Hospital - No Regrets But Wish a Few More Chances
A life in memories
August 15th, 1993 - Regent Hotel - Our first kiss
We laid there on our backs in the piss filled swimming pool at the Regent Hotel, our eyes shot skyward, staring into the stars, each a blinking light of madness.
I was 22, barely a person, let alone of note, but here I was, floating, relaxed, thinking about life, talking to Mary who sat on the edge of the pool.
She was a prostitute I met two towns over; she needed a break from her life and we bought three bottles each of whiskey, rum, etc.
Beers were a both giving.
"Do you think when we die, we get a do over?" she said, swirling her feet through the water.
"I know some day, we all have to die! We'll discover then!" I said, trying to smile, then sinking to the bottom of the pool, then exploding back to the top, and swimming over to the edge, for another shot of whiskey.
It was beginning to take hold, I was falling in love with Mary.
"Never fall in love with a whore or a stripper!" my father, an army career man from 1969 on, told me once, a bit of advice to write down and study when I could, in some dark room in some shit town.
He shot himself in 1993, missed any major organs and ended up as a vegetable in the state's VA hospital.
"Fuck!" was the only words he would yell at those who would listen.
"You ever think about getting married?" I asked her.
"I was married once, to a real nice guy, but he died..." her smiling radiant face turned south, souring at the memory.
"I'm sorry, I shouldn't have asked!" I apologized, taking another shot.
She smiled again, took my hand into hers, held it close to her chest, I could feel her beating heart.
"Don't ever fall in love with a..." my father's advice slipped from my mind, fell to the bottom of the pool where they drowned.
I stood, leading her back to our room; we made love, real love, 'til the sun rose once more. She fell asleep, her head resting on my chest.
"Fall in love..." a shortened memory play. "I love you..." I whispered to her.
"I love you more..." she replied, as if in dream.
And that would be our start; a drunk and a prostitute.
The next day, we were driving down the road.
"You can drop me off in the next town," she said, looking out the window. "I don't want to baggage you with any promises you made under the oath of whiskey."
I laughed and she turned to me, scowling.
"I'm serious, men have told me that they've loved me before, right after fucking me; at first, I thought they meant it, but..." her sentence drifted off into dead space, turning back to stare out the window.
"A prostitute with a golden heart, a drunk to fall in love with her, then, what else?" I laughed.
"I didn't say anything last night that I didn't mean. I want you in my life; I haven't regretted a thing we've done."
"You mean it?"
She slide close to me; tucking herself under my arm, wrapping it around her.
"Where to next lover?" I asked, speeding up faster.
"Wherever, as long as it is with you!" she purred.
July 12th, 2012, — Hospital — No Regrets but wish a few more chances
I try to forget these moments, better off in the past, when we first met, I will return there soon.
I know most memoirs begin at some past date, in the beginning, then travel down the road, to the next moments, a filled chapter, then another, explaining each event in great details, drawn like master art on the canvas.
But in mine, I will jump from the middle, to the end, back to the start, pick up pieces here, there, just as I remember them, trying to explain, to you dear reader, my life, with, before and after my sweet love, my Mary.
I remember sitting there, that night, when she had her first stroke, there in the living room.
She looked at me; smiled, then, as if like a puppet with its strings cut, she fell to the floor.
"Mary!!! Are you okay?!" I rushed to her, held her, called 911, everything was like a horrible nightmare, a dream I wanted to but could not wake up from.
"You need to..." the 911 operator said, I tried to keep my love alive, out of body experience, nothing felt real as I blew into her lips, pounded on her chest.
A few hours later, there in the hospital, the doctors asked that question, "What is your decision? She's..."
I cried there in the room as they unplugged her from the life support.
I watched the last of her heart beats, 'til, finally, nothing and my heart died as well.
Still, I cry, every moment I relive that night, the entire week, a blur.
Again, a nightmare lived.
We had a son; 20 years old, off at college.
"Hey dad, what's wrong?"
We buried her under a tall oak tree, a service of me, my son, some friends and family.
I cried again, every day.
Martin, our son, tried to comfort me.
"Dad, are you okay?" he asked one day.
He was living in Baltimore; finding a job at an accounting firm, his own life beginning.
"I'm fine!" I replied, smiling, a fake smile, hopefully heard through the phone line.
"I can come down there, to see you, this weekend. Flights are cheap!! Sarah would like to meet you."
I truly smiled.
"You two getting serious enough to meet the old man huh?" I kidded.
I heard him laugh.
"Yea, really serious! She's threatening to leave me if I don't pop the question soon!!"
We both laughed.
"Just like your mom!"
Another round of laughter.
"But yeah, dad, I want to see you as well..."
"Sure kid! Be great!"
"We'll be down this weekend."
That weekend came.
It was a beautiful time; one of those memories I'd happily relive over and over again.
Sarah was a beauty queen; smart too. Martin's mom was there, standing next to me.
"Nice to finally meet you, Martin tells me you're a scientist..." I held out my hand.
"Studying to be an ecologist; I'm working for the EPA preparing for my thesis for my doctorate." She smiled, grasping my hand, then she pulled me in and hugged me.
"She's a trickster for hugs dad!" Martin laughed.
We all laughed, in that moment.
A few more weekends passed, a year to be exact, and the wedding took place.
It was a beautiful ceremony; Sarah was a beautiful bride.
I gave her away.
Strange, I know, but her own father had passed away a few years before and her mother, a woman who I will write about later, never remarried or had a significant other in her life, asked me one night as a favor to Sarah.
"She really likes you; she already thinks of you as a father, so, I know it's strange, but she doesn't have any male family members who are willing to be, well, you know."
"Angie, I'd be honored..."
Angie was the Matron of Honor.
Sarah held my arm tightly as we walked down the aisle.
Martin was handsome as the scared groom.
I remembered being that groom; with his mother, in front of the justice of the peace, somewhere in Illinois, some backwater, we discovered as we traveled.
"Hey dad! Sarah and I have some news for you!" Martin said excitedly through the phone one day.
"What?" I said.
"You're going to be a grandpa!" he busted out.
I almost cheered.
"Great news son!"
The great news though was killed five months later with a miscarriage and a near death of Sarah.
She spent close to six months in and out of hospitals, once for when baby Julie was stillborn and a few times after for attempting to kill herself in what the doctor at the "Support Facility" called a "Response to great grief..."
Her smiling bright eyes grew dull and cold afterwards.
I had gone up to see her, an attempt at brightening her day.
She had smiled at the roses I had placed in a vase I had "Acquired" from the nurse's station.
"Beautiful flowers for my beautiful daughter!" I smiled.
"They say I might get to leave here soon!" she said, still hugging me, a hard hug from a weak, almost skeleton figure. "All I have to do is put on some weight! Attend some grief counseling and maybe..."
"Eat!" I joked pulling up a chair near her bed.
"Where's Martin?" I asked.
"Oh! He went to get mom! She flew in, to be here too!! She's actually more excited to see you, but shh, don't tell her I told you, she has a crush on you!"
At the wedding reception, Angie and I had hit it off pretty hard, talking about things, being a widow, children, living, death, dating after losing a mate, the usual stuff.
She and I would call each other every so often, talk about more stuff; she was trying to move on with her life; met someone on a dating site but didn't work out.
"Well, well, look at the handsome man! Love this hospital already!" Angie said walking into the room.
I smiled, stood up, hugged her.
"And where did you find this young, beautiful woman?" I asked Martin.
We all laughed.
"Mom, I was just telling Pop that maybe, just maybe, if I eat all my vegetables and do what the nice doctors tell me to do, I might get to go home!!"
Angie smiled, big grin, hugging her daughter tightly.
"Best news I heard all day!" she said.
Martin was exhausted, I could tell by his eyes.
"Hey son, why don't I take your beautiful mother in law off your hands for a bit and you and your wife have a few moments, I'll promise to have her home by 8," I laughed.
"That'd be wonderful!!" Sarah beamed, almost pushing us away from the bed.
"Great!" Martin said, hugging me.
"Take her someplace nice!" he whispered, pressing a hundred-dollar bill into my hand.
"Ah kid takes at least 200 in this town!" I whispered, almost laughing out.
We ended up at some out of the way place; cheap Italian joint, Angie's pick.
"I like these places, run down, like me on the inside," she cracked.
I laughed. "You are doing pretty good on the outside!" I replied.
I was sipping a diet coke.
"You use to drink right?" she smiled.
"I did, pretty bad too, got real bad after my wife passed away!"
"Yea, don't tell Sarah or Martin, but sometimes, I slip up, go to the liquor store and..."
"... buy a fifth?" I said.
"Anything really, doesn't even have to be my brand, just something to..."
"Kill that pain inside your gut?"
We both smiled.
She held my hands.
"Ah love birds!" the waiter said, bringing our food.
"We're just good friends!" Angie said, still holding my hands. "My daughter and his son are married!"
"I still say, a beautiful couple," he replied, sliding our plates in front of us.
"Thank you!" I said, smiling, not taking my eyes off of Angie's face.
Under a stressful situation, she was still a beauty.
"What time did you tell the kids we'd be back?" she kidded.
"I didn't!" I laughed.