port versus chardonnay

Vincent sat there, berating me for my unsurprising foolishness. He and Camille clicked their tongues at me, for not liking Evan, for seeing James, for being the woman I am, vices and virtues and all parts equally detestable. Vincent held a glass of Chardonnay, and I grimaced at the thought of him swirling it around, sticking his nose into the tall glass, sniffing before sipping.

Camille looked on him, beaming, rebuttoning his top button. I sneered.

“I don’t know what to make of you, darling,” she finally spoke, before Vincent could give his opinion, which I cared more about. “James, Rabbit, Drew, oh my.”

She sang it, like in the Wizard of Oz. I don’t think I ever disliked her more.

“Fuck Rabbit,” I said, getting defensive, although I didn’t really know the reason why.

Vincent grinned at me, a greasy smile, one that, if I could, I would rip off with my hands and shove it in my pocket and save for a day I felt wretched. It made me happy, the look of his face.

I took a pull from the port I had opened and passed it on to Vincent. Port was his favorite too. I wanted to show her that I was better than her; my sweet syrupy (elixir of life!) port beat her fruity, buttery Chardonnay. Everybody knew that Chardonnay was for old, bitter broads who drank in the afternoon, those who wished they were younger than they were. I stared at the pearls that had collected around Camille’s neck. I thought about caskets; rich mahogany and gold-plated handles.

I had a warm feeling inside, an angry, bitter, cinnamon feeling. I felt like I felt at Blowfish on New Year’s Eve. I felt like punching Camille right in her pale fat face, making her bleed.

I was drunk. She never ate that soup, she didn’t know. She never saw Evan’s face covered with pizza sauce, listened to his boring stories. She didn’t know anything.

I thought of my pending birthday, only a few days away. I wondered what I would be doing. I thought about Gina and her stupid fiancé, the one that had tried to bed me all those years ago, settled for her. The guilt settled into my mind like sediment from the wine we were drinking. I thought of my decanter, lonely in my cupboard, ceramic, shaped like Napoleon Bonaparte. A find if I ever found one. I wanted to cradle him in my arms, feast from his neck.

James’ face was tattooed in my mind. I felt Drew’s strong hands pinning my wrists down. I took the port back from Vincent, took a long swig.

“Well, what are you going to do?” Her face was full of cynicism, of pity.

“Well no offense, Camille, but I’m going to kick you out of here and make my own decisions from now on, thanks.”

She looked shocked. I didn’t feel as bad as I should have. I looked at Vincent. He looked at her. I challenged him with my eyes, with my body language. He could leave if he wanted to. I didn’t care anymore. Jolie Porter! She was alone, she was a prodigy, she was on her own, she knew what she was doing, which meant she didn’t need to know where she was going, or more importantly, who she was going with. I thought of the down comforter; lazily, sloppily situated on my bed. I felt like sleeping with Vincent then, if even just to sleep, just to be held by someone who loved me. Jolie Porter, the cynic, the wallflower that wasn’t, the future.

Camille took her nasty beige clutch purse and all my worries with her.

Vincent opened a familiar box of Parliaments and showed me a joint. “You’re lovely,” he said, offering it to me.

“I know,” I said, accepting it. “And you’re amazing for not chasing your beaver out of here.”

He lit the end while I sucked, allowing the embers to crackle with a beautiful, calm fury. “Love is love,” he said, and that was all there was to it.


2 Responses to “port versus chardonnay”

  1. March 11, 2008 at 11:10 am

    I love that it was ‘Chasing your beaver…’Who says that any more? lol A great line, nonetheless, just saying. If it helps, I tell people to not give me guff. Also a rather antiquated term.

  2. 2 B-Town
    May 8, 2008 at 6:47 am

    ‘She sang it, like in the Wizard of Oz. I don’t think I ever disliked her more.’

    But are they *real* pearls? I’d love to know.

    I also like the ‘beaver’ reference.

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