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Whisky and Wine

It's pretty rare that I drink alcohol, and really rare that I have more than one drink. It is also pretty rare that I have a conversation that's relaxed enough and enjoyable enough that signaling the bartender for another round seems perfectly natural.

A colleague and friend of mine, who a year and a half ago lost his partner of 25 years to a sudden illness, is taking early retirement and leaving our common public sector place of employment in a matter of days. When I heard the news I suggested meeting for a drink at the Veritable Quandary.

They were avid world travelers, my friend and his partner, and my friend, recovered enough from his period of mourning to look around, has decided to take off and try the world again for several months. I drank Laphroaig and he drank zinfandel, and we laughed and cried a little, and he told me stories of how they'd met, and what it's like to be alone, and where he's going (pretty much everywhere, it sounded like).

We talked travel, and bikes, and retirement (I'm unbearably envious--he gave me the name of his financial adviser and I'm so gonna call her), and the whole conversation was really about freedom, and sorrow, and the spark of joy that can't replace what's been lost but which is, after all, still joy, and it was wonderful, and we parted at the bike rack on the sidewalk outside the VQ with heartfelt hugs, and rode off, he to the west and I to the east, in the late sun of a beautiful May evening.

Crossposted from Dreamwidth, where there are comments. | Comment at Dreamwidth.

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