BY DON HERALD
Copyright is held by the author.
BITTER. AN after-taste that remains an hour or so later.
To be honest, I’m not a natural wine drinker.
But for the past while, I’ve been sipping some of hers.
To make her laugh.
I noisily slurp, smacking my lips just for the sheer theatre of it.
She likes a dram of red wine with her evening meal.
A meal that seems to be getting smaller each passing week.
Twenty Bees — that’s her choice of wine.
Red. Never white.
Canadian, I’m pretty sure.
Only twenty bees were harmed in the making of this wine.
That’s not on the label.
I pour from the large bottle into a small crystal tumbler.
Two inches in the bottom — for her.
Another inch on top — for me.
I swirl it around, giving it air. I think air adds flavor. But, I don’t know for sure.
I bring it to the dinner table.
Hunched over, she peeks from under a fuzzy fringe of white-gray hair.
“Your wine,” I say, holding the tumbler in my hand. “Twenty Bees. Your favourite.”
Then, I slurp it. Loudly. Pretending to like it.
Sometimes I get carried away with the slurping. My shirt front blossoms red.
I remember that special laugh, but now a soft giggle’s thrown in.
“Oh. My. God,” she says.
It’s her favourite saying these days.
Except for “You’re weird,” which she says quite often.
At least to me.
“Not too much,” she says.
“No worries,” I say.
I set the tumbler down.
A hand, brown freckles in abundance, eases out, slim fingers surround the glass.
“Ah,” she says. “You’re weird.”
She sips — like a tiny bird from raindrops puddled within a leaf.
“Ah,” she says again.
Thin, pale lips smacking, just like me.
There’s an after-taste that lingers long after dinner.
It isn’t the wine.
It’s the memories of what once was.
“You’re weird,” she whispers.
“Yes,” I say. “I am.”