Day Thirty: Pina Colada
He leaves for Florida in the morning, snow-birding. During dinner—halibut in cream sauce and an assortment of parboiled vegetables (prepared from scratch)—we are serenaded by The Village People's Y-M-C-A! Over another glass of wine he guides us into Country Hits of the Seventies. I imagine his wife, dead fifteen years now, permed hair and a pack a day, cocktail in hand, playing cards on a Saturday night with her husband and some of their friends. She drank too much, he tells us later. Too, too much. She was sad. I didn't know how sad. And then she was gone. Killed herself with the drinking.
He shuffles from the kitchen with a copper-edged tray. Cognac and coffee. He is eighty-one and does not want to die alone. He's offered us each a seat in his sedan, Florida bound. It won't cost you a penny. He grins, arms wide above his head. laughing now, This could all be yours. By which he means the bungalow, circa 1976, furnishings and all. Shag, wicker, hanging plants. Dropped in some township or other east of Montreal. Either of you. You wouldn't have to worry about a thing for the rest of your life. Except fashion, perhaps. And being married to a geriatric Quebecois. To our thanks-but-let's-be-honest expressions, he sighs. Sacrement, he adds, turning to the record player.
Upon my request, he retrieves Nana Mouskouri from the depths of his vinyl. Nanna who? Natt asks. —Mouskouri, he calls from the living room, beyond his James Bond bar, unfolding as it does from the mantle above a gas fireplace. She's greek. My wife bought this album. I only know really that one song. You know. About the roses I think it is. I know nothing about Nana Mouskouri, except that someone once told me my father loved her. My beer drinking, grade nine educated, waterskiing, cabinetmaker father. Loved her, apparently, along with opera and Johnny Cash. Full of surprises you are, I say as he folds up the bar. Ah oui, he grins. Aren't we all.