....shah la la la la la, live for today....
Off we go, me, Tekchik, Coco, and The Prince. The Prince is sulky, probably because That Girl has blown us off after promising to join us. We go, a bit subdued, but all in one car.
Harry Browne's does not, in fact, have Seamus Kennedy on the docket, so we leave after one beer. We stop at Gomez's new place of employ, since we miss seeing him at The Rose (our "Cheers" bar, where they really do know our names...a couple of them, anyway)and he is tickled to see us. However, it is boring there in the bar of the Raddison Annapolis, despite the hockey game, so we move on to the Bullseye, with pool and darts and lots of redneck crewcut types. The guy with the mullett is a woman, and the fat bleached blonde with the shirt that exposes her navel comes on to her. There is wrestling on the set, and Tekchik tells me who is who, not that it sticks. Not that I care. But any excuse to engage her in conversation.
Her skin is warm and smooth, her embrace full (as always) of welcome and acceptance. She's been quiet since the dissolution of her coven and therefore also her band. She has a tattoo that she must now erase or cover. She offers to pierce me anywhere I'd like. She says the brow isn't too painful. I consider the top of the ear. We'll see. She toys with the barbell in her tongue, a habit I find only slightly less irritating than gum-popping, so I try to not notice. She is that appealing mix of wiseass tough and pudding tender that I'm such a sucker for.
"I talk to you like shit, I treat you like shit, I push you away..."
"Yeah, hard to believe you like me."
"I DON'T like you! Aren't you mad at me yet?"
"Why the hell not?"
"One word: Unconditional."
"No such thing."
I'm still proving it to him.
As apology (I think) he allows my fingers to explore the shape of his vertebrae while I sip my beer and try not to slide off the vinyl barstool.
"You okay to drive, Cybbie?"
Why ask that of me, but not of Tekchik? We've had exactly the same amount to drink. Maybe it's because she holds the comb and my head is in her lap, rather than the reverse.
The Prince permits me to hug him, then shoves me away.
"Fine. I don't love you any more than you love me," I huff at him.
"Yeah, right," he responds, "Puh-leese."
In the chrome of the heat guard, his face, body are reflected. Who is that trustworthy man? I squint, trying to catch a glimpse of the skinny danger-eyed boy I fell for many moons ago. Do you know, I think I like this steadfast fellow even better.
Cool haze off the Susquehanna streams through the window, snakes across my skin. Breeze teases hair into tangles. Inhale sweetness of highway briar rose.
Inside the garbage scow scented tunnel, the noise is deafening. My daughter's voice, tinny and faint, rattles around in the backseat. If there are individual words, I can't hear them. She's likely complaining that the radio cut out when we dove deep beneath the bay, a concept that she doesn't actually believe.
My son's smile in the rearview mirror decorates my mind.