26. Baking Bread
from Sugaring Off II
Margaret Gilbert

I enrolled in Katharine Gibbs School with some of the silver money and rented a typewriter with
a tin folding table to learn how to type.  I practiced typing my poems at all hours of the night in
my apartment during the heat-wave.  The neighbors complained, but I didn’t care.  I spent $125
on a bottle of Chateau Margaux because I had read that Ernest Hemingway drank this wine in
Paris when he was writing his books.  In my hot basement apartment, I sat around in the heat
and drank glasses of ruby-colored Chateau Margaux.  I thought about Paris and the Dolomites
and how I wished I were there.  When I drank Margaux, the real circumstances of my life
vanished, and I was a Madame de Stael in waiting with plenty of dough and pretty dresses, and
Chanel No. 5, and Mick Jagger wanted to date me, and I was working on a memoir.  No one
knew about my terrible posture, or my epilepsy, or my debts, or my mother, because they didn’t
exist when I drank Chateau Margaux.  After the fifth or sixth glass, the walls of the room would
start to spin and the figures in the green Chagall poster of the Paris Opera on the wall would
come alive. I would take off my clothes, and sit naked in the heat in front of my one window
with black iron bars that looked onto a garden, like Howard Hughes sitting naked in the middle
of hotel rooms.