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What Comes to Those Who Wait?
What is the definition of a good wine?
It should start and end with a smile.
How long does a divorce last? A few hours squirming in a quiet courtroom? A year of hammering out financial agreements and custody issues? Eleven years of wondering? Eleven years is not what I'd have guessed or chosen to stretch it out to, but that's the way it happened. Try as I might to make the whole process faster, more painless, or a manifestation of great wisdom and discernment, eleven years is just the way it happened.
Nothing helps a decade pass better than a glass of wine in the evening. It gets dark, the neighborhood lights go off one by one, and I grow introspective. To uncork a bottle of something that has traveled a long way between a small green grape hanging on a spindly vine in the sun, to a dark, ruby-red elixir is nothing short of inspiring; amazing. That's precisely what I needed every night of eleven years not knowing where my own journey would take me.
If you love wine, sooner or later you wonder what a really good, expensive bottle of wine tastes like. You know, the kind of wine that has been waiting under a veil of dust in a cool, dark subterranean cellar for years, and is gently slid from the rack at just the right moment in time. The kind of wine that is uncorked and allowed to breathe before a trickle of the dark, red wine is poured into a glass. The kind of wine that smells of warm blackberries, cherries, and fresh-tilled soil.
I couldn't afford a good bottle of wine, but I bought one anyway. I drove to the local wine store and parted with fifty dollars, listening to the assurance of the salesperson that the bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon would age beautifully and come to a rich fullness in time. He promised, 'It will not disappoint.' It was a gift to myself and an incentive to be patient. There would come a day when I would either celebrate a coming back together with my wife, or mark the painful moving forward of a divorce. On that day, in the quiet of the evening, whenever it would come, I would pull the bottle from the dark shelf in my closet, and mark the time and occasion thoughtfully.
Eleven years passed very slowly. There was a new job, moving to a new state, two young children wondering what was going on, false starts at getting back together, tears, depression, hope, and divorce papers drafted and redrafted. A couple times a year, I would reach into the dark closet and give the bottle a gentle turn wondering when I would open it, and what it would taste like after such patient tending. The bottle probably didn't need turning, but there was something reassuring to me about holding it in my hand and feeling its substance and the coolness of the glass.
Then the day finally came—the one to mark. It was not the joyous occasion of a healing marriage and reunion of the family that I'd hoped for, but it was a final divorce that brought closure and the freedom to live in ways I'd dared not before. I pulled down the long-held bottle of wine to mark the moment in life with friends, Glenn and Chris, who had cared for me without expectation over the years. We gathered for dinner around a meal prepared in a manner that I had come to admire Glenn and Chris for; a meal prepared with conversation and laughter, full of flavor and spice, offering something familiar and something new. And then there was the bottle of wine. They loved wine, too, and it was a fitting pleasure to share this moment with them, the three of us, around a meal.
Glenn pulled the cork, slowly poured three glasses of the very deep red Cabernet, and passed us each a glass. We looked at each other and nodded, toasted by touching glasses across the table, and sipped knowing that life for me was different from this point on. There was a long, deep sip, and then—oh, my god—could it be any more awful? We puckered and winced and spit the bitter, vinegary wine back into our glasses. Eleven years had not been so kind to the wine I'd coddled and waited for.
We laughed so hard we cried and the humor of the moment perhaps gave my real tears cover. Another bottle of wine was brought out and uncorked. And later, another. There was so much to celebrate even though little was certain, and not much can be promised about life and wine. None of it was what I expected, but I can't say I'd skip the waiting and wondering if I had the choice. When I sit in the dark now, and think about it, I know for certain that the life in between, and after, was well worth the fifty dollars and eleven years.
Rod G. Boriack
©2007. Rod G. Boriack. All rights reserved. Reprinted from Chicken Soup for the Wine Lover's Soul by Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen, Theresa Peluso. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, without the written permission of the publisher. Publisher: Health Communications, Inc., 3201 SW 15th Street , Deerfield Beach , FL 33442.