It’s karaoke night at Bear’s Biker Bar and if that sounds like pressure then you don’t know blarney.
The St. Patrick’s Day themed event primarily consisted of replacing the regular brown beer with green beer, drinking it faster and not caring that your alcohol dry throat can’t carry a tune.
Tonight’s theme is female ballads, which are sung by drunk bikers with large beards. Charlie, the Coma Librarian, is onstage yelling “R-E-S-P-C-T find out what it means to me”. The tune is slightly off and jarring and after a couple of verses the ballad has moved toward “Danny Boy” and what’s calling him.
My father, Stan, is sitting next to me. Today, he went to leave for his internship with Coma News Daily without his pants. He forgets sometimes. After mom passed away, I moved back to town to help him with these things and it’s not so bad yet that I need to be with him every day. Once he starts to forget the underwear he’ll have to move in with me and then I’ll be dressing my two boys and my father.
“Just a little bit. Just a little bit. Sock it to me,” Charlie sings as he spins and spins all tattooed and light like a heavy metal ballerina.
Dad and Bear the owner of this bar are having a discussion of failings.
“My hip won’t move until about 8:30 in the morning,” Dad said.
“My elbow hurts all the time now,” Bear said.
“My back is so sore I have to sleep on a heating pad,” they both said.
And I shift uncomfortably on my barstool because I’m wearing the hellish Spanx. The “support undergarments” are so constricting that I can’t eat during the day. I’m not sure why I need them or what I am pretending to hold in rather than letting go. Not sure why I am wearing Spanx under jeans. I’m not at a fashion show or wearing an evening gown. No one here even sees me they are either drunk or caught up in their own failings.
What I do know with increasing certainty is that I can’t breathe. Not helping matters is that onstage Charlie has switched to singing “Breathe” by Faith Hill at the top of his lungs.
Nature’s call seals the deal, I take off through the door that says “Men, Women, Whatever makes you happy,” and face the widely dreaded Spanx removal.
Maybe the problem is me. I keep telling myself the Spanx are the problem but they are just a choice I made.
There’s a place on the bathroom door where Michael wrote our names. Etched there from a bathroom make-out session 15 years ago is “Michael and Sadie forever.” And we were forever before he got sick and died.
The battle to free my body and bladder makes it painfully obvious that the Spanx are not going back on.
So I let go. The Spanx go in the trash can.
Now Charlie is singing Sheryl Crow’s “Strong Enough.”
I go sit beside my dad and give him a hug mid-sentence as he talks about the mole he recently had removed that looked a lot like Billy Joel. “How are you feeling, Sadie?” he said.
“Weightless.” And I quietly sing along with Charlie.
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