Down to the Last Bite: Cocktail Hour

I have been asked about these journals and my reason for why I involve us together or why I personalize this and always include “you” as part of my story.
Well, I think that before I answer this, it is important to explain that yes, I am one of those people who talks to themselves. Not only do I talk to myself, but I’ve been known to argue with myself from time to time. If I’m being honest, I’ve lost a few of those arguments as well. 

Ah, but the world is a crazy place and I, if I may, am one of the lovely crazy ones; mad as ever and insane in the best of ways. I am a part of this world, both equally and irrevocably. But yes, the saying is true; some are sicker than others. As it’s been pointed out to me on more than one occasion, perhaps I am one of the “some” in this equation.
But hey, this is my life.
No matter where you are, this is true. Life is a wild ride. There are things that we have yet to see. There are rides we haven’t taken yet. There are places we haven’t been to and people we haven’t met – at least not yet. As we go, life unfolds. As we grow, we start to understand a little more about our journey. We find out more about what we like (and what we don’t like).

As I write this to you, I have the sound of a gentle piano playing in the background which reminds me of the countless cocktail hours I was a part of, present or not; yet, I was there under duress at times and dressed for the occasion.
I can think of the countless weddings and the internal discussions I’ve had with myself about the people I knew or the families I have been involved with. I can think of the lavish banquets and the high-priced hors-d’oeuvres, the special seafood towers, the tiny crackers with caviar, the crab cakes. Or the chicken skewers, tiny lamb chops, or anything else for that matter, even down to the little pigs in a blanket which are still a favorite of mine. I can think of these moments when I was in the lounges waiting for the doors to the hall to open and scanning the crowd to note the outfits and the dresses (or the lack thereof) and thinking to myself, really? That’s what you wear to a wedding?

There is a memory of mine in which I was part of the wedding party. This was for an old friend. We were young and certainly wild. Perhaps, now that I think of it; this was my first real friend to be married. Of course, we said nothing was going to change. Of course, we said we would still get together all the time.
I was on the verge of changes in my life. I was standing in a wedding party and, curiously enough, I was wondering about this elusive subject that we call love. I was wondering what it was like to be part of the couple who posed in the center of the picture; to have the highlights and the focus, and to celebrate the love and the commitment of life with one other person; for better or for worse, in good times or bad, and in sickness or health.

I wondered about the endearing moments which took place when the crowd repeatedly clanked their glasses with a fork or spoon which rang out through the crowd. As a result, the bride and groom were to stop what they were doing, look into each other’s eye, both lovingly and adoring, and then the two would kiss.

What I am about to say is perhaps something that goes against my specified gender. I do not know if I will lose my “manhood” card for this one, but in all fairness; I admit to watching this and admiring the silvery twinkle in the eyes of two lovers who, at last, made the commitment to love on another from now until the hour of their death – amen. 

Nothing was really the same after this wedding. In fact, there was almost a series of weddings, like a domino effect, which took place afterwards. One by one, everyone I knew took that march down towards the altar. I can remember a morning after a long night out which took place at the after party that took place after the wedding when the so-called “older” folks called it a night. I continued my drive home and passed the exit to my typical whereabouts. I drove south until I found myself near the water and then, eventually, on the beach. 

There I was, doing my best to be cool.
I had long hair and two silver hoop earrings in my left ear. I smoked Camel filters at the time. I walked onto the beach, which was temporarily vacant for the morning. The breath of fresh air from summer’s mouth was somewhat gentle for the moment. I cupped my lighter to light my smoke. I blew out the first drag, flipped my lighter back and then slid it into my pocket in a series of moves which I had been practicing; as if to perfect my appearance.
I watched the waves roll in. I let the wind blow through my hair. My white shirt untucked and my black tie loosely dangling with my collar spread slightly out and over the lapel of my jacket.

It was such a beautiful night. I swear, everyone should have a send-off like this one. The two left the hall together and they went on their way to their honeymoon. The two were together to consummate their love and their marriage. This was beautiful. Wait no, this is beautiful. I knew it then, the same as I know it now. 

I was sad yet I was happy. I was wondering about the jazz which played during the cocktail hour and, of course, I was wondering who or what I would be when I grew up.

I think we all need a night to dress up. I think we all need a night of glitz and glamor. I think we all need a cocktail hour and a moment to dance. For some, I think we need moments like the morning when I said hello to the dawn from the shore on the beach at Point Lookout.

It is inaccurate to say that men are incapable of feeling the need for love; for a source of continuous warmth, for a moment of vulnerability where all is comfortable and nothing (or no one) else exists.
I know what it feels like to be alone. 
Maybe this is why I always bring you along with me on these journeys –
This way I’ll never feel alone again.

By the way, there is a moment of realization which comes with age. Similar to a saying I was taught about the time it takes to get our brains back after going crazy or recovery from catastrophes – it takes a certain amount of time to get our brains back and then it takes an almost equal amount of time to learn how to use them and finally, it takes an equally acquired amount of time to realize that we didn’t need our brains back in the first place.

We think too much.
We over-investigate
We over-analyze
We over-report
And yet,
We under-perform or fail to take the steps we need to be happy.

I never went to my prom . . .
Since this is so, I always made myself the promise that there will be a day when I reach a certain level of financial success and at this time, I will hold my own prom complete with bouquets, limos, tuxedos, gowns and a night out where we can dance, be young and remember what it’s like to be crazy for one another.

I’m still in the planning stages of this. But trust me; you’ll know when I pull this off.
We can dance and trip the light fantastic –
(I wish you could see the smile on my face right now.)
But I have to say it
What a cocktail hour this will be . . .


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