– ‘Pack your overnight bag as quickly as you can! I will be waiting for you in the car!’ – I was told as I entered the house leaving my office bag in the hall.
– ‘Fine, I won’t be long’ – I’ve wrapped my arms around his neck and gave him a kiss. Then smiling I run up the stairs to get ready. I used to be very stressed and agitated when on Fridays I will be thrown an order to get ready quickly! Then we would spent hours arguing and hardly ever enjoyed a weekend together. Something needed to change. It was down to our agreement to be more organised, and that’s when the unexpected short notices turn out to be a day in advance notices. We were both happy with this arrangement. But all of a sudden today, it came in a matter of minutes. Surprisingly, I did not react to it at all, as I felt tired and last thing on my mind was to argue!
The car was driving up and down the countryside, as we were watching the glorious colours of pre-sunset being vividly painted all over the sky in front of our own very eyes.
– It is so beautiful! – He said and kept his eyes fixed on the road ahead, while he tried not to be distracted by the pastel painting. I could not have agreed more to his comment, however as everything looked unfamiliar, and the landscape around looked nothing like I have ever seen before, I couldn’t but ask:
– ‘Where are we going by the way?’- as much as I needed an answer, any answer, he stayed silent!
The radio was playing ‘All my love’, surrounding us with gentle ever so soft instrumental notes. It downed on me that is Valentine’s day today! I looked across suspiciously and hoped that we are not one of those couples that celebrate this occasion while locked up in a hotel room admiring how efficient their waiting staff are! We have been together long enough for him to identify that I never liked to be part of the advertising extravaganza! He is well aware that I very much like seeing a sea of red colour in every shop window on the high street on the runner up to Valentine’s day! Maybe because it is all eye catchy and beautiful, but I don’t see the point of celebrating something so trivial as the ‘V’ day.
As we were driving up the hill I was thinking about the significance of this event! In my defence, every couple will have a different explanation on why they like celebrating it. I know that there are many different legends surrounding St Valentine’s, but by far more I like the legend that says that Saint Valentine or Saint Trifun, as he is known on the Balkans, was one of the saints of spring, the saint of good health and the patron of beekeepers and pilgrims. The legend says that plants and flowers start to grow on this day. It has been celebrated as the day when the first work in the vineyards and in the fields commences. Therefore, you must agree with me that raising a glass of vine juice will be more appropriate then spending a little fortune on a gift that in time will loose its value!
Buried deep in my thoughts haven’t realised when the car had stopped and my door got opened! Only when I stepped out of the car, I noticed that we have come to see his uncle who owns a vineyard out in the countryside, where vines are spreading across the rolling hills of silence! I have forgotten how much I liked spending time here in the middle of nowhere! Here, is where birds share happy twits, where sun selflessly is feeding each and every single grape with nectar, and where the cellar holds a delicately tasteful vintage vines with priceless tag indicating its year of harvest. This place is holding a secret to a century old recipe of making the drink of all gods and goddesses.
– ‘I know how great respect you have for St Trifun, so I could not but bring you at the right place in the right time to celebrate the work commencing in the vineyards. My uncle has prepared an overalls for us to wear, with wellies and secateurs and he can’t wait to be given hand with the work on the vines. If we are done by 8pm, we will have a warm and hearty dinner cooked over open fire to celebrate yet another year of successful yield to come! And as he promised, if we can drink as much as wine as we possibly can, then we can spend the whole weekend doing nothing but recovering and relaxing on the sunny veranda overlooking the hills in the distance.’
I could not hide my surprise! I was truly overwhelmed with what I’ve just heard! I wondered why nobody else had thought about this before! If only, everyone is like us, we could all have had a great reason to abandon Valentine’s celebrations and join St Trifun’s army of vine helpers. My face lit up. My body got warmer instantly and with a smile on my face I leaned closer to plant a kiss on his cheek. He smiled and kissed me back softly almost silently, as if favoured to preserve my thoughts forever. He then turned around, leaned slightly forward and allowed me to jump onto his back to be carried up to the chateau to greet the Man himself!…M