My grandfather used to get my grandmother drunk so she would laugh and smile. "They drank every weekend," my aunt once told my mother. "I thought they were alcoholics." Dancing. Cigarette smoke hanging heavily upon the air. One drink after another. My grandmother and grandfather would sit down at the little honky tonk on Lee's Crossing every Saturday night. "Here, drink another margarita," I can picture my grandfather telling my grandmother. This is the same grandmother I spoke of yesterday.
I remember my grandmother's laugh, but it was rare. It was such an oddity that I can remember one distinct time from my childhood. I was in the backyard playing in the sprinkler with my grandmother's dog, Missy. I slipped and fell in the wet grass and Missy ran over to lick my face. My grandmother burst out laughing and it embarrassed me. I stood up and brushed off errant blades of grass as I sheepishly escaped inside to dry off and change my clothes. It would be years before she would laugh again and I should have savored the moment.
People are strange. I have my own idiosyncrasies as well. The only time I could be sociable was to have some drinks as well. I called it liquid courage. I met quite a few girlfriends drunk at parties that I would have never attended without being blitzed. I remember Laurie. A torrid love affair. I told her she was the most beautiful girl I have ever seen the moment I saw her. She giggled and blushed from the attention. "You live over in Lund hall?" she asked. We escaped back to my dorm room to make love the first night we ever met. Normally, I would have been nervous as hell, but I was filled with liquid courage and made love with abandon--like some wild Don Juan. I didn't even know her last name. We woke up in my bed the next morning and I noted that she didn't look near as pretty as she did the previous night when I was imbibing. I still fell in love though.
My most vivid memory of my grandmother growing up was the wonderful meals she would cook and then she would get on to you for eating too much. She was thin obsessed. Shallow. "You are going to be fat as a pig," she would tell me if I tried to get seconds at any meal. It forever scarred me to this day. I would later grow very thin in my youth with the help of bulimia and she would encourage me. "Only lazy people are fat," she would say. I found a way to be lazy and could still eat everything I wanted. Many hours were spent bent over the bowl of a toilet upchucking. My grandmother's shallowness was a blight that marred my character as well. A family curse. I still struggle with my self image and food to this day.