I hope you had a wonderful weekend, I enjoyed the sun, the wind and the rain today!
My mom and I had a little walk through the woods, collected some seedlings for our gardens.
The cats and roomie Wolfgang slept the day away so I had much time just for myself (being the last day of vacation *sigh*).
Enjoy the rest of Sunday and have a nice week!
Title: The Vineyard - Chapter 10
Time went by, October and November had passed, today was the first of Yule. It had become quiet in the vineyards. Zeke and his employees had worked hard to get the vineyards ready for next year. Bottles, corks, all machinery was cleaned of dust and dirt.
He often had a stroll with his dog “Buddie” – a little German Shepherd he had found bound to a tree in the forest, abandoned obviously, in a pitiful state. Buddie knew all his secrets, his fear, his anger and this little creature had become a true friend, never leaving his side and Zeke loved it.
It started snowing when they arrived back home. Sofie and Thomas were already waiting for him. Sofie’s greatest joy was to treat him, to pamper him as if he was her son.
The fire was cracking in the chimney, Thomas was sitting in his old rocking chair – glasses on his nose, the newspaper in his hands. Sofie took a seat with her knitting. Zeke himself just sat down, cradling Buddie’s head staring into the fire.
Sofie examined the pullover and said to Zeke “You have to try it on again, boy” He obliged even though he was so tried he could barely move his feet. Zeke loved the silence, evenings like this. He liked the growing intimacy between them.
“It feels wonderful, Sofie. So soft and warm, I think it will be my favourite one. So winter may come.” He smiled at her which made her beam with delight, she even blushed a little, that made Thomas chuckle “you’ll see, Zeke. This time twelve months you’ll own one of her artworks for every months. Once she’s got started you can’t stop her.”
“Thomas!!!” Sofie acted like she’d be embarrassed but they both knew how proud she was. Zeke refilled their glasses with red wine and watched them in silence.
Sofie watched him, too while he looked at Thomas. ‘What a lanky young boy he was when he came here, exhausted, tired, burned out. He seemed to be lifeless. After he told us about what happened it didn’t surprise me that he needed some space but never ever in my life did I expect him to stay here. Look at him now. He’s working hard, day in, day out and he seems to like his new job, his new life. He smiles more often now, but he doesn’t laugh. There is this big sadness in his eyes. He can’t fool me. He’s lonely. So many times I saw him walking down the corridor full of hope that he’d find the tower again. Not now, my boy. It’s much too early. I wish I could tell him where he is, but I made a promise and I’ll keep it. For Casey’s sake, even it breaks my heat.’
“Sofie? What’s wrong? Why that serious?” Caught.
“I just … thought … about the color I’d like to use for another pullover, Zeke. What color would you prefer?”
Obviously a lie, but a nice one Zeke thought. “Blue would be nice…”
Sofie frowned. “Another blue one?” Zeke smiled, melancholic. “Only blue. Always blue if you don’t mind…” When she passed him to prepare the last cup of coffee she patted him on the shoulder and whispered close to his ear “Just be patient, Ezekiel.” And kissed him on the check. “Sofie!” Tom grumbled. There had to be more in it than meets the eye and he’d find out, for that Zeke was sure. They both knew something but as hard as he tried he didn’t get any answers to his countless questions.
He’d never forget Sofie’s gaze when he wore the bracelet for the first time. She was close to bursting and had stared at it thunderstruck. He asked her if she would know it, that he’d found it on the floor beside the sofa, he showed it to her that she may have a closer look at it. Far too quick she answered “It’s your name on it, so it must be yours,” she said pale as a linen sheet.
“I never had any jewellery, Sofie. Be true, do you know it? Or maybe Thomas?” She kept quiet and turned around that he might not see her tears. When he asked Thomas his reaction was the same besides the tears – he gritted his teeth so hard that Zeke could hear it.
This evening he told them what had happened. They said it must have been a dream, that he had a great fantasy. When he retorted “Neither did I sleep nor dream – it happened in front of my open eyes. What does this mean?” Thomas only shrugged, Sofie whispered “how should we know?”.
They never talked about it again. He never asked again. They didn’t tell him anything about Casey. They didn’t even mention his name anymore.
When he started to read, tried to understand things about wine growing one evening, he felt frustrated and depressed. He nearly spat out “I’ll never learn this! It’s too difficult. I’m such an asshole to think…”
The words slipped out before Tom thought about it “Casey learned it, you’ll learn it, too, Zeke…”
“But how, Thomas? There are words like fermentation, aging process, sulfite I only know how to read them. “ He was angry about himself, grabbed his jacket, storming off into the night. How could he ever think to make this his new job. He’ll never get it in a century.
Walking around in pouring rain, cursing about snails, bugs, his ignorance and stupidity, standing in the middle of the vineyards he started shouting as loud as he could “Casey ! Casey! Please help me! I can’t do this alone! Casey! Where the fuck are you? Don’t leave me alone with this crap!” Tears of anger mingled with raindrops. When his voice broke he just wept. But after a while he straightened his back, gritted his teeth and swore “Ezekiel Tyler. You are a fighter, always were, always will be. Stand the fuck up and DO it! If not now, when then?”
Coming back home Sofie and Thomas had left a pot with peppermint tea sweetened with honey on the stove. He was such an idiot. They both were always good to him, they didn’t deserve such rudeness. He needed their help and should be thankful for wonderful friends like they were. They won’t talk about Casey and he just had to accept it. There was no other option. No other choice.
He passed the corridor taking a little peek around the corner, just in case but of course there was no tower as so many nights and days before.
After a long hot shower he found a little note on his nightstand.
“Don’t give up, my friend. I’ll be here even you don’t see me. Count on me. I’ll help you to become the best winegrower around. C.”
He read it over and over again, pressed the paper on his heart and sighed “I know, Casey. I know. But there’s so much I want to ask you, I want to talk to you. Please…” He ran his thumb softly across the name “Please come back…”
Though sleep didn’t come easily he felt much better next morning and found a stock book and sort of a diary on the kitchen table. Handwritten by Casey Connor, so it said.
There were lists for every months, what to do in May, June, July and so on. What to care about especially. Sounds good. Now he had a plan.
It was almost July then and he’d done none of these things. So he started with the chores for April, harvesting this year as impossible anyway. He wanted to learn everything from the basis.
He remembered when Joshua took him to a harvesting in September to an old friend of him, how hard it was picking the grapes, how heavy the baskets were. At night – after working for more than 10 hours – he couldn’t feel his legs anymore, his back ached but it was all worth it. He decided to raise the salary of his employees at harvesting. He had learned a lot this day and so it all turned out to be good. He had friends. They supported him, gave him tips and tricks and they gave him confidence and self-reliance. Of course he still wasn’t sure if he’d make it to make “Heartblood” but people around never doubted about it.
Now in December he thought about everything again. He had found many friends, many helping hands, men, women, children, old and young. Lake Mills slowly came to life again.
Thomas interrupted his thoughts. “Joshua was here this afternoon. Tomorrow there’ll be a little Yule Party in the village, he got you an invitation. I think you should go, boy. You need some distraction. You haven’t been at the “Blue Grape” for weeks. William missed you Joshua said. “
Zeke smiled at him and took the invitation. It was true, for far too long he hadn’t gone out. Maybe the idea wasn’t that bad. Maybe he should meet his friends at the “Blue Grape” not only here at work. Maybe he would meet someone special. “This is ridiculous..” he thought. There was only one person he longed to see but he decided to go. It would do him good. Very tired and sad at heart, he rose and bade Sofie and Tom good night. He’d almost closed the door when Thomas mentioned Casey’s name.
“Sofie. I think we should tell him something about Casey. He deserves peace, don’t you think? “
“I don’t know, Thomas. We made a promise…”
They sat there in silence until Sofie asked him “When are you going to go to Casey again?”
Zeke’s heart skipped a beat.
“Next week I think. Anything I should tell him?”
“The same as usual, Tom… And now let’s go to bed, it’s late and you have to get up early.
It was a lovely day today, don’t you think?”
Thomas yawned and replied “Yes. I’m glad Zeke has found this place or should I say the Vineyard has found Zeke…”
With this they switched of the light and closed the door.
Zeke and Buddy stood there in darkness and they both couldn’t believe what they had heard.