. Madam Padva picked up the gold plate and studied the bones and teeth.
After what felt like an eternity, she set down the plate and said, “I believe I can help you Jessica—if the help I am offering is what you desire. I can take away the love you harbor for this man. I can make it as though he never existed. Is this what you want?”
Jessica took a deep breathe and then replied confidently, “Yes, more than anything.”
Madam Padva opened a drawer in her table and pulled out a long, black feather. Handing it to Jessica she said, “Go to the back door of the main house, and ring the bell. When my sister answers give her this feather.”
After thanking the mysterious Madam Padva for her help, she stepped out of the Airstream, and walked down a gravel path toward the back of the main house. At the far end of the back of the house, she noticed a door with a red light overhead. Assuming this was the door Madam Padva spoke of, she made her way over, and then pushed the buzzer. Her heart pounded with nervous anticipation as she waited. After several moments, a woman appeared at the door. Jessica was surprised to find that Madam Padva’s sister was her twin. The only difference in their appearance being that she had closely cropped blonde hair. She also wore little if any make-up, and was dressed more casually, in loose fitting overalls and a comfortable-looking flannel shirt.
Apprehensive and unsure of what she should say, Jessica thrust the feather at the woman and said, “Madam Padva sent me.”
The woman smiled reassuringly at her, taking the feather and said, “Please come in Jessica.”
Jessica marveled that the woman knew her name, although it stood to reason that Madam Padva could have shared this information with her, but for some reason Jessica did not think so. These twin sisters seemed not only mysterious to Jessica, but also mystical. She followed her inside what appeared to be a small wine and cheese shop. The walls were lined with bottles of wine, and a there was a small display case containing various types of cheeses. The woman dropped the feather in a basket near the cash register. Jessica noticed that there were other feathers in the basket of various colors, but none of them black. The woman walked over to a beaded curtain behind the display case and cash register, and motioned for Jessica to follow. The beaded doorway led down into a chilly, dimly lit wine cellar. There were numerous racks of wine in the small cellar, some covered in cobwebs and dust.
“Take a look around dear,” the woman said breaking the silence.
Jessica did as she was told, marveling at what she saw. There was wine from all over the world, and not just France or Italy, there was also wine from exotic places like Romania and Croatia. She even spotted bottles of wine that were older than she. She got the feeling that the reason she was brought down here was to choose a bottle, but she did not fancy herself enough of a wine connoisseur to make a selection.
“Am I to choose a bottle of wine?” Jessica asked.
“No dear,” replied the woman. “The bottle chooses you.”
Jessica looked at her puzzled, but then noticed out of the corner of her eye that one of the bottles appeared to be glowing. Walking over to the bottle, she picked it up and read the label. In elegant, calligraphy script the label read: Padva Vineyards Estate, Broken Hearts Blend. To her delight, the vintage was 1960—the year she was born. Although she had seen such options on the wine menus of fancy restaurants in San Diego, she had never had the opportunity to try a bottle of 25-year old wine.
Feeling confident about her selection, Jessica looked over at the woman and said, “I’ll take this one.”
“Very good,” the woman replied smiling, and then motioned for Jessica to head back upstairs.
Once upstairs, the woman took the bottle from Jessica, wrapped it in brown butcher paper, and secured it with a black ribbon. She then took out a receipt book, and wrote down the name and vintage of the bottle along with the price. Jessica had never in her life paid so much for a bottle of wine, but for some reason the price did not phase her. She gladly to handed over a check for $100.
“Go home tonight and drink the entire bottle, alone. You must not share any of its contents with another soul, and you must drink the entire bottle. Tomorrow morning you will wake free from the love you feel. It will be as if he never existed.”
Jessica nodded her understanding and the woman handed her the bottle.
The sunset on her drive home was particularly stunning, and Jessica took this as a promising omen. Once she arrived home, she took the steps up to her apartment two at a time. She couldn’t wait to shut her self inside, and crack open the bottle of wine. She took the bottle into the kitchen and carefully unwrapped it. It was no longer glowing, but still felt cool from the cellar in her hands. She carefully uncorked the bottle, and took it and a wine glass into the living room. After slipping into cozy pajamas, she settled herself on the sofa, and poured her first glass.
She swirled the wine in her glass and then inhaled deeply, the aromas of dark fruit and violets making her mouth water. She savored the first sip, letting it dance around in her mouth before swallowing. The wine was wonderfully balanced, and showed poetic restraint. It felt sensual and supple in her mouth, with rich dark fruit flavors, and a hint of spice on the finish. It was the best wine she had ever drank. She turned on the television to MTV, and began watching the Top 20 Music Video Count Down. After she finished the first glass, she began to feel entranced, visions of her and B.B. together flashing through her mind. It was like a documentary of their tumultuous relationship, and she felt her emotions swing from one extreme to the other like a pendulum. Before long, the bottle was empty, and Jessica slipped into a deep sleep.
Sunlight streaming in through the windows woke Jessica from her sleep on the sofa. Looking at the coffee table, she saw an empty bottle of wine and a single wine glass. Try as she might, she could not recall where she had gotten the bottle of wine, and why she had decided to drink the entire bottle by herself. After several minutes of racking her brain she gave up and stood and stretched. Remarkably, she did not feel the hangover or stiff muscles that usually accompanied a night of drinking and waking up on the sofa. In fact, she felt amazing—refreshed and unburdened. She spied the time on the VCR clock, 9 AM. Plenty of time to get in a jog down the beach then head out for Sunday brunch. Picking up the phone she dialed up Josh.
“Hey you! Interested in meeting me for brunch?”
“Good morning Jess! You sound perky this morning.”
“I feel perky. Although I am a bit confused. I woke up on the sofa this morning after I apparently drank an entire bottle of wine by myself.”
“Come on Jess,” Josh chided, “You know I would have come over if you’d asked.”
“That’s just it Josh! I don’t recall drinking the wine let alone where I got the bottle.” She picked up the bottle and read the label to him. “Did you buy me this?”
“No. I’ve never even heard of it before,” Josh said, confusion now coloring his voice.
“No matter,” she said setting the bottle down. “So, brunch at Sophia’s?”
When she arrived at the café, Josh was waiting for her outside on a shaded bench. Upon seeing her, he rose to his feet with a genuine smile spread across his face. Oddly, it felt to Jessica as if she were seeing him for the first time. He no longer looked like just her reliable friend Josh. His appearance had somehow transformed into that of a desirable, handsome man. Jessica began to feel something different for Josh. Her feelings of friendship began to be replaced by feelings of desire.
“Wow Jess! You look amazing!” Josh gushed at her, pulling her into a warm hug.
Melting into his arms, she inhaled deeply his familiar musk, and replied into his neck, “Thanks Josh, I feel amazing.”
He gently broke their embrace, and looked deeply into her eyes. They stood looking at each other, waves of desire passing silently between them. Josh pulled her into his arms, and kissed her with all of the pent-up passion and longing he had reserved just for her. Jessica returned his kiss with a fervor that surprised her.
A voice intruded unwelcome into the moment, “Jessica?”
She turned toward the voice, and saw a man that looked vaguely familiar with a newspaper tucked under his arm. She felt strongly that she should know this man, but could not place him. He was looking at her intently, waiting for her to reply.
“Do I know you?”
He sputtered incredulous, “Of course you do Jess. Don’t be silly.”
“I’m sorry, I don’t remember you,” she responded looking to Josh for help.
Josh wasn’t altogether sure how he should respond, but Jessica clearly did not want to acknowledge him. Josh recalled how he had coldly walked by Jessica, his attractive oblivious wife on his arm, that night outside the theatre. Perhaps she was exacting some well-deserved revenge for that night.
Deciding that this was probably the case, he responded, “No one important Jess. Come on, let’s get a table. I’m starving.”
The happy couple walked into the café’ leaving a confused B.B. standing on the sidewalk outside.