This particular party turned out to be a rather significant turning point in my life. The party itself was a sad state of affairs. All of the guests were students, as far as I remember, even though this was not one of the newly minted professors that would actually be close in age to the students, but rather an older man. I guess he must have found it easier to socialize with the twenty something set.
He did mention that he had just had a relationship end with a woman that he described as brilliant. Her contribution had been to buy furniture and things for their home and when the relationship dissolved, she took it all with her. This meant, he explained, that she lived rent-free and then took with her the bits that she had contributed.
This was not apparent in the house. The part of the house that I saw was a small kitchen, actually smaller than the galley type kitchen that is often in one bedroom apartments, and a large living room. The entire place was lit only enough that you could comfortably see, but it was dark enough to give a feeling of coziness and relaxation.
The living room had a large sofa in the very centre of the room and several large pieces of furniture around the perimeter. These were things like old fashion stereo consoles and china cabinets, but I don’t actually remember what the pieces were. Certainly, it did not appear to be a room that resulted from someone leaving with all of the furniture.
As a man that still had his roots in the culture of eastern Canada, he had made swish. For those of you that are unfamiliar with swish, it is the result of adding water to barrels that were used to make whiskey, I believe, in this case. Any barrel from any hard liquor will do, I am told. In the production of hard liquor, some of the alcohol content gets into the wood of the barrel that it is made in and this process draws it out into the water.
I suspect that the cost of making swish is cheaper than making other types of alcohol. Of course, it is also less risky since there is no still involved and all you have to do is to remember to turn the barrel every so often. Another aspect is that the alcohol concentration can vary significantly. I suspect that it is around 25%, give or take. The professor had made a batch (or several batches—I have no way of knowing) of swish and had decanted it into wine bottles.
So, I walk into this party never even having heard of swish. One of the fellas that I had met when all of the students had gathered at the bar before we left for the party offered me a drink. I was holding a tumbler and he was holding a wine bottle. I said, “Fill it up” honestly believing that he was giving me wine. He assumed that I knew that it was swish and was impressed with this ‘heavy drinking’ woman that he had just met.
It was obvious on the first sip that I was not drinking wine, so I knew to investigate what it was and adjust how much I had accordingly. But, an impression had been made. A seriously wrong impression, I may add, and the wheels were set in motion.
Immediately, this guy took an interest in me and was very attentive after that point. I was aware of his presence the entire time I was at the party. At one point, in the large living room, I looked up and he was watching me. He saw me see him and smiled. We later played cards together. He was my partner and we had very similar styles. I felt like I knew what he was thinking and that there was already a connection. I felt like I already knew this guy.
This reminds me that there was a guy that I dated in high school that was very much like this guy. The new guy may have felt familiar because he was very similar in appearance and had the same mannerisms as the previous guy. They even smoked the same brand of cigarettes, which I suppose does not seem that big of a deal except that in the 80’s there were a lot of different brand names of cigarettes.
Anyhow, when we were arranging rides home it came to our attention that we lived in the same neighbourhood. We both got dropped off at my house and we spent the next several hours outside on the back stoop talking about our opinions, what we wanted out of life, our religious belief’s and our histories.
He had had some drama in his life and you could tell because that sort of thing forces you to grow up quickly. He had worked with mentally and physically handicapped people and had done babysitting for a woman that worked at night, in exchange for rent. I did not feel like I was talking to a guy my age. Most of the men that I had dated had been significantly older than I was and this guy was actually six months younger. He seemed mature for his age.
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