I don’t do this often, but I beg your forgiveness for another one of my self-indulgent jaunts into wine fiction.
The night had consisted of a steady stream of Lucky Strikes and copious quantities of beer. The cool night air of an early summer evening in Denver had descended on us like an albatross, driving most of the crowd indoors. I pulled on my black hoodie with the punk rock band name plastered across the front in red and white, and settled in for another cigarette.
Life on my own in the “big city” hadn’t been everything that I had expected. A feeling of disorientation seemed to have become a permanent fixture in my life, and even my closest friends were growing tired of my moping in the wake of my most recent failed relationship. I had staked my claim on a small section of the apartment balcony and was nursing a PBR and some self pity. I got some kind of perverse enjoyment out of my melancholy being set to the soundtrack of good times from inside the apartment.
As I leaned up against the railing around the balcony, I would watch the guests who came and went from the party. Most of them were friends from work or part of our little inner circle, but every once in a while an unfamiliar face would make an appearance. In the middle of a circle of late arrivals I saw her. She was like some kind of punk rock goddess, dressed in loose army green pants and a wife beater shirt that didn’t quite conceal the black straps of her bra. Tattoos ran all the way down her arms, to her wrists that were adorned with chains and the the remnants of a color-ringed tube sock.
For a second I forgot about my evil ex and wished that I hadn’t committed myself so steadfastly to exile from the world of the living. Maybe I could just go in for a little while. I wouldn’t have to party, but my friends were right, I should be moving on. This constant mopey John Cusack routine was really not healthy.
While I was trying to work up my courage and vanquish my excuses, my vision emerged from the front door, swigging directly from a bottle of Champagne. She looked over at me in my self-imposed Elba and asked, “Can I bum one of those?” Her voice had the weathered sound of someone who had taken in more than her fair share of smokes in her time. I muttered some kind of affirmative response and she walked towards me. I shook a smoke from the soft package. “Luckies, eh? Well done.” she said as she lit up. I had never really been much of a wine drinker, in fact I had never had any wine with bubbles before, but I sipped from the bottle when she offered it to me.
“So, you just out here enjoying the evening or what?” she asked through an exhalation of smoke. I made a snap judgment that it probably wouldn’t be the best idea to tell her that I had actually been brooding over an ex-girlfriend for the last two weeks, and instead chose to reply that I was enjoying the evening and that the moon was really beautiful tonight, or something to that effect. “I like your band.” she pointed to my shirt. “Oh, that’s not my band, I just listen to them.” I blurted out. She chuckled, her voice horse, “I know, I didn’t mean that I thought that you were in the band, just that I liked the band on your shirt.” I nervously took another swig from the bottle and handed it back to her. “That stuff’s pretty good.” I changed the subject quickly. “Yeah, it’s not bad.” she lifted the bottle to her lips. “I stole it from my dad’s wine room.” she stated matter-of-factly.
We talked as we finished off the bottle. We started with innocuous topics like our jobs, what kinds of things that we did for fun, the bands that we listened to, and other icebreaker topics. The bubbles were starting to go to my head, and I was deeply in thought planning my next move. I wasn’t really thinking clearly, but I thought I could probably try something involving reaching for her hand to test the waters, but before I could start the maneuver another person joined us on the balcony. My punk rock Helen of Troy turned to look at the new arrival, a black haired girl wearing a button up skater camp shirt and cargo shorts, and asked her if she was ready to go. The new girl leaned down and kissed my champagne thief on the lips and said, “Yeah, I have to get up early in the morning.” and with that my goddess said goodnight and walked away.
I sat for a few minutes in silence, peeling away at the French label on the bottle in front of me. After a while I pulled out another cigarette, and lit it with a sigh. “Figures.”
Images taken from Cutcaster and from Tank Girl