Dec 8, 2010

Fall of an oenophile

Rui Piedranegra was waiting for his turn at one of the rowing machines.
He'd been coming to this gym for so long...  He began trying to analyse the smell of the place, as he had been told to do at his first wine-tasting class, a few hours ago. First he made out the reassuring tang of the lubrication oil, wet cloth, a cleaning liquid with some lemon to it, very artificial lemon,  cold sweat and hot sweat...
That's when it happened. The place switched.
And Rui Piedranegra saw what years of weekly visits had hidden under the thick coat of habit.
The place was sad, the place was squalid. The place was not one he'd ever want to be associated to.
He closed his eyes, thinking this is crazy. He opened them again to the same abrupt colors, hard muscles working on an dead clown. The only possible laughter was one of despair.
But Rui didn't saw himself as of the despairing kind. He was, he thought, of the kind that kayaks down life's whitewaters unafraid.
He went out, losing  his turn at the rowing machine.
Took a shower, hot and hard.
On his way home, he bought a bottle of wine. It came from Chile, and was the most expensive he could get without using his credit card.
He drank the first glass in his kitchen, while beating the yolks for a purple and blue cake he had promised to bake for his son's birthday party, the next evening. At first the wine tasted, or smelled - by now he was at a loss about the difference - like wine. Then suddenly he was remembered of a winter afternoon long ago, when as a child he had tipped his tongue to the icy chain of the park swing, and got immediately stuck, frozen to the metal. After a while he had managed to free himself, but not without tearing  his tongue. As he'd tried to scrap the tiny speck of skin off the chain, (you couldn't let pieces of you laying around) it had fallen to the ground, in the mashed snow,  not to be relinquished.   Yes, the wine tasted of blood and snow.  Good value for his money. He chuckled.  He doubted he'd get away with it at the next tasting class.
The next glass he drank while the cake was cooling on the window sill, as american-speaking cakes do, its rich chocolate scent pervading the flat, nicely mingling with the wine.  He was musing on how to decorate it, something appropriate for an eleven years old boy who loved mountain bike and his new sister ( not Rui's daughter) when it happened again. His flat switched.
Not again.
Well yes. Again. What do you see, Rui?
I see every day that passed since we bought this couch, Eva and I. (Tomorrow I'll call the church guys, to come and get it.) I see the aging of things, I see how time gathers in little clusters of dirt and dust, how it turns sticky what was shiny,  thin what was sturdy, as I never have before.
I see the flow of repeted motions, their erosion on the walls, the knobs, the edges. I see the wear. It's nothing new, it was always there for me to see. But I didn't, and now I do.

Rui Piedranegra kneads blue almond paste into rose petals to put on the cake. (Flowers are much easier then cars, not to speak of bikes!) He knows they will please Eva more then his son. He knows she will never even imagine he made them himself.  He knows his son will eat them all except one that he will give his new sister. (She's three, but to Rui, she still feels new).
Rui drinks the last of the wine. Tomorrow same time, there will be none of the cake left. Hehe, cakes don't grow old.

1 comment:

  1. well, there is this "hehe" at the end, influence of your reading Comic-Strips? But for the rest, reading the text I really get the feeling of understanding midlife crisis. The moment you don't hold you up, you fall.
    Let's keep the head up and be careful with the tongue :-)