Crumbs From the Corner: Adventures in Woolgathering

Thursday, December 4, 2008

What Was Left

"We do not remember days; we remember moments."
-Cesare Pavese

Seven years ago when I was still just a curious ink-scribble of a name to Spouse, he attended the birthday celebration of a very good friend. The friend turned forty and at the conclusion of the elaborate party each guest was presented with a small bottle of wine emblazoned with an image of the friend as a beaming infant.
Last weekend Spouse and I opened the bottle and consumed the contents. Time had steamed onward in the interim: the friend graduated to other birthdays, to another country. I imagine that Spouse was the sole guest clinging to a remnant of the occasion- the other bottles drained and discarded, the taste vanished and forgotten long ago.
With each sip of the tinted liquid we were both transported. We tasted the party. It was not consigned to the irretrievable, inconsolable past so long as the wine flowed from the glass to our lips, so long as the aroma possessed the ability to overwhelm the senses, so long as we inhaled untainted fragments of an evening that belonged to another era of our lives.
Spouse's clock wound back to where the friend had just turned forty; to where the house was spilling over with friends; back to when Spouse's home was nestled in the foothills of great, grand mountains in Northern California and once unimaginable dreams were being realised daily.
My own memories were entangled in what I might have been involved in- did I work in the restaurant that night? Did I sit up late watching television? Was I engrossed in a book, or composing a letter? I wondered: what book, and of what did I write?
I reflected quietly on a party that had not concerned me in any way, while Spouse mused on an event he recalled with deep fondness.
The goblet ran dry; the remains of the party trickled away though we had kept time at bay for seven years, hauling the bottle from state to state and house to house whenever our address changed, until we decided to drink, and appreciate what was left.
We had often considered that the bottle might get lost or shattered in the process of moving and that we ought to simply swallow the wine and exhaust the supply; but the notion was at odds with the human desire to linger a while over the happiest of memories.


julochka said...

great post..makes me want to drink my next glass of wine more thoughtfully. :-)

Beth said...

Another great story. I love the way you two savor every moment of life--it reminds us all to take it slower and cherish each moment and then the memories of the moments.

Pappy said...

This reminded me of a comment on living past fifty I recently read. I hope you find it relevant. Men are like fine wine. They start out as grapes, and it's up to the women to stomp the crap out of them until they turn into something acceptable to have dinner with. Pappy

Phyllis Hunt McGowan said...

Julie, that's the spirit ;)

Beth, "cherish each moment and then the memories of the moments." That's such a lovely way to put it, but yes, it is just a memory now, though a good one.

Texican, I enjoyed that one, sharp and sad as it was... good analogy, I think.

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