The sun sank low dancing in the window as I sat in last night's A.A. meeting. I watched oblivious to the internal goings-on as several black children played in the field across the street through the window. It was an open meeting with anything goes as the topic. I smiled as the little elderly cat lady talked about her cats. William, an always quiet and steadfastly silent man, then spoke up surprising me – his dirty and calloused mechanic's hands shaking from nervousness. He is such an awkward fellow reminding me of my own social anxieties.
"I've been a year without a drink and I still struggle," he said with his head hung low as he sat his coffee on the table to keep from spilling it.
"Alcoholism is a lifelong disease," Phillip, the wise patriarch, chimed in. "It will get easier. Just keep coming back and keep working the steps."
Wanda sat next to me drinking her own coffee. She had on the most wonderful perfume that teased my senses and her nurse's scrubs. Despite her advancing age, I noticed she is still a beautiful and alluring woman. I quickly looked away before she could catch me staring at her. I have always been enamored with older women shunning the younger models.
The meeting ended and I put a five dollar bill in the donation basket as it passed keeping in mind that I would have easily spent that on beer during my drinking days. Wanda walked up behind me and put her arm around my shoulder pulling me close.
"I hear you gave up on your support meeting," she said.
"I know," I replied. "I feel like a failure."
"Well, I think you are amazing just for trying to start something so hard," she said. "It took years for A.A. to take hold and get going."
Her saying that made me feel better. I seem to be able to start things, but have a terrible time finishing them. It is the story of my life. I gave Wanda another hug and quietly slipped out the backdoor to walk home. A cacophony of katydids greeted me in the humid summer air. Memories of my Memaw and nights spent on her porch drinking sweet iced tea and listening to said katydids came to mind. I realized that the here and now is what is important as you will never get a moment again. It is not about starting or finishing something. It is about living in the moment for tomorrow may never come. It took me 35 years to learn and realize that.
"Everything is going to be okay," I said to myself as I passed through the mill village and into the old part of downtown.
Everything is going to be okay…