Saturday Musings ~ Bar Lights and Spontaneous Nights

There are some places that just hold a certain nostalgia and feeling, as though you have come home again after being away for some time.

For me, that is usually my mother’s house. I run there to share victories and tragedies, heartbreaks and good news. I go crawling there when life crumbles and I can always rebuild from my roots there.

But there is a little pub in town nestled between a fabric store and a 7-Eleven. I started going there with a friend for karaoke every Wednesday in my first of college in 2009. I was 20 years old. I was young, naive and needed a new scene for my nomadic spirit who was planted in this town for two years for school. Faces soon became as familiar as the laughter echoing through cigarette smoke out on the patio, where the rest of the world seemed so far away.

I learned a bit about love, about the ways of certain men and certain women. I met people who passed through as briefly as a Canadian summer. I made friends who remained in my life.

I discovered what it was like to have a place to fall when your own house became difficult to live in, when nights got too late and heartbreak settled into dreaded silence of home; when my relationship at the time became toxic and an unbiased ear would be open for listening.

When that relationship was crumbling faster than the pieces could be salvaged, my life was suddenly a mess. I was with a narcissist and couldn’t seem to get past the cycles of manipulation and lies. How did I misjudge someone and screw up so badly? And why the hell was I still in this town?

“Don’t settle, doll.”

Those were the words I’d needed to hear, and after two or three drinks at karaoke one night, smoking cigarettes between songs and talking to a random in the bar, I finally heard them. It was my moment of clarity.

This random was one of the stragglers who was in town for a few weeks and was gone again without knowing the impact he made with so few words. My ex would be inside flirting with girls at the bar. I’d be outside smoking to escape the humiliation of his facade that made me out to be a crazy bitch.

The topic of relationships arose when my new smoking buddy sensed my unhappiness, when it got to where I couldn’t hide it anymore.

He told me about his ex-wife and the kids she wouldn’t let him see. He’d screwed up too many times, he said. There was no going back.

No going back. I wished I’d just go back to being single, I remarked in hostility. He’s not working, never does, only thinks of himself and blames everything wrong on me. I’m sick of it. So damn sick of this. I miss my own life, when no one got jealous because I’d talk to some guy friends in the bar, when my house was my home and I wasn’t so damn tangled up in one lie after another.

It had been built up for so long I’d barely realized how the words fell from my mouth.

He took a few thoughtful drags off that cigarette before speaking.

“Don’t settle, doll.”

That was it. I had settled; lost my backbone and self-esteem I’d built myself in the wake of recovering from childhood sexual abuse. I let another man cut me down to something small and helpless again.

The relationship ended that summer. It was a few weeks before I showed my face at my regular haunt, worried what my ex had told everyone there and what they thought of my. But nothing changed when I walked in those doors. I felt free.

I never saw my smoking buddy again. Maybe he saw the moment of clarity hit me and maybe he left town never knowing the impact of three simple words. But thank you.

As it usually did, my life changed in that bar room. Between enduring my ex’s stalking and growing my backbone again, my friend and I were laughing the night away at a table of guys we had joined. Somehow, the seating arrangement in our migrations between the outdoor patio table and the indoor booth kept me between a tall metalhead in leather and denim, and a totally wasted sleazebag who kept inappropriately grabbing me.

I finally told him to stop it or I would kick him off the booth and get him thrown out of the bar. I’d just gone through two years of being used and mistreated- no stupid drunk was about to do it again. The metalhead said he would deck the guy, and I remarked that it wasn’t the metalhead he should be worried about, it was me.

Sure enough, he did it again. I turned, braced against the metalhead and booted him with both feet off the booth, and when he went down, everyone else on the booth went down like dominoes. The bartender, who knows me, threw him out shortly after that.

Seems as the metalhead was the only one who acted like a gentleman that night, he was the only one who also got my number. I told the others to take a lesson and man up.

In 14 days, almost two years later, I am marrying that metalhead.

I recently read a book titled “The Tender Bar” by J.R. Moehringer, a touching memoir about a fatherless boy who grew up to learn his life lessons from the men who frequented a bar in his hometown. It was the end of an era when that bar closed down following the owner’s death.

This week, we went to karaoke at a different after not having been out for a while due to wedding planning and working. It was just a random night out with my fiancé and my best friend. We got news that my favourite bar is being sold and potentially renovated and renamed. I got that same feeling- end of an era. It feels ironic, after having spent most of my dating life and learning so much while in that bar, that this  happens the year I am getting married to the man I met there.

It was familiarity. It was friendships and it was lessons. It might change a lot with the pending sale or it might not. But it holds a lot of memories there for a lot of people. My moment of clarity with my smoking buddy was only one of many, though it is one that stands out predominantly. Of all the things that change in this town, I didn’t think it would be that bar.

But everything changes after time, anyways.

 A pink sunlight settles behind a tree on Mayor McGrath Sept. 26.

Mother’s Day Poem ~ Outdoor Lights

The gypsy feet could walk
a million miles
through a thousand cities.
I could get lost
in outdoor lights
and none are the one
I keep looking for;
feet to pavement,
heart in hand,
still leading me
back home again.

The estranged heart could live
forever drifting
with butterflies
atop wildflowers, beneath
cherry blossom trees by the sea.
Petals on skin,
feeling
close to you again. 

And I could get lost
in the rain in the strangest place.
At 2 am, I’ll always hear
your words in my head
when I need them most,
when I don’t know the one
in the mirror anymore.
When everything is wrong,
mistakes make a fool out of me,
I find her in photos of you
or in a phone call back home
to remind me I am
always my mother’s daughter.

The outdoor light could go out
but you leave it on,
shining brightly
for my suitcase and crazy spirit
to find my way home,
standing still beneath your
warmth in a darkest night,
feet to pavement
heart in hand
finding me
back home again.

Mothers are that special charm Photo by Lavinia Thompson

Mothers are that special charm
Photo by Lavinia Thompson

 

 

 

Poetry Friday ~ Dream of Rainy Days

I dream of rainy days,
sultry skin tangled,
sleepy eyes,
blank book pages.
Instead I’m stuck in traffic
again.

Coffee in hand,
another dead end job.
But I live for
coming home to you,
laughter bouncing between walls
like ecstatic clowns
in a circus balloon.

Monday is like decaf coffee
to an exhausted soul.
Friday is the cocktail
I’ve craved all week.
Saturday is for sleeping in
next to you.

And I keep saying
there’s something more.
Needed a drink before noon.
Maybe restless, maybe reckless,
maybe need more than
dull adulthood.

Then there’s you;
4 a.m. vodka,
your sleepy eyes
capture my soul
every time
and I never felt more alive
than knowing you’re there
even when I close my eyes.

SONY DSC

Caturday! Sir Harold’s third birthday

So I am going to start celebrating Caturday on my blog here. It is the crazy cat lady thing to do! 

This weekend, we are celebrating the third birthday of my darling Sir Harold Wobbles. He was four months old when I first brought him home. He was one of the shelter cats in the local PetSmart store. I always take a look at the kitties in there. There he was, in one of the top kennels. He saw me, rolled over on his back and gave me those big “take me home and love me” eyes. I fell in love with him immediately. 

11174845_10153219738486203_6795951500126979184_n

 

He is always full of cuddles and love, and purrs louder than any cat I have ever met. 

And these two, are my girls, Karma (black) and Belle (calico). They are the best of friends. 

11066079_10153219878071203_91344351156181742_n

Happy Caturday everyone!