Have you ever thought about why people drink and when? I don’t mean a location, obviously. What I mean is a moment, a certain feeling that tells you need to fix a drink. Let me tell you a story. But before I do, make yourself comfortable, lay back and enjoy next few minutes with a drink in you hand.
Couple years ago I happen to be unhappy. It is a weird feeling, the unhappiness. Specially, when you’re use to smile. Well, life is full of bizarre surprises and we all know that. I wasn’t really sure what to do with this new negative feeling ( please don’t think it’s a story about some alcoholic person). Is there a cure? Is there a way back to normal? So, I decided to get away. My choice for destination place was Rhodes, Greece. It was a coincidence, not a real choice. I just scrawled down the pictures of my hotel and the island itself and fell in love with this beautiful landscape and water so clean I could see every little fish and all the shells hidden in sand and stones. I felt it was a place to get lost: lovely small hotel on the lovely small island. So, I packed my bags and went to Greece.
Have you ever been alone on your vacation? I guess, for those who travel alone, the loneliness is just fine. They like it, they know what to do with it, they are prepared. I wasn’t. But as soon as I landed on the island I decided to give myself a break and let loneliness to embrace me. Who knows, maybe it was meant to be as cosy feeling.
My hotel was nice – not magical as I expected, but nice enough for me. And I had the best view from my balcony – grand sea with tones of water. God, I loved that view. I could just stay there forever and never leave this place. It reminded me of my home town a lot…
As I came I decided I won’t meet anybody, not by freewill anyway. I needed to be alone, to think about what happened with me back home, to try to recover, to get back my smile! Yes… silly me. Wasn’t I suppose to know that plans are meant to be reconsidered and promises to yourself meant to be broken? Now I do.
At my first evening I went to a bar to listen to life music while having a drink. But this is not where my secret aperitif time started. I ordered Cuba Libre.
-You’re new here? – I heard from behind.
As I turned to look whose voice it was, I saw a young man standing in front of me. He wore a black shirt unbuttoned at the top of it. His smile was as charming as his french accent. His skin was olive dark and the hair curly.
-Yes, I guess so. I came today, – I answered.
Barman put my drink next to my hand.
-Would you like to join me at my table? – he asked.
I grabbed my drink and took a sip of it. I knew I didn’t plan to have a company. I knew I desperately needed one.
– Listen, actually…
He interrupted me.
– I just would love to have a company for a drink and to talk about the music, and the stars and the sea.
He smiled. I even smiled back. Who talks like that? Characters in books? But it was a reality, because I could swear I wasn’t dreaming. Was I?
– Alright then.
We sat there together listening to the jazz-band, having more drinks. No need to say I enjoyed his company a lot. He didn’t ask me any details of my life and I didn’t ask for his. He was talking about Fitzgerald and telling me stories about his town. We discussed old movies and our passion to the grand sea. He used to be a sailor, he told me. Then some of his friends joined us. In my ear he whispered they were idiots. I smiled.
In the morning I had my cup of saint coffee on the terrace looking at the grand sea, thinking about how lovely my yesterday’s evening turned. Best things are unplanned. One of my favorite sayings is: “Best nights are usually unplanned, random and spontaneous”. It is true, really is.
So, I went to the beach and took a long swim. I got lost in the water, laid on my back and looked at the sky. Perfect day, I had to admit. Just before the lunch my new friend found me. He caught my hand as I was passing by and smiled.
– Bonjour, mademoiselle!
– Hello, monsieur.
– Well, actually I was about to…
– Great, can I steal you?
– Did you see a terrace at the back of the bar? Meet me there in 10 minutes.
– I thought it’s closed during the day.
– It is. See you in 10 minutes.
I wasn’t sure what it was all about. Was it a date? Or maybe a charming adventure? This way or another I decided to go and check. It’s not like something bad was about to happen anyway. So I waited. I was laying by swimming pool, observing people who were ignoring the grand sea. In my opinion this was a real crime! Coming all the way from your country to this beautiful coast and refreshing water, so you can spend the whole day at the swimming pool? It’s so much more than just unreasonable!
In 10 minutes I got really bored and was glad to run away. The glass doors leading to the terrace were shut. And when I almost decided to leave, somebody’s hand grabbed mine and pulled closer to its owner. Mr. Charming was standing next to me pointing to a huge window, which was , by the way, opened.
– I think we’ll get arrested for that, – I told him, smiling.
He laughed and helped me get to the other side of the window. It was an open air terrace surrounded by a green hedge with little red flowers. It wasn’t very big: just few lovely white tables with wicked forged legs. It was peacefully out there. I remember I thought to myself that places like that are made for romance, inspiration and nostalgia. He chose the table in the back of the terrace, right in the corner. As we got closer I noticed two Martini glasses.
– What is it all about? – I asked.
With a hand gesture he invited me to have a sip. Martini was good.
– It’s time for a secret aperitif, – he said. – For me, it’s always a time to take a break and have a drink secretly, so no one wold see you or bother. It’s the best time of a day.
I didn’t answer. I looked around enjoying Martini. I didn’t even ask where he got it, though I knew for sure that barmen in this hotel had no idea what this word even means – Martini.
– So, this secret aperitif time… Is it kind of tradition of yours?
– Well, it didn’t really have a name before I met you, – he answered smiling. – But, yes, I really do like escape from the world now and then. It’s nice to have a moment for yourself or for yourself and a nice company.
He winked, I smiled. We kept talking. “Secret aperitif time” became our tradition on the island. I loved it and remembered. But it’s not the end of the story. No.
“Secret aperitif time” was truly born after I came back home to my every day life. I came recovered and found my smile somewhere among the shells in the sand. I felt good and no longer tired. But something still was missing. So I decided to arrange time for my personal pleasures and thinking. Let it be one hour or just a half of it – it doesn’t really matter. What are those personal pleasures, you ask? It’s the excitement from reading a favorite book or a smell of freshly made pie. I treat myself. Don’t you ever forget to treat yourself with a good food, movie, book, dessert or specially a drink!
When I need a time for my own, I turn on the music: Nat King Cole, Tony Benett, Frank Sinatra. Sometimes I fix a good alcoholic drink, sometimes – delicious coffee or a cup of tee with fresh raspberries. Just make something good and make it properly. After that I lay on the floor with pillow under my head and drink, and listen to the sounds of music, let those magical male voices take me far away. Sometimes, I choose my own balcony for a secret aperitif time. In this case I just seat there surrounded by candles and enjoy the view of the city. This way or another, it’s my very personal time. Time for thoughts and dreams. Well, you know what I mean, don’t you?