I am not good at starting new paragraphs, etc. meaning I am not sure WHEN to start them...ha ha ha...so here is 'Ten Bucks', enjoy.
One year, I have been sober for one year, and to celebrate, Sheila and I are going to Aspen, a nice winter/ski resort. After we’ve settled in a bit, I plan on proposing to her. I met her on a day that could not have been worse. January 10, my dog ran away, my Mother died, and a windstorm blew a lamppost into my roof. To say the least, I’ve had better days.
A local bar down the street from my now de-roofed and dog less house is where I sat and moped, low and behold a few beers and a bottle of whiskey later, there she was, over at the pool table with some of her friends. In my drunken state I decided to go hit on her, and WOW, was I in for a shock…I succeeded, I didn’t think I would, but, I woke up the next morning at her place.
Huge was the only way I found I could describe it, a huge bed with huge pillows and a huge comforter, huge room…bigger and better then anything I could have afforded.
The smells of coffee filled the air, and trust me, I needed some after the night I had, I remembered everything though which I thought to be kinda funny considering how drunk I was. That was fifteen months ago, and I can remember it as if it were yesterday.
April thirteenth, I decided to give up my ‘wicked ways’ as she called it and I quit drinking cold turkey. At first it was kind of hard (being tax time and all.), but, I got the hang of it. Whenever I wanted a drink, I would rub this lucky rabbits foot she gave me, and think of her, it was that simple, kind of sappy really.
So, here we are, all packed and ready to go, Aspen…here we come!
The air was very brisk, and the cold filled every part of me. The sky was an odd kind of blue that I can’t recall seeing before or since. The resort was very nice, and not as expensive as one might think, thanks to an online deal I had gotten. We checked in and went to our room; little did I know Shelia had a surprise for me also.
“Steven” she said as she looked at me, looking at me as if it were the first time she had ever seen me, “I have a surprise for you.”, I smiled as I told her I had one for her as well, “Steven, we are gonna have a baby.” ,She smiled as she continued, “I am already two months along.”.
My jaw hit the ground, I was in complete shock, but, in a good way…”WOW!”, that was all I could think to say, a defining moment in anyone’s life and all I could muster was the three letter word - WOW.
“Well, uh, that’s great news.” I stuttered and I knew it, I always did when I was excited. I had to figure out how to spit this out without making an idiot of myself, “I have a surprise that kind of fits into what you just said.” (Ok, could I have sounded more foolish?), “I wanted to know if, uh, you might be interested in getting married….uh, to me??”
Shelia’s face lit up, her eyes began to swell with tears of joy as she announced that she would be more than happy to marry me.
I was not so sure she should be skiing in her condition, no, I don’t mean engaged I mean pregnant, so, she and I decided to take the day and go have brunch at the dining hall at the resort, after, she was going to go to the spa they had and have kind of a ‘Ladies Day’, well, that left me no choice but to go skiing.
The Mountain View was breathtaking, the clouds, the everything. I got my skis and headed towards the slopes.
I had skied many times in the past, and I had always enjoyed some good powder, but this time was different, I felt more energized than I had in the past.
Off of the lift, and waiting my turn, I must have had a big dumb goofy smile on my face because everyone was looking at me, maybe there was a glow about me, maybe I had a booger hanging out of my nose…I might never know…
I get set and ready and all that happy business, putting my goggles down, and I am off! The cold wind raced over and across my face as it went from being warm, to completely numb…Faster and faster, the twists and turns were like many of the other slopes I had been on before.
Everything has an exception.
As I was heading toward the end, I hit some sort of bump, perhaps a rock, and BOOM, I went flying I don’t know how far, but, I have a slight memory of flipping upside down.
And then darkness fell.
Eight months Steven was in the coma, our baby was only a month old.
In retrospect, I can’t really recall many details, only what was important to me at the time. I told him about our pregnancy, and then he proposed to me, me accepting, and then going to the spa and hearing the news.
It was nice, I was there at the spa, getting a mani-peti and an avocado facial, then after that a full on make-up makeover. I was so relaxed and then I heard all of the commotion.
One of the attendants came into the spa and told the girl painting my nails someone had crashed on one of the slopes, I had a feeling I knew who it was and I wasn’t very anxious to find out if I was right.
“Steven James” he said to her, I asked again just to be sure, and he said the same thing he said in the first place, “Steven James, why, do you know him?” it was my Steven.
I don’t think I have ever gotten dressed that fast before in my life, I went from wearing a towel to my clothes…I ran down to where they said he was and there were paramedics all around him, I told one of them that I was his Fiancée.
As they loaded him in the ambulance, I got in to ride with him, holding his hand, I can remember crying, asking him not to die, telling him how much me and the baby needed him, I think he heard me because he didn’t die; he just went into a coma.
After about four months, I was starting to give up hope, and the Doctors didn’t have much either. I would still come in every week, even though I was six months pregnant, I would read to Steven and tell him how things were going, I had read that the more you talk to someone in a coma, sometimes they can actually hear you, and come out of their coma quicker.
I would update him, I told him that we were having a boy, and I was planning on naming him Steven, Jr. - I hoped this would inspire him and make him come back to me.
Month six of his coma, my depression was in full force, the Doctors weren’t sure if it was a factor of my being pregnant or his coma or both…
No matter what it had to do with, it was there. My thoughts at night as I fell asleep were of Steven and me together, him being fine, going out to buy baby clothes with me, going to the Doctors appointments with me, all I could do was dream.
My dreams were all I had.
Month seven and I was still going to see him, still giving him updates on everything, anything I could think of to talk about, the more I talked the more I hoped I was lighting his way home, I was nine months pregnant and I wanted him to be there with me when the time came for me to give birth…I was still depressed, more so then ever, I was mourning him, even thou he wasn’t dead.
I gave birth to Steven Matthew James, Jr. on August second, at three-eighteen in the morning, as I was pushing and birthing our Son, I dreamt that he was there with me, holding my hand and petting my hair, telling me things were going to be okay, and what a great job I was doing, but, when I would open my eyes, it was only the nurse and not my Steven.
I was on bed rest for about a month, and I took Steven, Jr. to meet his comatose Dad. September first, our baby was now a month old and much to my surprise, the coma was over.
When I woke up, there she was, with a baby!
Last time I checked, she was only two months pregnant, and I was skiing, but wait, then
I fell, I crashed, and I flipped!
My arms and legs were sore, the Doctor had said that I would be this way for a while as my body got used to moving around again, I could go home in two weeks, or, as soon as my body adjusted and the Doc gave me the okay.
A little baby boy, Shelia told me he was named after me, he was everything I ever dreamed of and more. I never really had a Father of my own, and I was hoping that I would be a good Father for Jr. only time will tell.
Shelia told me what had happened, and that it was the start of September already, I was out of it for a long time, things had changed, not much, but there were small changes all around me. My baby was already a month old, and I had yet to marry Shelia, but, she had already changed her name and given Jr. my last name on the birth certificate.
Two weeks had gone by, and I was getting to know my son in those short weeks. The hospital had set up a cot and a crib so that way Shelia and the baby could stay with me, looking at him, I saw the promise of new things, new beginnings. I kept thinking to myself that this coma might have been a blessing in disguise.
I, for one, didn’t have to go thru any of the pregnancy hormones; I didn’t have to suffer the embarrassment of passing out when she gave birth, all of this was a plus, now, I had to focus on being a good Father; a good Dad and adjust to starting over.
I had an instant family.
We arrived at the house and Shelia bought me a walker to help me get from point A to point B, my legs and arms still felt a little funny, I was slowly but surely getting used to the feeling.
A new house awaited me in Denver; she sold our old house and bought this one so that way we’d be closer to the hospital, so there wouldn’t be a long way to travel.
It was nice, a little bigger than our old one, but, we had a newborn so the space was needed.
She had an intercom system installed in every room, and right in the middle of the living room, there was a big fat EZ-Boy just waiting for me in front of the huge TV she had bought in anticipation of my coming home.
I slept a lot; it seemed that a lot of the time.
I felt sluggish and cold.
It was as if I was a stranger in a strange land, and I had to get used to everything all over again, I was out for almost a year, and now, I have a son, and tivo.
The first month was kind hard for us, all three of us, her doing all the housework and taking care of the baby at the same time, she was multi-tasking and making it an art form!
I, on the other hand was making an art form of watching big screen TV, recording shows and being an arm chair critic.
The feeling in my arms and legs were coming back and soon I was gonna be in line to help with all the chores, I didn’t like that idea so much, so, I simply faked a lot of aches and pains…..That lasted for about two months.
Thanksgiving was a mess, it started out good, but as my Mother used to say, ‘The road to hell is paved with good intentions.’ Shelia’s parents came in from California, and mine had passed away quite a while ago, so, it was the Grand-Parents first face to face with Jr., of course there were a lot of presents…for him. Per the usual, they forgot all about me, what about me? I just came out of a coma; this kid just came out of the womb!
I felt a slight resentment towards my own son, can you believe it?
Dinner was served and my Father-in-law thought he would shed some words of enlightenment upon this occasion….”Family,” he started, “Is a sacred bond between Mother and son.”, this caused me to raise an eyebrow, “Mother and son have always been linked together as Father and Daughter, it is a bond that cannot be broken, so, here is to me and my Daughter, and to my Daughter and her son.”
“WAIT JUST A SECOND!” I yelled, “You think she made him by herself?
Well, lemme clue you in on something, she is the farthest thing from the Virgin Mary that I have ever seen!”
My in-laws faces were aghast, as was Shelia’s, “Hell, when I met her, she wasn’t even a back door virgin, if you catch my drift, she was some hussy in a bar!”
I kicked out my in-laws, and Shelia made me sleep in my recliner, which I didn’t mind, it isn’t like I need her for much anyways, we hadn’t had sex since I came out of my coma.
December came, and the holidays were here, our son’s first Christmas, our first Christmas as a family, kind of…her parents refused to come and visit, and I can’t say I blamed them, I wasn’t exactly the best host ever, but, I had just came out of a coma. That was my excuse and I was gonna stick to it.
Jr. was now 4 months old, his hair was a little longer and he was a lot bigger.
Alot of other things had changed, like for example, the way Shelia looked at me.
The looks she would shoot me were not the kind a Wife should give her Husband.
As we sat down to dinner one cold December night she announced she had some news to share, I wondered what it could be, after all, I knew she wasn’t pregnant, not by me anyhow...
“Steven,” she said with what I can only describe as smugness,
“I am kicking you out.”
I was in shock, “WHY????” I had asked, “You have changed into something I am not in love with, you are not the man I wanted to marry or Father my children, I want you out by tomorrow night.”
I could not believe my ears, after all that had gone on, I was only in the coma because I took her to a resort, and if she hadn’t been pregnant, then I would have never gone skiing alone, this was all her fault!
Shelia had trapped me by getting knocked-up, then, she got a nice ring and a vacation at a nice resort, spa treatment, the works, all at my expense, and she didn’t even have to deal with me, I was in a freaking’ coma!
All I could think to say was; “Why wait? How about I leave now?”
As I stood up, for the first time, my legs felt normal, my arms felt normal, my body was back to it’s old self, so to speak. I could only think about how ironic it was that here I am, back to one-hundred percent, and I was getting thrown out on the street, out of her life, and out of my son’s.
Packing and crying is all I did, my things were few because Shelia didn’t think to have my stuff sent here, she didn’t even think I was gonna come out of the coma, so she figured ‘why bother?’, to an extent I can’t say I blame her, but, if she was being truly optimistic, then she would have ordered my things and hoped.
Now, here I am, Steven James, ‘Homeless bum extraordinaire’.
I can only imagine how this Christmas was gonna go, good thing I don’t have any friends because I wouldn’t be able to show my face to them.
Some days later, I was ‘settled’ into a men’s shelter near the edge of town, where all the bums and hobos lived.
I made few friends, I took up smoking again, I can’t recall how long it had been since I’ve had one, but God did it taste good.
If only I had enough money for some booze, things might be better.
I walked alone during the day, I would go to the park, or maybe take a trip to the library or museum, besides, it didn’t cost nothin.
Things became mundane, wake up at six am, eat something that they called ‘breakfast’, get a shower, get dressed in whatever I had to cover myself with, and then off to do whatever…
Day after day, this is all I did…until one day something happened.
I was walking along one afternoon, on my way to the park, and I saw something on the ground, it was a ten dollar bill, I couldn’t believe my eyes, I hadn’t had any money for a while now, and I wasn’t even sure what I could buy with it.
Thought after thought went thru my head on what I might buy, some smokes? Some new pants at the five and dime? Maybe go get some head? I had tons of thoughts but only ten bucks to cover these thoughts with.
Holding the money in my hand, I felt the crispness of the paper, it was almost a new bill and that, in a way, made it more thrilling. I could buy some coffee, after all it was early still and kinda chilly, coffee would be just the thing.
Dan’s café was just around the corner, so, I went there with much pride and as I sat at the counter, I got my coffee, it was only seventy-five cents, but, getting the change back was an awesome experience.
I sat and slowly drank my coffee, savoring every sip; the smell of it, the color of it, everything that it was I was in love with.
I still had all this change, what was I going to do?
It came to me, almost like a vision, I had no reason to be sober anymore, so I knew just the place I was going to next.
There was a bar not to far from Dan’s that was like a hole in the wall - that was my kind of place. I didn’t know anyone who hung out there, and no one knew me.
I finished my coffee after I don’t know how many (free) refills, the waitress was kinda mad due to the fact I didn’t leave a tip, screw her !
Block by block I kept thinking of what I was gonna drink, it had been so long I wasn’t sure what they had to offer, beer was a must, so, what about the side drinks?
There were too many choices, so I think I can wait until I get there to make a decision, besides, they might have something I haven’t thought of.
The bars name was an odd one, it was called ‘The Last Chance Saloon’, to me it sounded like something out of a Bogart movie, but as long as they served booze I didn’t care what it was called.
The inside was dark and kinda smokey, the bar itself was short, the pool table was empty, and the song on the jukebox was an oldie but a goodie, I think it was ‘Everyday’ by Buddy Holly, and aside from the bartender, I think I was the only guy in there, but, it was only about three in the afternoon.
“What can I get ya?” a middle aged man with these funky sideburns asked me, he had a very large smile on his face, I asked if he had any specials, and he smiled even more…”Sure, we have the ‘Pinch me I’m dreamin’ which is vodka mixed with
mango juice and lime, we got the ‘The Homeless Bachelor’ which is mainly whiskey and whatever else you want in it, and then we have the house favorite…’The Coma’ which is a little bit of everything…..”
WOW, that was all I could think of to say, I ordered ‘The Coma’ I thought it was funny and a kitchen sink of booze was up my alley.
“What’s your name?” I asked the bartender, “Me? Junior is what they call me. My real name is Steve. What’s yours?”
‘Don’t worry about it, my name is keep em’ coming’” I said with a laugh, “I think it is kinda funny that you guys have a drink called ‘The Coma’, that’s kinda why I am here. Not to mention its kinda funny about your name, that’s mine also.” still he grinned on,
“I know all about it.…and now you do too.”
All I think to say was ‘What?”
“Come on Steven, a bar called the last chance, a drink called the coma, a bartender with the name ‘Junior’??? If I am Junior, and my real name is Steven…Haven’t you realized by now…YOU NEVER WOKE UP…..DAD.”
September first, the Doctor told me as I arrived at the hospital that Steven died in his sleep, I felt horrid and started to cry instantly because I knew he’d never meet his son, I took Jr. in with me to say goodbye to Steven’s body, and before they sealed the body bag, I noticed he had his rabbits foot in hand, and I could swear he was smiling.