Misery and my whiskey..
Misery and the whiskey…
I returned from the war in 1997 and I tried to find peace in the Long Island ice teas in the Belton Texas dance hall. I went early and I knew. Happy hours from six to nine pm. I got there early and at seven pm. My favorite one-handed bartender name Pete was working. I ordered the Long Island ice teas and he told me. Please Johnnie drink less, maybe you can dance more.
I felt a gentle hand on my shoulder and I turned. Pretty Sally was holding me tightly and she whispered. Where you been Johnnie? I turned to her, I saw her pretty face and I told her. You know Sally. Just playing soldier.
She told me. Me and Amanda was worried for you. You didn’t write to us in two months. I called your unit and a old soldier told us. You were alive, just being Johnnie and you lost your grandfather. We prayed for you. Poor Amanda cried for you every night.
I told her. I appreciate your letters. Every letter reminded me, I wasn’t forgotten. She told me. Johnnie, me and Amanda, we never forgot you. We pray, you didn’t die and we loved you.
I saw Amanda with tears in her eyes and she came to me. She gave me many kisses on my face and she told me. Johnnie, why didn’t you call me and mama? I told her. I didn’t want to lay a heavy sadness upon you. Better to suffer alone. Amanda told me. Mama loved you and I love you. You are been a gentlemen with me and my mama, we love you. Mama didn’t want love no-more more and she told me. You never tried to take you. You just whispered love words to her.
I told her. I remembered the first night I met you. You asked me to dance. I danced with you. You were so pretty and I asked you. What college do you go to? You told me. I don’t go to college. I am thirteen. I pushed you away and I asked you. What are you doing here? You told me. In Texas, with parent. We can go to the dance halls. I remember you took me to your beautiful mother and introduced us, and I fell in love with her.
Amanda looked sad and she asked. I wrote every week to you and you promised me some fancy gifts. I told her. I have the gifts in the truck and I am thankful for you and your mama. She whispered. We don’t need fancy gifts. We want you in Texas with us. We need you alive and well.
I kissed Amanda forehead and I told her. You kept me alive, You and your kind mama. I will go to my truck and I will return with some gifts. I came back and I called Pete, the bartender to me. I gave him a ring with two hands, holding together. I told him. Kindness, we need. He came around the bar and he kissed my forehead. He told me. Thank you.
I gave Amanda and her mama, some rings and some necklaces. I put the necklace on Sally and her daughter neck and I kissed Sally neck. She turned to me and she told me. I wrote two letters a week to you and you promised love for me. Were you words true?
I asked her. Do you want a soldier’s love. Maybe soldier’s can’t tell the truth from a lie? She looked deeply into my eyes and she whispered. I have known you for three year. You are kind, you are safe and we shared a bed and you demanded nothing. I was willing and you wanted kisses and embrace. I knew you loved me and you wanted more. I remember you told me. I was the kindest and sweetest woman, I ever knew. Someday we would get marry and make many babies.
I told her. Tonight we dance and thank you dear Sally. You and your kind daughter gave reasons for a soldier to come home.