My father was a third generation drunk who would later express no desire to redress his ancestry. His speech deliberate, his mannerisms quirky, his intentions as stale as day old bread. My mother’s solace was found in Sunday mass, his in Friday night pool halls; her redemption: the Bible; his: a bottle of Jack. They married and built a crooked little wooden house on a lake, under an old oak tree; thus began the knot in the family tree that sprouted a crooked branch known as my family. My name is Ruthie Richard and I am one of the leaves.
Alcoholism seeped through our family like iodine through the carotid artery of my mother’s slender crepe-like neck; exposing the toxic build-up of years of silence and neglect. The waiting room was cold; the clock ticked away the seconds. A solitary roach lying prostate fought for his life on the otherwise barren floor. The operating room door swung open slamming him against the wall - a welcomed end to his suffering. I sat alone, motionless, sleep deprived staring at a bag of M&M’s that clung on for dear life, despite the likely shaking from an impatient youth, to the coil inside a snack-dispensing machine.
“Ms. Richard?” She wore nurse scrubs depicting whimsical characters dancing upon her torso; empathetic eyes and frown lines of a woman twice her age.
I wanted to pretend I didn’t hear her. The M&M bag finally came loose and hit the dispensing tray, jarring me back to reality. It was nine in the morning, but I suddenly wanted a drink. I wanted to say, “I’ll have a Belvedere martini, three olives, straight up, shaken not stirred.” Instead, I said what any normal person would say, “Yes?”
Creative Caffeine: Happy now?