Eternal Love on a Glass of Merlot
It Started With A Kiss
What is love but an equal partnership between lovers.
If true, it does not question or blame, it does not compete or accuse.
No, true love is unquestioning, trusting, trustworthy, unconditional and eternal.
But where do we find it and how does it arise?
For me … us … it started with a Glass of Merlot.
Eyelids flutter as cool light filters through the shutters of the window. Sentience slowly creeps into awareness as the haze of sleep attempts to drag me back into slumber. Blissful sleep, so peaceful, so tempting, so comforting, embracing, soothing, loving … rewarding … oblivion.
Time stops as drowsiness carries consciousness away to nowhere … a place un-named, yet familiar and warm. Neurons flash through pathways as visions ebb and flow, flood and recede; until withdrawn, undreamt or forgotten.
… I feel sand squeezing between my toes and hear waves crashing and children playing, as I walk along the shore. The sun beats down and soothes my body and soul, glorifying a perfect summer’s day on a picturesque beach. Without a care in the world, I fall to the soft sand and lie in its warmth, facing the sky. Azure brightness dazzles my eyes with its intensity, until it transcends from blue to white …
Lustrous white fades into reality and forms a ceiling … supported by walls. All of them, tinged with an orphan hue that alludes a name or even designation by any paint company with a substantial marketing budget.
I am awake in a strange room. Dull yet filled with light and heat from a Sun standing directly outside the single window.
Yes, awake ... again? I have a feeling of light then blackness, feeling and numbness, waking to somnolence many times. Countless, or at least uncountable, as all recollection has faded with the dreams.
Sheets damp with sweat, weigh heavily until thrown off. I lift my body and lead-filled head into a cross-legged seat on the bed and lean against the wall.
Apart from the single-bed, I see four walls, one with a window. A desk and chair, a small wardrobe and a door. Strangely, the door has a tiny window, about the size of an open paperback, at eye-level. The glass is hazy and impossible to see through from my position, but I have a vague and momentary image of a face looking in at me.
Where the HELL am I?
Why am I here?
WHAT IS GOING ON!
My head is so full of heaviness and sleep, I can’t think straight. Slow down! Deep breaths. Relax. Re-lax.
A see a bottle of water on the desk and suddenly realise a dry mouth and drought-ravaged throat. A short hobble and fall to the chair before removing the lid and pouring life on parched cells. A brain floating in warm glue slowly cools, as sense creeps back into a sobering realization.
I know why I am here and remember hanging my clothes in the small wardrobe. That must have been Yesterday, before the first full night’s sleep in a very long time. But while I know the where and why of this place. The what is still unanswered. And how springs to mind.
How did I get here?
And more importantly … How do I get out of here?
The water helps immensely, and few more deep breaths ease the weight in my head. Feeling surprisingly better and suddenly hungry, I see my phone on-charge and registering: 100% battery and 9:17 AM.
Freakin’ amazing! I can’t remember the last time I felt hungry before late afternoon!
So where do you get food in this place? Hmmm, I vaguely remember eating in a restaurant last night? No, it was a canteen. But although hunger is urging me out the door, a previous question nags at me for an answer.
How did I get here?
Wow! That is not easily understood in a few minutes or even days. But an ironic image comes to mind and a smile joins in on the fun.
A Glass of Merlot
We met at a party. There were lots of people there, greeting each other with handshakes or hugs and occasionally kisses. It was a social gathering of friends, at my family home. Everyone was chatting and catching-up with each other, but … I only had eyes for you.
While we had never been formally introduced, your image and perfume were etched in my mind.
I was very nervous and lacking the courage to approach for the first time. But as if by chance I turned blindly, sat at a table, and there you were … sitting alone.
A quintet of clean, empty glasses were biding their time to one side, so I grabbed a pair and somehow worked up the courage to take you outside, away from the noise.
We sat on a brick wall in the backyard, I on the right with you perched regally to my left. The outdoor light above the sliding door, bathed us in the darkening twilight, highlighting your presence in a halo of beauty.
Although unplanned, I remember that night as our first date. The start of You and Me.
There we sat, a yard apart. A couple of glasses and a bottle of red wine, I think it was Merlot. Glancing shyly at each other in a deafening silence, until a strain of music and then lyrics, leaked out from the party within.
Started with a kiss
Never thought it would come to this
It started with a kiss
I never thought it would come to this
And then, as if preordained, it happened. The first kiss, the first taste of love. I was hooked.
From that moment on we were indelibly joined. Spending as much time together as possible. Peas and carrots, birds of a feather, peas in a pod, inseparable from each other. Every second apart an eon, an ache.
Those early days and years were wonderful, blissful, a dream come true. The more time we spent together, the more I grew in confidence and success. We were an unbeatable team.
But as time heals all wounds; time and habits, control you in the end. And our life, our union, was too much to bear for anyone.
When too much is not enough, it really is, too much.
A daydream this time, not sleep-induced, but just as vivid. That was the journey from innocence to here!
Back in the silent, balmy room, I look down at my hands resting on the desk. A slight tremor noticeable but reduced considerably by their contact with stable, solid wood. Just another of the side-effects of infatuation and unattainable paradise disguised as normality.
Scanning my surroundings again, I notice a small, black notebook to my right. It triggers recollection of an idea and desire to journal my progress here. In this room and this clinic, as I attempt to change my life for the better.
Somewhat apprehensively, I open my new diary to the first page, and start reading ...
Day 1 of Rehab
Arrived around 11:00 am.
I was driven here from the hospital by my family (how embarrassing)
It took over 2 hours to be admitted with heaps of paperwork and nearly 40 minutes with the Doctor.
I’m so sick of telling and retelling my story!
My room is small and drab but functional and safe. Insulated from the outside world.
I flick forward and see another 5 pages of thoughts and feelings. Way too much to read now … wait! … right at the end I see …
HOW DID A GLASS OF MERLOT GROW INO A BOTTLE OF BOURBON!
While I have personal experience in all aspects of this tale of love and addiction, it is a fictional story.
With that said, lived experience of addiction leaves me with a compulsion, and duty, to raise awareness of the dangers of excess alcohol consumption.
Alcoholism is a very serious problem. It destroys livelihoods, families and lives.
If you have a problem with alcohol, please talk to your Doctor or Therapist. The hardest step is recognising and admitting that there is an issue. The next step is seeking help.
Tim StiX April 2021
All images by Jane and Tim StiX.