• Bridge Ladies

    Bridge Ladies When I set out to learn about my mother's bridge club, the Jewish octogenarians behind the matching outfits and accessories, I never expected to fall in love with them. This is the story of the ladies, their game, their gen, and the ragged path that led me back to my mother.
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I Couldn’t Believe After All These Years You Didn’t Know Me Any Better Than That



Please forgive me. I’ve been staring too hard at a person I’ve hated my whole life. I’ve been enjoying the sickness that comes with thinking your work might be good. I’ve asked the gods to watch me fold your shirts, smooth the collars, collect the lint into my fat fist. I’ve had blackened fish and gin and tonics with the juice of eleven limes. Please forgive me I forgot all about you, forgot about myself, put on a Broadway show and handed out the programs. Yes, I see floaters. Yes, I can’t sleep. Yes, I always hold the door open even when no one is there.

If you’re still there, please catch me up.

31 Responses

  1. I’ve been eating almond M&Ms and staring at Twitter the entire time you were gone.

  2. I have no news to offer only that this is my favourite one yet. Enjoy the sickness…

  3. I searched for you in the morning. Coffee wasn’t the same. I wondered if I’d offended, or if one of us had. So glad you’re back in town. Forgiveness isn’t necessary. Hope you’ll stay awhile.

    P.S. I also see floaters and can’t sleep.

  4. Holidaying years ago in a third world country, I saw floaters as I swam in the ocean. But these were a different sort of floater, the sort you get when you pump raw sewage into the ocean. Which reminds me of Amazon somehow — not the river, the greed-thing, which gets ever-fuckeder. Ever-fuckederer even.

    It’s always good when you come back, Betsy Lerner. Betsy Lernerer-Teacherer-Inspirerer. You are a thing (a thing?!?!?) that balances out Amazon’s ever fuckedererness.

    Last night I sat under stars with my brother, smoke and reminiscence making our eyes water almost-not reall, well, maybe — and I realised that a fire anywhere else doesn’t smell the way it does in this part of Australia. Life isn’t always good, but it’s perfect, I guess, when you average it all out, and remember to make allowances for things that are not so important.

  5. Damn, I’ve missed you, Betsy. Earlier today I nosed around your site, trying to figure out how to contact you directly, because I was starting to worry. I am so glad that you are back, and that you are you.

    My old dog, Beauregardless is gone, and my days are full of holes. That guy traveled from Key West to Salt Lake City, and had friends from all over. He made life better, and I miss him.

    I’ve been puppy sitting for a hot biker chick, but I’m to damned old for a puppy. Gearing up for a six day trip down the Suwanee River in a 12 foot boat. Just submitted column number 82 to Small Craft Advisor.

  6. Still here. Glad you are too.

  7. Today is a good day, you’re here and it’s Friday too. Life is good. I just wish I could be more inspired, more deliberate than pissed off.

  8. She’s aliiiiive!

  9. Bit by bit, like an inch-worm working on a mile, the days get a bit better. I’ve started a new project which is moving at the same speed. Maybe that’s a good thing.

    Glad you’re back! Although, it’s good to forget sometimes.

  10. I hired a professional editor who saw things in my book I only dreamed of. She probably didn’t end any of her sentences with a preposition either. It’s back to the fucking drawing board for the millionth fucking time. I am happy and grim and sleep too much.

  11. Hey, Betsy. We’re here, as you see.

    Sometimes I see you on the Book of Faces, so I know you’re still out there.

    It’s been cold and cloudy here in Chicago. I don’t really hate Chicago, but I don’t really like it, either. It’s just a place to be. It’s good to be, so far. Someday I’ll stop being, and that will be that. I’m saving it for last. Meanwhile, I write on. I’ve long maintained that home is anyplace where I can write. So I’m always home.

    Writing’s a bitch, and seeking publication’s a self-flagellation, but we’re all writers here and we know these things, so enough of that. I write on.

    The news — gah! All the politicians making crazy sounds, all the dead bodies piling up in mounds. The human comedy, in the hell that humans make on earth. Who says you have to die to go to hell? It’s right around the corner. The girl who played hooky from school to go swim in the lake, and drowned (that wasn’t around the corner, that was across the street). The boy who was hanging out at the gas station convenience store in the middle of the night when he should have been home in bed and was gunned down (that was around the corner and a short block west). The man and woman who were heading for the train station to go to dinner with friends and were caught in a volley from gangsters’ guns. They weren’t the targets but bullets don’t check IDs, and the woman dropped to the pavement with bullets in her head and neck, dead, her husband, who was spared (?), beside her. That happened a little ways south of here, near the grocery store where Susan goes to shop. The woman was a teacher at a private school. Her students learned a lesson she couldn’t have wanted them to learn.

    I see floaters, too. I can’t sleep, either. No one’s ever there. I’m here. Everywhere I go, I’m here.

    Morning is broken. Get out the whisk broom and dust pan and clean it up. There’s work to be done. Dollars to be garnered. Stories to be written, to be lived.

    • NY pizza is way better than Chicago pizza, no matter what they tell you in the Windy City. Walk carefully. Peace.

  12. it’s like i done gone to church this morning reading all these loving, smart, clever responses–the kind of church where no one talks about god or jesus or sinhelfiredamnation and just loves life into each other, and you. you are loved here. i feel loved here. i’m glad you came back. as they say in all those anonymous groups: keep coming back; it works if you work it. xo

  13. Some things have changed — there’s ice on the still bays, snow dust on the ground and a song in my heart. I don’t know if that song is happy or sad, but it’s playing all the same, plucking out the tune on the strings of my soul. Are we still allowed to have souls?

    Other things remain the same. Men are perverts and the Trump Administration (and politics in general) still reeks of slime — I swear and declare, it’s like a Marx Bros. movie minus the comedy.

    Thanksgiving is coming. It may be my father’s last. My mother-in-law hit her home health aide earlier this week. She was once a kind, gentle woman but she’s been robbed of that and may have to live out her days away from family, half the time wondering where everyone has gone.

    This morning the wind was blowing hard and snow stung my face.

  14. I can’t sleep either. I am troubled. I appear to be troubling to others. I drink too much, though not THAT MUCH TOO MUCH, I hasten to add. I need less money, fewer homes, discipline.

  15. Welcome back. Lures? Is it you casting out, or is it you being brought to the surface?

    I finished my first semester of American Sign Language which means that I had to do a short presentation in front of the class for the final exam. Most people did a little autobiography: their name, where they live, their favorite color. One woman did Little Red Riding Hood, one did Eensy Weensy Spider. They all killed. I did a Beatle song, Fool on the Hill. There were not many Beatle fans in the audience.

  16. I’ve been off grid & self-isolating, too, trying to get some writing done even as evil seems to be stalking the world. Glad you surfaced, Betsy. You make the world a better place, what with your snark & sass etc. Still, going quiet is good, too.

  17. Missed you. I’ve been thinking so hard about writing.

  18. It’s all good; glad you’re back.

    Sent from my iPhone


  19. Looooong deeeeep sigh. We’re all here. Somedays peanuts, somedays shells. Today is a nut day.

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