My wife was called in to work so I found myself at a bar drinking my fourth glass of red wine. The night had been filled with rain and coming in from the cold, damp weather felt rejuvenating. My bones rattled and the only place in town than I could think of, which would harbor some warmth, was the local bar. The bartender and I talked of the futility of politics and the ominous events that had taken place in town the past month. He told me of his home which was without heat and causing his wife to slowly loose her mind because of the fragility of her flesh. “For my wife, the cold is like an ill omen,” he told me. We talked of hospitals and Spanish red wine. When I had finished my fourth glass of red wine I felt all the tensions and distresses which hung around in my body like a nest, slip away into some unknown region where they had gone numb. I knew that this feeling of relief was temporary, but some feelings are worth the repercussions.
I wanted to walk. To fully enjoy this wine induced state where I was liberated from anxiety. The rain had transmutated into a slight drizzle and I was willing to become damp in exchange for a brief walk. I smoked a cigarette and harbored no resentments towards the world. I watched my feet follow one another and noticed that my body was traveling in time without the slightest effort from my mind. When I reached a particular point, I decided to have a seat upon a bench and watch the night sky darkened by luminous rain clouds. I felt like muttering a prayer but instead smoked my cigarette until it turned red. I was not alone, nor was I lonely. Rather I was a man fully occupying the space of his body and mind with a contentment so warm that I could hardly feel the cold.
“May I sit by you,” an older gaunt looking man said to me with a cigarette hanging from his lips. “It is not often you meet a fellow smoker in the rain,” he said sitting down besides me before I could echo a response. “My name is Andre,” he said sticking out his languorous looking fingers and waiting for my eyes to meet his. “Randall,” I said with a disposition that was friendly enough. I noticed that Andre was impeccably dressed in a black suit and fine patented leather black shoes. His hair was parted to the side and he smelled like a time when kings were doused with cloves, cardamom and cumin. “My intuition tells me that it will be raining for some time,” he said with what sounded like a Romanian accent-“I believe it will rain until we realize all the ways that we have forgotten to live.” I thought this was a rather ornate statement considering the ordinariness of our situation- two men sitting upon a bench on a rainy night watching the world pass by.
“You are being rather laconic, are you not?” I was uncertain as to what laconic meant, but I turned to him and flashed a smile. Even though I was feeling as if my space had been invaded, I was feeling well enough to leave my negativity alone. “So tell me Randall, what is it that you do with your life?”
If you wanted to ask me one question that would start me talking, it is this. I love talking about myself once I am given the permission to open up. At times I almost feel as if I am the most fascinating subject that there is and my only concern is that the listener is not as entertained by my life as I am. Being that I had four glasses of red wine in my blood I was more than willing to talk, but before I could respond to the question, Andre began to talk about him self.
“I am a Zipper Maker. I construct Zippers for purse, jackets and pants. People all around the world wear my zippers which keep their private things safe. I have been making Zippers for as long as I can remember. Since I was probably your age. I was working as a Waiter in a restaurant and I was desperate to find some way to make a living which I enjoyed. My mind kept coming up empty with ideas and I drank more wine to keep myself from falling into the depths of despair. Then one evening I was introduced to a man who wanted to give me a job at his zipper factory. At first I was hesitant, resistant to change- but then when I heard that a Zipper Maker could change the world, I was inspired to learn the craft. I was taken under this mans wing for thirty days and shown all the different ways to construct a zipper. The ubline contort which is the zipper used for purses, the erexile divide which is the zipper for jeans, and the koobla mobile which is the zipper for jackets. I fell in love with the art form and have been doing it ever since.”
I had never heard of a Zipper Maker before. “I am not boring you with my autobiography, am I?” he asked me with a solemn look in his eye. “Not at all I replied.” “Making zippers is a meditation, an art form that has not only given me life but also improved the world,” he said with a look of pride upon his face. I was struck by the confidence with which he spoke about a craft that I had always considered insignificant. “Would you like to join me for a glass of wine?” he said putting leather gloves upon his hands. My wife would not be home from work for a few hours and the last thing that I felt like doing was being alone with myself in our cold home. “Sounds wonderful. I know just the right place,” I said. “Good,” the Zipper Maker replied rising to his feet lighting another cigarette. We began walking towards the bar like two bodies pulled together by the forces of gravity. There was a warmth that I felt walking besides him. The kind of warmth that one gets from a feeling of familiarity. “So tell me Randall,” the Zipper Maker said, “what is that you do with your life?”