Last weekend I went to my niece’s Sadie’s bat mitzvah. There’s something about the ritual that makes you feel connected. Not to God necessarily but to those who came before. The passing of the Torah from one generation to another was very moving. Added to that was the pride we all felt watching that tiny little girl reading the Hebrew so perfectly.
Practically my entire family was there. We all live far away from each other so getting together was terrific. I don’t see my niece Michelle very often but she said she’s addicted to my blog.
My father used to say that I was the glue that held the family together but I think he was wrong. Our fabulous family holds itself together by loving each other. We are all there for each other. When anything bad happens to one of us the family takes a breath and we don’t truly release it until things start to get better.
While I was there some of us drove into Annapolis and I couldn’t help but think how dave would have loved being there. Annapolis is one of his favorite places. Whenever we could we’d dock in the middle of town and men strolling with their wives would look at our boat enviously. The women with any brains would rush their husbands along.
We left the next afternoon. Dave was not home when I got there and the house was exactly the way I left it. The most telling thing was that he had finished all the vodka before I left but hadn’t bought more.
I rang Liz’ bell and she and Rupert came over to my house for cocktails because David was on a conference call and it pissed him off if rupe barked.
When I told her that I didn’t know where dave was and there was no vodka in the house she was alarmed.
Dave had been saying that he didn’t feel well. He was hardly eating and existing entirely on vodka. Liz was worried that he was in the hospital or worse.
Just then dave came in. He sat down with us.
He said he really wasn’t feeling well and he planned to go to the doctor tomorrow.
After a little small talk I asked him if when he leaves on Friday it will be for good.
He said yes. He would be in New York for about a month but then he’s going to be living in a small town in Japan for a few months.
He started to say “Can you imagine me living in this little town?” he was smiling.
I interrupted. “I’m assuming her daughter is letting you come there with her”
“Yes” he said “that situation has changed. Could you order more vodka?”
“ Did you not drink all weekend? I wondered why you didn’t buy vodka yourself”
“ I drank whatever else was in the house. Is there any vodka anywhere?” he was looking at Liz.
Last time dave left I figured I didn’t have to buy vodka in bulk so I bought a bottle of good vodka that I left in Liz’s house for our cocktail hour. There was about ¾ left.
I went and got it and handed it to him. Things sure changed. In the past I would have fought him tooth and nail to keep him from drinking so much. Now it simply wasn’t my job any more. Let her deal with it.
He took the bottle from me and started unscrewing the cap. Liz jumped up and said “Let me get you some ice”
“No need” he just drank it straight out of the bottle.
He looked at me and said “ I don’t know if you believe this but I don’t regret one day of our 45 years together”
As he continued to speak I looked at Liz and mumbled “here comes the knife”
He went on “but I am very happy with my decision”
He continued “I was talking to my friend Lonette and she said I’m being unfair to you because as long as I stay here you can’t help taking care of me. That said I have a cuticle that’s driving me crazy, can you cut it for me?”
Reader, don’t even ask if I did it. You know I did.
“And can you tell me how to pay my bills if I’m living in Japan?”
Liz explained paying via computer to him. She then suggested he close his fly. Luckily he wears long shirts so she didn’t have to faint dead away. She’s very delicate.
He then told me his general plans
“I guess I’ll take my music out and put it in storage.
I plan on living a vagabond life. I’ll be in New York for a month at a hotel, then a few months in Japan, then either on the boat or New York again.
I found this so painful. It was clinical and barely recognizable as the end of a long and mostly happy marriage.
I have to keep reminding myself that when he isn’t here I’m happier.
We just sat around talking with Liz.
Dave was explaining to us that he was still the guy he always was even if he did this terrible thing to me.
I said “maybe you’re the guy you always were but you aren’t the guy I thought you were.”
He said “Do you know the thing I like best about myself?” the vodka was taking hold.
“Your general shittiness ?” I suggested
He laughed and said “ My music. I know I’m a great musician”