I had gone into a neat European restaurant, sat down at a table covered with a white table cloth and ordered a meal. To my left was seated a couple with whom I was acquainted. The meal arrived and I ate heartily. The food included some white rice, which I noticed contained small shrimp. I hadn't intended to eat any meat but consumed the shrimp anyway.
The meal finished, the waitress (a stout woman probably in her 40s) came and took my plate. She then proceeded to bring me an after-meal dish, part of which consisted of a glass of wine. She placed a sizable glass in the middle of a clean plate in front of me, and from a large bottle on which I noticed the words "Bordeaux" and "1913" she filled my glass with a brownish-colored wine. I was intrigued by the vintage of the wine and I thought it would be interesting to taste.
To my right was seated Kim (a friend whom I first met in Portsmouth in 1977). I had half-way been aware of her presence before, but I hadn't paid much attention to her. I turned to her and was going to tell her the date of the wine was 1913. But then noticing the waitress hadn't poured any wine for Kim, I recalled that Kim didn't drink alcohol and that she had probably told the waitress not to give her any wine. I suddenly felt quite foolish because I also considered myself a non-drinker. I had rationalized when the wine had been poured that it came with the meal and that refusing the wine would be improper. But obviously Kim had been able to refuse her wine without difficulty.
What should I do? I certainly didn't want to guzzle down the wine with Kim sitting right there next to me. When the waitress returned, I turned to her and said, "I should have stopped you from pouring the wine for me. I hate to waste it but I do not drink and would like for you to take it away. Maybe you can do something else with it."
The waitress seemed slightly surprised but she wasn't annoyed. She simply said she would use the wine in the relish. I asked, "You put it in the relish?" She replied that she did and whisked the glass away.
It suddenly occurred to me why the waitress had looked a bit surprised when I had told her I didn't drink alcohol. Between my legs I was holding with my right hand a large bottle (at least a liter) of wine which I had been drinking with my regular meal. I had polished off at least two thirds of the bottle but had already forgotten I had been drinking it.
Like a clown, yet still feeling sheepish, I held the bottle in the air where Kim could see it. But she seemed to have known all along I had been drinking the wine. I realized I slightly felt the effects of the wine. I tried to make a joke and laugh off the fact that I had been drinking. Kim didn't seem to want to condemn me for what I had done, but she certainly didn't think it was any laughing matter.
I looked more closely at Kim and what struck me most was her eyes. They were a dark, black color and seemed beautifully intelligent and – so serene. They weren't piercing but simply quietly calm and tranquil. I didn't feel threatened by her looking at me and I simply wanted to look back into her dark, deep eyes. The rest of her face was indistinguishable, although her skin appeared soft and she seemed to have long hair. She didn't seem to be any particular age, rather simply to be a mature woman in her flower.
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