When I was a server at a restaurant in Athens, Ohio in the 90's I worked with some interesting folks. I think about them every time I visit a local place here that I like to lunch. My kids and I eat and I drift to the staff and watch the familial motion of a restaurant. If it's a good one it always becomes a family. Even if dysfunctional and brief.
My polio stricken boss who walked with a limp that I grew to love like a habit.
His limp was almost separate from his body and it strangely comforted me.
Or the man that bought the place from that first boss and became a ridiculously close friend of mine. Wildly older than me. Wildly inappropriate when viewed from a retrospect periscope- but real and true.
Or John, my townie musical match and weed connoisseur pal who smelled always like fresh laundry.
Or F, my tiny spinning druggie girl friend, who was so lost but at the same time effervescent and delicious and so much fun. She had a house themed in Aztec but I loved being there.
Or Stace- that ten years older woman that really knew some shit. A real intellectual. Gorgeous.
That lady who threw herself out on random nights with us-most likely reliving her youth through me. Most likely going home and feeling deflated with the reality of her hard life.
Or Lynne, the sexy British woman, the one who died right about the time I glued myself to her and wanted to know her forever. My first wander into the shitty universe that is cancer.
Or the rock star who stomped all over my wild beating heart.
He just had blinders on I think to my light. He was always drunk.
Or recently I have been thinking about C- the sexy older lady who had children with exotic names and used to be a playboy bunny in NYC and lived with Chevy Chase.
She was a flash point of dichotomy for me.
I was studying feminist theory and all I wanted to do was go back to NYC
in the late 70's and put on a tail and ears with C and eat the buildings.
Run my hands across Manhattan and define the word slut for myself.
I wanted to see what she must have seen.
It's weird how we hold all of these bits.
Or perhaps normal people don't and I am truly to be a writer because I have started to slowly salvage these bits and pieces of the folks I knew and may be filtering them through me and smashing them into small characters right now.
I just can't wonder what people will remember about me someday. It's fascinating.
I can see her reaching her long arms across the stainless steel of the kitchen and handing the mean chef her ticket. Her shoes were comfort styled and her hair was natural yet beautiful.
She would look at me and just smile.
And I knew that inside of the left corner of her grin was this whole other life.
I just knew it.