• Bridge Ladies

    Bridge Ladies Sometimes I think a meteor could strike the earth and wipe out mankind with the exception of my mother’s Bridge club — Roz, Bea, Bette, Rhoda, and Jackie — five Jewish octogenarians who continue to gather for lunch and Bridge on Mondays as they have for over fifty years. When I set out to learn about the women behind the matching outfits and accessories, I never expected to fall in love with them. This is the story of the ladies, their game, and most of all the ragged path that led me back to my mother.
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The Hardest Part Is Letting Go of Your Dreams

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 I should go back into therapy. Did I take my meds?  What’s that car doing? My charger! No, I don’t give the dog too many treats. A couple making love in the pool. My mother drinking milk from a carton. Howard Greenberg’s blonde hair. When people go in for a handshake and you shame them into a hug. Time not flying by. Time going backwards. Tire pressure. Eye doctor. Why do I resent the people who love me? Does anyone love me? Do I love anyone? Have to get off FB. Need a haircut. Hair! No more bread, pasta, sugar, life. I am my father. I miss my father. I miss Dante. I miss myself. Alex Baldwin. What am I going to get my best friend for her birthday? I have no time to read! The gym! When I snubbed Susie Nankin in the second grade. When I punched Spider in the stomach playing Hearts. When I spun around so fast on a stool, age 8, that the force threw me off and my hot little body crashed into a wall and I collapsed on the sticky floor at the Farm Shop in front of a line of people waiting to pay.

What keeps you up at night?

14 Responses

  1. I love you, Betsy.

  2. “What keeps you up at night?”

    Money. Death. The people I hurt along the way.

  3. Last night it was the rich man’s freeze alarm robo service calling at 1:51 AM. The first call woke my daughter. She came into our room and stood over her mother, speaking softly and directly until my wife woke up, startled. That woke me up. The problem with these calls is you can’t cancel them out or acknowledge them via the answering machine; it has to be “live.” So I tried to sleep with the phone next to me, attempting to drift into slumber with as little success as two old coots minus a bottle of hooch on a chilly night in the hobo jungle. Another call came and I somehow slept through it and maybe another one, but the one at 4:51 woke me up and I entered the code followed by the # sign. I was mad because I woke up before my alarm was set to go off at 5:02. I took the dog out, listening to the trees pop and looking up at the early morning full moon in a cold, clear sky. The thermometer said it was 20 degrees (F) below zero.

  4. There was a span of time, several years ago, when each night I feared that gauzy moment before sleep finally took over my consciousness. A sensation of dread accompanied my unreasonable, yet accepted, understanding that there, in the darkness, was a non-living presence watching me. Often, a terrible image of a snarling face would flash just as I closed my eyes. If this was a haunting, then some one from the Other World was quite interested in me and I genuinely feared that interest. Thankfully, the Muses finally gave me an idea: each night I imagined my room encircled by departed friends, beloved family members and pets. Within a few days, that spectral nightmare ended. But occasionally, in the morning, I will still catch a faint whiff of my late grandmother’s perfume.

  5. Why has my long-haired dachshund, Hairy Truman, taken a sudden dislike to sleeping on my bed in favor of the sofa? Why does he sit out there until 2 or 3 in the morning before finally joining me in slumber, the silly twit?

    Why don’t I remember falling asleep or waking up? Where do “I” go when I lose consciousness? Why should I fear death when every night I am completely lost to the world and don’t exist except in odd snatches of dreams?

    Did I accomplish anything today? What am I going to do tomorrow?

    Why does the sociopathic best friend I had from age 10 to age 30 regularly turn up as a sidekick in my dreams despite the fact I’ve not seen her in over three decades???? Can I get a new sidekick, pretty please?????

    Also, many of my recent dreams involve being a contestant on the Great Brit Baking show. I’ve been doing very well on it, too–last night I got raves over my chocolate-cinnamon-vanilla buttercream bar cookies. Nice!

  6. Light.

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

  7. As an only child I learned pretty early on that in the middle of the night if I do not talk to myself inside my own head, mostly what I will hear is quiet. After a stressful day now, I just listen to the rise and fall of my own breath until I am asleep…

  8. Too many word-fish swimming in the bowl I call my mind.

  9. Just realized I haven’t been getting notifications of postings. Now THAT will keep me up tonight.

  10. last night i dreamt i was at a large party, and i was rolling weed all night long. there was an enormous amount of weed. there was a dramatic fight and a chase through a parking lot. i woke up to 3am thoughts (am i having a heart attack? what is a heart attack, exactly? if not a heart attack, how about an aneurysm?) and although i eventually returned to sleep. the dream continued. there was a romantic assignation with an unknown man. then i walked home, alone, carrying a big joint.

    i have no fucking idea what that was about.

  11. The blurted comment about his ass at my first Manhattan party, how it made me something worse than a boor or a pig: a rube. My casual kvetch about Julie Parmenter throwing up on our date, and her moan from the back seat, her shame. The crack of his collarbone on the bar room floor, under my fist, a fist that should have descended on Dad. The cold cement of the cell, beneath my drool. tears, and blood; the dead look on the old guard’s face, when I begged him to save me, take me out of there. The icy water of the glacial lake, how I still feel that chest-crushing cold, and somehow I never quite finished falling from the high rock, too. The blue is below me, still, the sfumato of ice from the razor-edge peak above is still sparkling in the last of the high coulee light—and I float, I live, still in the giddy, delicious, delightful moment of terror just before the cut-throat trout scatter in the lake below me as i plunge.

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