The following is one in a series of intermittent excerpts from Coma residents’ blogs published by Coma News as a community service
It’s poker night at Bear’s Biker bar and five or six of the regulars are sitting around the table drinking beer and deciding whether to hold or fold. My Dad is there– in and out from losing his mind to Alzheimer’s disease.
Today he thought my name was Janice which is apparently the name of a woman he met before he married my mom. He said, “Oh Janice, I should’ve married you.”
And I wonder if there’s always someone better when you are married because marriage is hard. It’s hard to remember the times you ripped off each others clothes when you are busy ripping off a diaper. It’s hard to remember times you stood in the rain and laughed when you are knee deep in house payments. It’s impossible to remember laying in bed all day together when you’re up all night with a child.
I have friends who are single who want to be married and loved.
I have friends who are dating who are desperate to get engaged.
I have friends who are married who want to run away.
On stage at the bar Charlie the Coma Librian sings a Tracy Chapman tune, “I’d always hoped for better but maybe together you and me find that if you got no plans and ain’t going nowhere take a fast car and keep on driving.”
And Dad stands up “I got a royal flush!”
Bear looks at his cards “Stan, you’ve got three 3’s and a four and then nothing. Where the hell is your 5th card!?!”
Dad, “That’s a royal flush, baby. I win.”
And maybe that’s where we are. Winning is just a matter of seeing it a little differently when it’s not a real royal flush. To be happy where ever we are.
Sometimes I want to get a fast car like Kerouac where I run away. I take a fast car and keep on driving. Toward the sun. Toward the ocean where I’m a bartender at a seedy seaside bar and at 2am I hike up my skirt and run toward the dark ocean laughing all the way until my feet touch the water. Ahead of me is rolling waves and endless stars. Behind me is the last of the drunk crowd trying an uncoordinated coupling to keep them away from one more night in an empty bed, alone.
I’m not stuck with anything and I’m just serving a beer. Where I take a fast car and keep on driving and write fluid poetry about the road and all it’s possibilities.
I am not a mom who is under the thumb of everyone’s needs. Where I am not taking care of an old man losing his mind.
It’s me at a seaside bar where I am sleeping in till noon and touching the sea with my toes just after 2am.
“Sadie. Get up here.” Charlie the Coma Librarian yells. In this bar he’s a warrior poet. His music matters. It keeps the crowd busy.
“Okay, Stan. You win this time.” Bear concedes and pushes a bunch of chips toward my father.
And we go on.
I walk to the stage and Charlie hands me a guitar and he starts to strum. I know the tune and I remember that I am happy right here. Right now. Because this is what I have.
“All we are is dust in the wind….” Charlie winks at me and we play the music together.