Sunday, June 10, 2007

Hesitation, Cognac and Consequences at the Sapphire Hotel

The Sapphire Hotel. It’s an intimate restaurant with a small bar in the back. In the late 19th century legend has it a wise and lovely Indochinese women migrated to Portland from Canada. On this present location she established a warm and exotic environment where only invited guests were allowed for an evening of dining and entertainment. Knowing the right person, or being the right person, and with of course ample cash on hand, an evening at The Sapphire was an experience unlike any other brothels of its time. Providing fine dining, good wine, spirits, and of course beautiful women, many men came away from an evening at The Sapphire with memories that never faded.

As homage to it historical past, The Sapphire is decorated in oriental paper lamps, dim sconces, candlelight, and amongst the upper rafters antique bed stands and bureaus that purvey the atmosphere of the brothel now past.

It was in the modern Sapphire Hotel where I had taken a woman I happened to have been dating for several months. We had met one night downtown at another famous Portland bar, the Shanghai Tunnel. We exchanged numbers. This led to late-night phone calls and eventually a couple of dinner dates. An attractive girl, a few years my junior, we shared much in common. I enjoyed her laugh, and her quick wit and dry humor. Relationships however can be a mystical thing. Sitting across from her and sharing an appetizer, I felt the duality of a head that told me she was something special, but my heart did not seem to equally share in the enthusiasm. To this day I cannot explain why people do, or do not, fall in love. Call it pheromones, chemistry, kismet, or what ever label you wish to apply. You know love when you feel it, not when you think it.

It was before the dessert that I excused myself to wonder up to the bar to order myself a cognac, and for her espresso. It was at the back corner bar, standing there waiting for my drinks, that my eyes were trapped by a striking woman of green eyes and cropped, dark hair, sitting with two of her friends on the opposite side of the bar. Chemistry, or maybe pheromones, I cannot explain it. At that moment my heart came with fire, and while we stared at each other for only a few moments, and as cliche as it will sound, time hesitated. The bartender placed my drinks in front of me but I was not paying attention. She mouthed the word ‘hello’, and I likewise fumbled to say the same back.

Life is peculiar. There are rules that we follow. We follow some of them out of survival and necessity, and others we simply follow without every questioning why we are supposed to behave in such odd manners. Life is what you make of it, each moment you have a choice. As I reached for my drinks, I glanced up one last time at this women with green eyes, soft, rounded shoulders in a black dress and thought about what choices I could make right now, right in that moment. I could have walked over, asked her name, gotten her phone number. I could do this. I could make this choice.

Back at our table I handed my date her espresso. I slunked down in my chair, roiled the cognac around the glass in my hand.

Later I rose from the table that night at The Sapphire with my date. I walked to the door, catching a fleeting glimpse in the large wall-mirrors of this women looking back at me.

Many men once entered this building under different circumstances back in the day, but I couldn’t help think about how always history repeats itself. I never saw the green-eyed women in the black dress again, and weeks later I stopped dating the girl I was with that night.

What could have been, and the choice I made, still linger with me. The Sapphire Hotel has made memories for many men that last them their lifetime, but those memories are bittersweet. Perhaps it is not the head that cements regret into us, but rather the ache of a burning heart, intentionally extinguished by unwritten rules we choose to follow.
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3 comments:

Doc M, phd said...

Awesome story. For a minute there I was waiting for the "Dear Penthouse....."

Distilled.Publishing@gmail.com said...

This isnt that kind of blog :)

Blackpool Hotels said...

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