Old fashioned days

After a very tough day, I dropped my daughter off at band practice and stumbled into a nearby restaurant to wait out the time until pick-up. I opened the door feeling defeated and frustrated. My heavy heart and shoulders carrying more evidence of the selfish, greedy world we live in and the power they have to make us feel small and insignificant. Ho hum.

“What can I get you?” I paused, truly unable to answer that question without wondering if there was clean water. I said “I don’t know. It’s been a really rough day. Especially for a Monday.” We both laughed. “I think I’ll have an old fashioned.” He smirked and said “I feel you. I know those old fashioned days.”

I sat, quiet and pensive, writing and sipping this drink. Taking in the sweetness, the zesty orange rind that had been so carefully peeled and placed on the rim of my glass. I was so deflated. Like a dirty balloon from last weeks parade. The bartender let me sit for a bit but not for long. “So what do you do when you’re not drinking old fashioneds?” I laughed. Boy was that a loaded question. I started telling him about my day and the work I do and my kids and life in general. He laughed and said it sounded like a movie or a screenplay. Then we commiserated over it all. The racism, the sexism, the greed, the corruption, the injustices, the deceit. We talked about me living in Baltimore and him living in Chicago’s South Side. We talked about New York and how in some ways it makes Baltimore and Chicago seem small. As a native New Yorker I still felt I had to defend this big crazy town. “It can be a tough city. But it can also be a beautiful city. I guess it’s how we choose to see it all. Or maybe where we look.”

He told me he was a poet with one successful book out and another one on the way. I was loving the connection so far and that he was a writer made my day (I am the daughter of two writers after all). He showed me his book. I got chills. It was one of those moments that was being offered to me. A sign. A message. An intervention. This was a gift. As my eyes started tearing up, he looked at me for a bit and said “Stand in your courage.”

maria carola