Table Seventeen

“I fell in love with a French Canadian fireman this week,” I gushed as soon as she answered the telephone.
“Oh la la, do tell, where did you meet him, and how in the hell did that happen? I just talked to you a few days ago!”

It happens that there were 20,000 international firemen in Denver this week for a conference. Yummy, right? On Tuesday night, I was working at the Wine Loft, this very cool and very new wine bar in LoDo on Wazee Street. Not much action save for a few ladies drinking Vinho Verde on the patio in the sun. It was a beautiful afternoon.

The Wine Loft just opened on Saturday. It is an elegant wine bar. The floor plan is wide open and it looks a bit like a grown up living room with subdued golden bronzy walls, sheer bronze drapery, and plush brown couches from ZGallerie. The space is littered with gilded mirrors and illuminated with candles. It is truly beautiful. We offer a delectable menu of haute cuisine small plates and nearly 200 different wines are on the diverse list. I really enjoy working there. I am assisting in the creation and expansion of the wine list. It’s been a great experience for me. I love, love, love wine.

Around dinner time two distinguished gentlemen walked in and sat at table 17. As I walked over to greet them I could hear them speaking in French. “Great,” I thought, “Good looking and French…I’m in trouble.”

I turned out they were from Montreal, in Denver for the firemen conference, and were looking for a good bite to eat and a great glass of wine when they stumbled upon the Wine Loft. They stayed for hours and we talked about wine, food, and French. They prompted me to speak with them in French but I became intimidated as usual and reverted to English. The few phrases I attempted were met with patience and with praise. I really appreciated that. They told me a little bit about their week and I told them a little bit about mine. They would be sight seeing and going out on the town during their free time. I would be in classes and working on Thursday, Friday, and on Saturday. They said they might stop back by. And they did.

They came in on Thursday for a bit to eat after attending the Breckenridge Brewery Beer Festival with a group of comrades. They were not into the burger and beer thing so they came in for some “real food” and good wine. Table 17 again. I was busy that night and didn’t wait on them but I did have occasion to stop by and chat a bit. They visited Boulder and Golden but didn’t make it to Estes or Red Rocks. I learned that Yves is a fan of mountain biking and wants to bring his bike to tackle some of our finest trails. I told him that Lance Armstrong just competed in a race in Leadville. He was impressed. We talked about snow and the climate differences in Quebec and Colorado. Claude gave me several suggestions for the menu and the websites for two prominent Canadian Sommeliers. One is traditional and one is avant garde. During our conversation I could feel chemistry building amongst the three of us and I was not sure exactly where it was stemming from. Was it Claude or was it Yves. Both men were vying for my attention and both were getting it. We said our good byes and I exchanged business cards with them…just in case I get to Montreal to see the autumn colours…I knew they had dinner plans with the Korean delegation on Friday and wanted to come in afterward. The evening was out of their control.

On Friday, it rained all day and was only 60˚F; which for August in Colorado is rather unheard of. I love the rain and gray days give me energy and make me very happy. I had a meeting with three wine reps at the Wine Loft and drank a lovely bottle of Perrier Jouet Fleur de Champagne with them. After my meeting I treated myself to a nice dinner at Crepes et Crepes. I wandered back to work around 7:00 pm. Downtown was empty. It was still pouring rain and the Wine Loft was quiet. A few friends of the bartender were sitting at the bar but the house was empty.

I was very surprised to see them walk in early; at 7:30 pm dressed in suits and looking gorgeous. Mmm I’m smitten…but, with Yves or with Claude? Claude is taller and brawnier. He has chocolate brown eyes and graying hair. He has a boyish smile and has a direct and intense personality. Very good looking. If I had to guess I’d say he is a Scorpio. He is definitely the talker and commands more attention. He is the Director of Operations for the Quebec Fire Department Academy based in Montreal. He is 41 years old. He used to play keyboard in rock and jazz bands and he hopes to again. He gave me an official Quebec Fire Department pin. He knows his wine and loves to share his point of view.

Yves is more unassuming, not as tall and thinner. He has soft blue eyes, dark blond hair and an enchanting smile. He is more gentile and a bit shy. He is the one who tried to get me to speak French and asked me questions about myself. He is the Coordinator of Programs for the Q.F.D.A. He is new to his position. He just sits back and watches the conversation flow. He participates when he has something important to contribute…a Libra maybe. He taught me the proper way to present a toast…with held eye contact, and meaning. He commented on the U.S. habit of avoiding direct eye contact and touching. Claude agreed. Claude won’t call us Americans because Canadians and Mexicans are technically Americans too. Interesting. Yves was a rigger for concerts and rides a Triumph. Sexy. He was attentive and there was a pleasant surprise on his face when he learned I too ride a motorcycle. He commented that I am quite a woman. He kissed me on the cheek when he left, and he invited me to come to Montreal.

They left Denver on Saturday and that evening at the Wine Loft there was an emptiness in the room. Table 17 was lonely for guests. Every time I walked by I noticed a sad little smile on my face as I felt the presence of the two men in my heart. I felt a certain longing to talk with them and see their smile and hear their voices immersed in a conversation in a language I am only beginning to understand. I think they stole my heart when they left.

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