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Microsoft Word - 2014_Great_American_Fiction_Contest-Auld_Lang_Syne-by_Stephen_G_Eoannou.docx

When the bartender had filled his glass, James raised his and whispered, “To Bill.” The four men touched glasses. Griff held that first sip in his mouth, letting the coolness and sweetness linger on his tongue before letting the wine ease down his throat. He tried to taste and memorize all that had gone into that simple glass of wine — the rich French soil, the ripened grapes, the relentless rains that had almost ruined the harvest. He searched for a hint of the happiness that was supposed to accompany this night but couldn’t find any. The men did not talk much after that. They sat lost in their own thoughts and listened to the ancient carol. They swirled the Sauternes and looked into their glasses as if searching for something to be revealed. At some point, the taller man leaned close to James, their heads almost touching, and put his hand on the shorter man’s shaking shoulder and left it there. Griff took his time between sips, stretching this moment as long as he could, knowing that Bill had been right and that no one would forget this shared wine. Looking at the two men with their heads bowed, he marveled at how one gift could touch a person, even a stranger, so deeply that they would carry it with them forever. Outside the wind began to howl, and Griff thought of that old woman, his last fare, and the snow blowing through


Microsoft Word - 2014_Great_American_Fiction_Contest-Auld_Lang_Syne-by_Stephen_G_Eoannou.docx
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