His favourite wine is Gigondas.
When he came to Japan in September 2014, he brought with him a bottle that he shared with me about a month later. We had proper demi-sel butter, cheese that he approved of, and his precious bottle of Ogier
That stage lasted just a few days, but I could never get rid of the empty bottle. It was a symbol of something special for me, even if that something special had never happened.
I learned to like red wine because of the lion. I still do like it, especially Côtes du Rhône.
While we were together, I searched high and low for his favourite wine, to give him for his birthday, for Valentine’s Day… but never found it.
After I left him, I knew I’d be leaving Japan to return to my parents’ place in Canada. I had to downsize. I carefully removed the label from the bottle that symbolized that something I now knew with 100% certainty that I would never have. I recycled the bottle, and glued the label into my journal – the little book that I was petrified he would one day find. The little book I was almost never able to write in while we were together because I couldn’t reflect on my life and what was happening at the time.
I started writing again when possible, after I left him. It helps me to see, read, and understand my progress. My little companion that faithfully holds my memories and feelings, drawings and cut-outs, and allows me to reflect whenever I want, never commenting, never complaining.
On September 15th, 2016, the lion’s two year postdoctoral fellowship in Japan ended and he left the country, flying back to France. It was an important day for me. It symbolized many things. I felt relieved and sad, free and heavy, cathartic… On the other side of the world from where he was, I was a murky mess of emotions.
I’d searched for Gigondas in Toronto to drink by myself. It was something I needed to do. It marked the beginning and the end. I bought the only one I could find, took a photo, and began drinking at 14:00. I continued to drink until perhaps around 21:00 or 22:00. I’ve never been much of a drinker, so even just a couple of glasses affect me, but I drank about 3/4 of the bottle. I was properly drunk for what may have been the first time in my life (previously my body just expelled alcohol from it’s entry point when it’d had enough).
The lion had introduced me to Noir Désir while we were together, and my favourite song by them was (and still is) Le Vent Nous Portera. I did a play on words and posted along with a black and white photo on my Facebook wall:
Le vin les portera🎶
Although I wrote nothing else in that post, it was an extremely important thing for me to do. I knew that those who needed to know what it meant, would know. Part of me wanted him to see it. I wanted him to see it, and to think… I don’t know, something.
Before or after that flight back to France, he deleted me off Facebook. Until then, we had been connected, but hadn’t conversed in months.
It’s now been a year since he left Japan. I’ve rarely touched alcohol during this time. I’ve just not been interested.
Today, again, I commemorate September 15th. It’s not a celebration. This day, and a few other important days, mark my milestones. They are for me, for my sanity. For my mental health. For me to reflect. To foster my desire to live, to recover, to enjoy life, and to move on. They’re like bookmarks, in a book that is my life.
I count the months, the years away from him. I’m supposed to be happy and proud of my recovery. Maybe one day I will celebrate a September 15th, but today, I am again sad for him, for me, for us, for everyone else that was directly or indirectly affected by all that happened.
Here I am, thinking about getting a cake to have with my favourite Côtes du Rhône… to cry, to enjoy, to hurt, to stare into the abyss that is my mind…
It’s going to be okay. Last year it was his favourite wine, but this year, my favourite wine that’ll carry it all away.