It was a night of many tears and abundant blowing of nose and yet a Friday. Edgar cherished a tavern naught more than two blocks from his stead for the evening, and memorable occasions Virginia would join him for naught more than a pint, but still increase his pleasure with company and beauty to strike any man to envy. He was often dispatched to this part of Amherst due in part to the newly obtained college bringing forth many aspired writers. A young writer would naught critique his own work after all. Beautiful Virginia would often accompany him in hopes to catch the dewy remnants of autumn that this part of the country would so often be revered. This night’s reason would be full of tears and tissues use because of a second anniversary of morose reason; Edgar was crying over the passing of his poor sweet Virginia with a heavy bottle of Absinthe and more.
As his head grew heavy and his tongue grew clumsy, his sobs, for a moment’s time, were halted by the ingress of a women dressed apt in white that appeared shy in character. Perhaps it was the youth in her face, or the smell of her laundered frock that ceased his tears and forced his devotion upon the woman in white. The truth may not merely be known without the witness by first party presence. What is for certain the veracity is the young woman’s first drink was in deed procured by Edgar for the rate of a conversation and her name, Emily.
Emily was but 19 that night and Edgar was in his final months at a capped age of 40 – though the lust of this nocturnal encounter may seem ageless, but the more likely explanation would be drunk. Emily, scarce week away from attending school at a female seminary, was encouraged by peers to experience a pint or two, for the understanding of evil. This encouragement, though unconventional, was but a practice of common interest amongst the young women of the seminary, so Emily took it with all seriousness and promised to cherish its moments with an acute sense of control. Emily was to be wrong in her notion of control; or maybe the blame could be laid upon an anguished drinking cohort with a fashion of the upmost swaying power. Wherever the liability may fall one thing is for certain, Absinthe is a helluva drug.
“Bar –hic—keep!! Mind you – hic – tell me of the women adorned as – hic – an angel lacking of wings?”
“I know naught of her being, Mr. Poe, for I have nay seen her ‘fore now. Perchance you’d like me to see a message her way?”
“Hic – indeed your idea is of keen interest – hic — of mine this moment. If’n you parlay her a me – hic –ssage indeed barkeep, my favor would be – hic – sent your way. “
“Certainly Mr. Poe. I would be most cooperative in giving her word from you. Though it would be in your best interest as the one full of curiosity for the young woman to perhaps think of something for me to ask her.”
“RIGHT! Your words ring genuine and with – hic –sound judgment. I admire your inte – hic – ligence.”
“Many thanks Mr. Poe.”
“Now – hic – now, now, a question to acquire her attention and – hic –scare her naught.” With much delay and lack of joy in his voice, Edgar retorts, “I know not – hic –what to say, for I have only words for the lack of life, in addition, have not been keen to the persuasion of court ship. B – hic –arkeep, hic – can you not grant me a favor of breaking the first words?”
“Certainly, Mr. Poe. What of asking the young lady to join you for a drink?”
“BRIL – hic –LIANT!!”
“Right away Mr. Poe.”
So, the Bartender approached the young Emily with a smile and a nod towards Edgar to relay the message from Edgar’s own queue of pickup lines, as Edgar watched from across the bar with much curiosity and a heap of nerves tangled as though he were a pile of yarn fresh after a kittens rumpus. As Emily’s eyes turn to Edgar his heart jumps but one beat then another until finally she stands from her stool and approaches Edgar with a smile not full of apprehension but curiosity. She sets her body next to him and the Bartender places an empty glass and prepares her slotted spoon and sugar cube with a professionalism unknown to many a man. He then pours the absinthe over the cube and strikes a match. The process richly engulfs Emily’s attention and keeps the two strangers discreet for a moment further. As the sugar melts into the glass of green fluid sure to black out the most practiced drinker, Edgar finally opens his mouth, free at last of hiccups.
“If the lady would forgive my forward attitude, I would smite myself if I did not ask your favor at this night. Your beauty has flooded my thoughts and I could not be swayed to think of a life in which I did not ask of you a conversation, or at the very minimum your name.”
“Emily Elizabeth Dickinson. Now, kind sir, it would only seem equal favor to grace me with your name.”
Edgar smiled as he gave his name with proud tremolo. “Edgar Alan Poe, my dear Emily. Pleased to have your acquaintance, now, what brings beauty to such a humble establishment as this?” As he finishes his statement the bartender peers over his shoulder at the newly familiarized couple with a look of resenting quality.
“Merely curiosity kind sir, and thank you for the refreshment.” She places the glass to her lips and merely chokes on the fluid’s potent qualities.
Edgar laughs about her endearing effort to drink, but allows a few words to the novice Emily. “My dear Emily, if you will excuse my laughs, I would show you that one must first add water to the drink, to call it properly by the name of mélange, for the forte of the fennel and wormwood can be most uncomplimentary to the nubile tongue. Allow me.” As he pours water into the glass to remove the bite from the cocktail, Emily looks on with a humbling stare. She acts in a way to show she is more prudent than she honestly is, and Edgar smiles at the sentiment.
The night continues with less than two drinks for the young Emily, leaving Edgar to finish the bottle. Many things were said and both parties embellished upon many stories, in an effort to ease the courtship process. Though Emily had naught more than one and one half glass she was dreadfully sloppy in her way, for she had yet to experience the intoxicating spirits. Sloppy or not, Emily laughed and smiled and she did flirt as Edgar became ever so charming in his ways and his efforts in advancement towards Emily. Late in the night they continued their dallying until not but a minute after closing the Bartender offered them a room above the tavern in which they could stay with discretion and safe of the harms from the black streets.
It took many minutes of persuasion but Edgar in fact convinced young Emily he would allow her the bed alone, as he would relish nothing more than pillow, blanket, and floor. The couple agreed to retire to the room as long as the Bartender would allow them a jug of wine to cap off the night, and the Bartender granted it a rational deal.
With wine in tow Edgar and Emily stumbled towards the narrow staircase that allowed for a causeway to the furnished room above the tavern. Every third step or more came time for titters and overly friendly touching to preserve Emily from a plummet to the floor below. It took countless minutes and trials beyond a sober person’s facility to reach the top step where the door lay open for them to end their night. Once the threshold was breached Edgar offered Emily a swig from their newly attained carafe, which she accepted with a snort and a smile. As she lifted the bottle to her lips Edgar flops on the bed with a drunken heaviness. Young Emily spits slightly as she exclaims, “You sir, have more coming than you want if you assume that you can lay rest upon the bed in which you vowed to me and me only.”
“My dear Emily – fear not bout my spell on this bed. I do not command to stay, yet merely desire to remove my boots. As I have many a drink tonight in our beloved tavern below, cannot stand on my own resolve enough to remove them whilst standing. Do pardon my presence for a measured instant.” At that very moment Emily tripped on her own stance and lands on her knees a mere set of inches from Edgar’s face. At first she is distraught and can only blush with an intoxicated head, but soon there after her eyes lock on to Edgar’s and he moves slowly to her face. Her eyes close for instinct breaches reason’s fault line and all resolve to be wholesome and true be banished for the moment.
When her eyes regain light from being open, it happens in a panic for her perception and knowledge of her surroundings is a haze. She springs forward but soon is in a spit of regret for the action has forced her head to feel as though it has swollen to the size of a ripe melon and pounds as though the local militia is running a trudging exercise in her ear canal. She cries out in pain just before she notices her clothes do not accompany her. She shrieks again under her breath and shoots her head around the room in a fit of panic. As she looks to her immediate left an equally naked being lays next to her. Then the night slowly regains clarity, but not clear enough to remind her how she achieved a bed with a man, a man of 40 by the name of Edgar. She jumps to her feet and looks around to find her frock lying crumbled in the corner. She scoops it up and covers her naked skin in one swift motion as she clears the door to the stairs. She trips down the first step and a half in an agitation of urgency, but regains her poise as though she is a large cat falling from a branch. Once in the streets below she hails a carriage that carries her home without question. That very morning she wrote a poem that many a scholar has interpreted incorrectly, for it is merely a memoir for the time she drank Absinthe with Edgar Allan Poe. The following poem is read as follows:
I taste a liquor never brewed –
From Tankards scooped in Pearl –
Not all the Vats upon the Rhine
Yield such an Alcohol!
Inebriate of Air – am I –
And Debauchee of Dew –
Reeling – thro endless summer days –
From inns of Molten Blue –
When “Landlords” turn the drunken Bee
Out of the Foxglove’s door –
When Butterflies – renounce their “drams” –
I shall but drink the more!
Till Seraphs swing their snowy Hats –
And Saints – to windows run –
To see the little Tippler
Leaning against the – Sun –