Saturday, August 01, 2009


Sitting by my grandmother’s bedside I was remembering moments in time when I had more questions than I had answers, when nothing made sense and everything seemed reasonable. She use to sit at the kitchen table, in the dark, drinking alone. I would wonder why but I didn’t dare ask. Her glass would be heavy with the dark umber of a bitter bourbon or scotch, whatever her preference was at that moment. Sadly, when she drank, she could be cruel and I knew better than to incite her wrath. But I couldn’t help but wonder why she drank alone.

Sitting there, remembering, I couldn’t stop myself from asking. I was actually surprised when she answered.

“You remember that?”

“I do.”

“Drinking took the weight off.”

“I don’t understand.”

“The weight of the world. Drinking took it off my shoulders.”

“Were things that bad for you?”

“Not things, baby. Usually just a man.”

“All of them?”

“Most of them.”

“Enough to make you drink?”

“Enough to make me want to stop the train and get off this ride for as long as I could.”

“They broke your spirit.”

She paused. “No, they didn’t break nothin’. They just slipped in and took what they wanted until there was nothing else left to take.”

“And drinking made it better?”

“Drinking made it bearable.”

“But you stopped drinking and everything seemed just fine.”

She laughed. “It was. That’s when I got rid of the men in my life too.”

I laughed with her. Then I remembered the last real boyfriend in her life. He was a bear of a man. Well over six feet tall and solid muscle. He kept her draped in fur and diamonds and there was nothing that she wanted for. Theirs was a volatile relationship and the day he kicked in my daddy’s front door to get to her, was the last day I ever saw of him. He kicked that door and my daddy kicked him. Granny never drank alone, in the dark, after that.

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