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Its not a date! | KERRI EIKER

Its not a date!


A balmy breeze, that smelled like summer, got caught by the translucent silk sheer that softens my bedroom window.  The opalescent fabric billowed in slow motion. The wave of shimmering light that looked liquid, splashed onto my face. A caress on my cheek,  the wind using silk as a finger. The tranquility of the moment was broken as the heavy clodding foot steps from my daughter boomed down the hall toward my room. She’s a beautiful girl and moves like a butterfly, but she plants he feet as firmly as an elephant. Determined. Confident. Badass. I like her.

My door flew open with that bold “here I am” way my daughter has about her.  “I want to borrow your eyeshadow palette.” Elizabeth announced.

“I’m using it right now.”  I answered and applied a soft, pink/clay color to my eyelids, the silk still intermittently caressed my face. “Where are you going? Out with the girls again?”  Elizabeth hovered, watching me apply makeup. Her face reflected in the mirror behind mine, twins, only decades apart.  She held her own  facial expressions helpful to my makeup application.

“Not exactly…” I said.  I handed her the palette and opened a brand new lipstick.

“Lipstick?  You never wear lipstick! “Whoa!  Wait!  Are you going out with a GUY?  Do you have a DATE?”  Elizabeth asked with a teasing sort of tone.

“I am meeting an old friend from High school. And, no, its not a date.”  I felt surprised by my defensiveness.

“Skinny jeans and your badass zip up boots? That’s what I wear on a date.”  Elizabeth pinched my cheek as if I were the child as the silk retreated from my face. The  breeze seemed to inhale, sucking the sheer tight to the screen.

I took an uber to ViniCluture on North Market Street in downtown Frederick.  My old friend Rick had already arrived.  Even though it has been decades  we recognized one another right away.  “You haven’t changed a BIT”  We both recited the complementary cliche but it was true. The plump taught skin of youth gone.  The expansion and contraction of life lived through the body over 5 decades sort of just shrink wraps the packaging. The inner light of who we truly are is just more visible. We gave one another “high-school-reunion” appropriate hugs.

Viniculture is an interesting place.  I’ve sat at the bar on girls night out and ordered wine by the glass and enjoyed appetizers, just as a regular bar, but this place has a unique service; A self-serve dispensing system! There are two, or maybe four, towers of wine dispensing machines.  Rick had purchased a card for the machines before I arrived and there were two empty glasses on our table waiting to be filled!  “Shall we?” Rick picked up the glasses, handed me one and nodded toward the wine dispensers.  My stomach growled. Loudly, apparently, because then Rick put his glass down and said “Lets order some food first.

My eye landed on the baked brie with caramelized onions, orange, candied pecans, dried cranberries and sweet sericach. We had agreed to share appetizers but I ordered without checking in with my dining partner.  That confident determined and decisive quality about me that my daughter inherited.  Rick, being a gentleman, asked if I’d like the smoked salmon on flat bread.  I did indeed want to try that and then wished I’d checked in with him first about the brie.

We took our glasses and wandered over to the machines.  I felt like a kid holding a basket  in a penny candy store , eager to indulge.  But I was holding a glass! And there were so many varieties of WINE to try!  Rick had sampled two tastes of reds while my glass remained empty. “Do you need some guidance?”  A young staff member asked.  He propped an elbow on the machine, his shirt sleeves rolled up.  I really liked the casual quality of this place. I didn’t feel intimidated that I was not a wine connoisseur.  My wine guide helped me decide on an Old Vine Zinfandel called Klinker Brick.  After hearing the description; “Berries and spice on the nose, sweet fruit fills the palate with just a hint of black pepper.  A long lingering finish.”  I was sold without tasting first and filled my glass.

Our food had arrived and we settled in.  “Cheers!” Rick said.  “To old times, and to new chapters!”

“Cheers” I said and restrained that heavy handedness shared by mother and daughter as we touched our glasses.

Conversation flowed as we savored the warm rich brie.  I was lost in the taste/texture experience of a sweet candied pecan, warm brie, the heat from the sericha and the chew of french bread when I inadvertently inhaled.  The candied pecan lodged in my windpipe.  I coughed and sputtered.  The pecan shot out and landed square on the table between us.  That confident quality of mine was suddenly washed away.  I could feel the blood rushing to my face.  “Excuse me!”  I said, reached for my water and tried to elegantly take a long slow drink, but instead I poured water down the front on my shirt.  I put the glass down, laughed and luckily Ricked laughed with me.  I pushed the water away and concentrated on the wine for the rest of the evening.

The evening was warm enough for a tour of Frederick.  “I haven’t been here since 1980!”  Rick said and was astonished in the changes of our sweet little town.  We strolled the creek and I pointed out the amazing works of local artist William Cochran.  We ducked into a tattoo shop and pretended we were cool.  Zbop was still open and the ever welcoming owner, Tom, kept his doors open even later so we could check out the interesting and unique items .  We headed east and found ourselves at the Frederick Coffee Company just in time to hear a grateful dead song played by a duo.  We sipped chai tea and I said “Okay, now what do you want to do?”  Rick reminded me that I had said I would need to make it an early evening, “like 9:00pm,” as I had an early teaching job the next morning.  It was 11:30!

Rick waited until my uber driver showed up.  “Maybe I’ll travel down to your neck of the woods next time?”  I boldly suggested.  “Sure Potomac has lots of great restaurants we can try!

“So mom how was your “date”?”  Elizabeth asked when I walked through the door.  a big smile on my face.  “It WASN’T a date! And, I had a great night.”  I handed her the leftover smoked salmon flat bread. She winked at me with a smirk.

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