Memories We Share - Part 4
The morning sun and the sound of you stirring about, wakes me from my all too short sleep. I stumble for the bathroom and then to the coffee pot. I put in an extra scoop as if it will ward off the fatigue that has permeated every fiber of my being.
Even now, you give me my space, knowing what a complete ass I am until I’ve had at least one and usually two cups of coffee. Another lesson learned over the years. I have learned that when I ask you what’s wrong and you say nothing, it means nothing I can help with or something you will tell me about in due time, your time.
I turn on the computer, find favorite songs and blast Billy Joel’s, “For The Longest Time,” singing and swaying my tiredness away. You join me and ask, “Whatcha doing?”
“We need to pick out music for your Celebration of Life, the one you’re coming to.”
After discussing your cremation and my need for some sort of ceremony we had started picking out music and found ourselves veering off into old tunes that made you smile and sing in that most dreadful off key way of yours. I save them reminding you Hospice is having their Music Therapist visit and we plan to ask her to burn some cd’s for you to listen to and for your celebrations.
We have come to the conclusion that celebrating your life would make a great deal more sense now. The other way is like buying flowers for the dead … why not share a bouquet with the living? We’ve called about the cost of renting out the room at the city’s new recreation center, complete with kitchen, a dance floor … the works. You have made out a rough menu and have requested a keg of beer for the old crew who you are now busy trying to reach and invite. These are people you haven’t seen in over twenty-five years and haven’t kept in touch with, save one you found a couple of months ago. I am praying they will come. One owns a band and we will pay them to play if need be to assure a turn out. We will put flyers around town as there are people here who will attend, if for nothing else then music and free beer. I don’t care, it needs to be your time in the spotlight, for you to shine and remember and most of all laugh and enjoy yourself. We will post open invitations in the newspaper of the town you came from and in the town we lived in, “Come One, Come all!” I fight the Panic Attack that is forming on the horizon from even thinking of this. My Agoraphobia is knocking at my mind’s door reminding me it can leave me powerless if it so chooses and I find my hands shaking as I try to type out these lists of preparations.
I have to keep reminding myself that while this is not my idea of a good time, it is yours and you are the feature. Do you remember the night you took me to your favorite hang-out from your wild and rowdy drinking days? We walked in and it was like a scene from Cheers were everyone greats Norm. I soon discovered the partial cause of your popularity as you ordered a round for the bar and I cringed at the cost! Bars and I have never been good friends to begin with. I spent too many years accompanying my Mother who would search for my father or step-fathers in these places and witnessed the humiliation of the situation that seemed to go over her head. Of course they paid dearly when she finally got them home but the women who didn’t even bother to pretend they weren’t hanging all over one of them, the smells and even the music is burned in my brain. Other than my brief freedom from my ex-husband when I would go dancing with friends from college, my time was spent elsewhere. The bar you took me to was a mixture of bikers, day laborers and shall we say, “help me make it through the night” women. We sat at the bar and then a table and I remember praying your pager would go off and we would have to leave and get back to our jobs … but no. I drank one coke to your three Jack and Cokes and reluctantly had to visit the restroom. As I was trying to wash my hands and was wondering what I had gotten myself into, a rather large and very drunk woman who appeared as if she’d applied her make-up with a putty knife and sprayed a final coat of shellac over it for good measure, came out of a stall and fell into me.
“Watch it, Bitch,” she says to me.
“Watch yourself!” I reply, cussing myself as I check my purse for some Tylenol, finding none.
“You wanna go MF?” she is trying to pull something from her purse and I’m assuming she’s not about to refresh her lipstick.
“Nope! Just went, but thanks.” I reach for the door knob and walk back to our table on shaky legs announcing I am ready to go. You, however, are in your element and having a grand time. Too many Jack and Cokes have stripped away your White Knight shining armor and you stubbornly tell me to enjoy myself, loosen up and have a good time for a change. When you went to the bar to get us another round I left, walked thirteen blocks to the bus station and rode a Greyhound to the town where we lived and took a cab to the apartment.
Safe in my own bed I lay awake wondering about you, this man who read the classics to me in our shared bubble baths and quoted poetry versus the edge of a tattered cuff persona I’d witnessed that night. I had not fallen in love with you quite yet and you were fast becoming a definite no in my book. If you had not seen the true PTSD reactions I had when you would drink and chosen to give it up, we would have never been planning this celebration.
No, I am not looking forward to this party, but I prefer it to the Celebration of Life that will be held after you pass so I will make the best of it, pray these people have mellowed with age and carry a pair of brass knuckles in my purse … just in case.