Monsieur Propriétaire rolled out of bed, his bare feet quickly finding the reassuring tickle of an organic Loghtan sheepskin rug. Rubbing the sleep from his eyes, he quickly took in his surroundings. Since Eva had left last year he had taken to sleeping in the west wing of the château, and he was still getting used to his new rooms. The move served a useful purpose; the expanse of the great building serving as a buffer, insulating him from the painful memories of their old living quarters.
It was not the break-up itself which had surprised Monsieur Propriétaire; it was the swiftness with which it had all happened. Bordeaux AquaFun™ had seemed a huge success during the 2017 primeurs – a certain American critic had given both the Cabernet Corkscrew (the world’s only Lalique crystal glass water slide) and the Spittoon Splashdown rides 100 points apiece – and yet the public just didn’t seem to be interested. The number of visitors coming through the gates each day had soon dwindled to single figures. He never could figure out why. Was it that high scores from some critics no longer mattered? Or was his decision to raise the admission price by 500% somehow contributory? Didn’t the public know how much work he had put into his theme park? And why weren’t the négociants buying up all the unsold tickets, like they did his wine in 2013? And, come to think of it, in every vintage since? Monsieur Propriétaire shook his head in despair; it was clear these were questions to which he had no answers. And now it was too late anyway. Only a few months earlier his bank had foreclosed on the loan. Bordeaux AquaFun™ was no more.
Two weeks after the bailiffs had come knocking, looking to take away 278 sections of Lalique crystal waterslide, Eva had disappeared on another of her yoga and meditation weeks with new teacher, Yogi Aspen Bhakti Sprout. That was nothing unusual; Eva went at least six times a year, and always came back a new woman. Apparently, she attributed the rejuvenating power of these trips to the ‘tantric practices’ of her yogi, something she had always said with a wry smile. Monsieur Propriétaire had no idea what she meant, but he had heard his new friend Sting talking about something similar during last year’s primeurs party, at Château Monlot, where he had watched the sexagenarian crooner perform. Everyone had chuckled at Sting’s ‘tantric’ banter, even more than they had at his joke that wine was the real “message in a bottle”, but Monsieur Propriétaire had left the party none the wiser. And then, at the very end of Eva’s week away, he had received a telegram from her to say she would be staying indefinitely, as Yogi Sprout had asked her to remain as one of his permanent students. That had floored Monsieur Propriétaire. I mean, who sends a telegram in this day and age?