Tonight was perfect. There really isn’t another way to explain it. There are times when I look back at my life at chance encounters or decisions I made and know how special they were because of their…uniqueness. They are unique to me and to who I am as a person. Nights like tonight are exactly what I have been chasing my entire adult life. I thought they only existed in California, because I have experienced so many of them there…but tonight, it happened in North Carolina. Nights like Bryan’s wedding with you, where I remember every single part of it…how you smelled and looked and how we danced…the memories I have of that night, yes, even the ending, are so distinct in my mind that I will forever remember them. My memory is so terrible, but I can look back at times like that and remember everything perfectly. I remember who I was as a person, how I moved my body, how I touched you, how we laughed, and if I try hard enough, I can go so deep into the memory that I can almost physically feel like I’m there again. I don’t dwell too long in the memory like that because it hurts my heart. Oh, god, it hurts so much it almost takes my breath away. Not just because of the decisions I made, but because I can only mourn how much time has passed since that memory. I mourn the person I was, how young I was, how…inexperienced I was…And I know that one day, I will look back at times like tonight and mourn the person who is no more, who is so young, and inexperienced. Nights like tonight make me realize my time on this earth is so fleeting and I am so insignificant. Sometimes I’ll force myself to sit within the memory and feel that pain. Feel the ache…
No, I’m not drunk.
I got out my tablet to write you because I wanted to write a lot and quickly. I need to write a book. I wish I still had the emails I sent you in 2011 about me. The chapters of my life? I want to expand them and actually write a book. I hate that I only feel this inspired late at night…when everyone is asleep and I know I should be as well because my son will be waking me up in 4 hours. But I need to write. I feel this urge to word vomit because I’ll explode otherwise.
My girlfriend, Stephanie (not the other Stephanie, who canceled on me), showed up an hour late. She doesn’t have a cell phone, and got lost. I expected as much. I wasn’t upset. Not in the slightest. I sat down, had a drink I’ve been wanting to try (Moscow mule), and was hit on by the two very friendly waiters. Within minutes of talking to one, I knew where he lived, what he made yearly, and how heavy the three Frisbees are in Frisbee golf (150-180 grams, btw. I told him I didn’t do drugs so I had no idea how heavy that was). He was getting off work and asked to have dinner with me. Said he would pay. I laughed and asked for a menu, I would just order at the bar.
The restaurant is amazing. All locally sourced food, extremely well prepared. They have been featured on TV (my parents told me about them in fact) and it took forever to get the reservations.
I got the ribeye and corn on the cob. I don’t know how sexy it is to eat either of those, but I managed. I ordered the Oban 14 (yes, expensive), neat. It was great, thank you for that recommendation. “Oh, an attractive Scottish girl ordering scotch and a ribeye? I can’t let you get away.” I rolled my eyes at the bartender. The owner of the farms where the food comes from came over and talked to me for a while. He was old, and so very sweet. His food is delicious.
Stephanie walks in. I haven’t seen her since I kicked her out of my house in 2013. She was on the verge of telling my best friend and her husband about my husband and I having an open relationship. Stephanie had been doing a research paper on that lifestyle and she interviewed me. We had sat on inner tubes in the Pacific Ocean in Japan talking for hours about open marriages, polyamory, love, you (remember, this is 2013). She was the first person I had told about me. And she had the audacity to try and tell friends of mine about that part of my life that I told her to specifically keep private? In my own home? I saw her opening her mouth to tell my best friend and I said, “Get out of my house. Right now.” She burst into tears and left. I had known my best friend and her husband only a few months. Our friendship with them was new and great. That would have ruined it.
Stephanie and I have mended things over the years. We spoke in April when I had a breakdown. She is fascinated by my life.
So tonight, she tells me how much she admires me, and how one of the reasons she wants me in her life is because of how much I’ve accomplished since having a child, and how much more I want to do with my life. I give her hope that life isn’t over after kids. She said I’m amazing and that my son is so well behaved and adorable. I started tearing up.
I catch her up on my life and she tells me all about hers. The bartender is listening in. He attempts to take us home and we brush him off.
The restaurant is closing so we head to where we hear music. We are walking the streets and they are empty. We come across a door that leads to a stage, where a rock band is playing. We walk out and sit down. Security asks for us to pay and we decide to leave because it is too loud to talk.
As we walk out, two men and a woman follow us. We decide to head to a bar that has an “open” sign lit up. We walk to the door and I pull…it’s locked. Sign says it closes at 10 and it’s 11. The people are immediately behind us and we start bitching about how the light says it is open and it is closed. “Yeah, that’s such a bad establishment” one of the men says. He is fumbling with some keys. I start laughing. “Oh, so you have a key?” He walks up to the door and opens it with a key. He walks in and holds the door open for us.
We walk into an extremely nice…brewery. It isn’t just a bar at all. It is designed like a bar in London, all lit in blue and sleek. It is Mother Earth Brewing…I have heard of this beer and this brewery. The man walks behind the bar and says, “So what do you want? We brew everything here.” He breaks out the flight glasses and pours us about 5 beers each. We discuss each one, there’s a cucumber one, and a wheat one, and they are all light and feathery. The other man and his wife leave to get pizza. It is Stephanie, this man, and I in a completely empty brewery talking about life and beer and family. I tease him about a brewery tour. There’s a glass window that shows a distillery. I see a picture of some people on Everest and he and I discuss Into Thin Air and how the brewery sponsored a team in 2014.
He is flirting with me, but is way more interested in Stephanie. He says he will give us a tour if we go back to the other bar and grab a drink. “If I leave, I’m going home. It’s midnight”, I say. I see a door leading into the brewery and start walking towards it, teasing him. “The door is locked” “Oh, you trust your employees to lock that door when they can’t even shut off your “open” sign?” “If it’s open, I’ll give you the tour. I’ll even show you the slide.”
The door has numbered keys for a passcode. I try anyway and it opens.
He is either shocked or an extremely good actor. We walk past the dozens of medals hanging on the wall of beer awards. I know he is an employee there, but who?
He tells us about the whiskeys, and the beers, and the rums… in barrels along the wall. We see the malt stacks, and the giant machines…he points out the experimental area where they made the cucumber beer specifically for the Chef and the Farmer’s 10th anniversary. We drank the last of the keg, forever. They will not make it again.
We begin to walk upstairs.
And we walk into the office that oversees the brewery. Large windows in the messiest office I have ever seen. There are paintings strewn about on the floor and the walls. There is paint, and an easel, and a canvas filled with nonsense. “That’s 2015. Every time I felt anything, it went there.” It looked like absolute nonsense. There was even glitter. Every time he was happy, or sad, or had an idea, he painted it on that tiny 8×11 canvas. It was extremely textured. I asked to pick it up. It fascinated me. Stephanie immediately wanted to start something like that. Extremely therapeutic.
While he is talking to her about this yearly project of his, I am investigating while I walk around his office (using my eyes, not my phone). His name is Stephen Hill. He is the owner, the founder, the CEO, of this multimillion dollar company. He owns that brewery and many other companies. He is a runner, and a family man, and doesn’t have cable. He is…drunk. He is a brilliant man in power who is giving us a private tour of his company.
We continue to walk around. We go to the rooftop, where it is raining. He leads us to the boardroom, and then through a room that smelled of molasses (making rum). We come across a slide. It is a spirally metal slide. It looks steep. You can’t see where it goes because it disappears into the floor. He said, “Whatever you do, remember to always have fun” and he shoots off.
I’m next. I’m in a dress and heels. I spin so quickly down this slippery side. I come to the bottom and fly so fast that I shoot out about three feet at the bottom and land on the concrete on my ass. It was a four foot drop from the slide. He was mortified. I get up, laughing. He thinks I’m injured and grabs my ass to make sure my tailbone isn’t broken. I turn around and quickly catch Stephanie before she falls.
We continue the tour…
It is 1:15 am at this point. We talk a little longer but I need to leave since I live an hour away. And I wanted to talk to you.
He walks us to our cars. We shake hands and go our separate ways.
It might not seem like much but I might not have done the night justice. It felt…amazing. Special. Opportunistic. Unique. I haven’t felt like that since before my son was born. I want to spend my life experiencing things like that…making memories that will hurt from remembering the innocence of it all.
I love you.