I just buy 'em a house
Sitting outside the courthouse waiting to go in to finalize my divorce,
Tom Petty's "Yer so bad" came on the radio, bringing a small smile to my
face as I listened to the words while I screwed up my courage. With the
last strains of the song playing, I squared my shoulders and prepared
for my day in court.
A divorce is never easy. It's harder if you are 21 years old and
escaping an abusive husband. Having to stand up in a room full of
strangers and forced to speak words you never wanted to be known, to
justify the ending of a marriage that had lasted less than three years.
Mercifully, my soon to be ex-husband was not there and after only a
brief consultation, I was granted my freedom by the courts.
Walking from the courtroom my mother turned to me and said, "I need a
drink." and I couldn't have agreed more.
My mother chose a bar near the river that had once been a favorite
drinking spot of hers years ago. It was an older one that had been
around for years, dim even with the morning light shining brightly
outside its windows. A smoky haven for the dedicated drinkers, third
shift workers, and us.
Looking completely out of place in this seedy establishment, silent eyes
watched over half empty glasses, following our progress as we bellied up
to the bar. Dismissing their unspoken disapproval at our intrusion into
their world, my mother waved over the bartender and ordered.
Taking our drinks in hand, my mother turned to me and raising hers in a
half salute, which I returned. Tasting the alcohol, with its slow,
familiar burn as it went down, gradually beginning to ease the fears
that I had been holding in all morning. It was over, finally and
Staring down into my now almost empty glass, I sighed as I watched the
ice clink down in its newly uncovered state. As if drawn to that soft
sound, the bartender returned, "Another?" He inquired.
With an affirmative nod from both of us, we began round two.
By our third round, a warm camaraderie had begun to envelop me and my
mother as the bar accepted us as one of their own.
One gentleman at the end of the bar had been telling stories to the
amusement of those around him since we had walked in. He wasn't too
particular who his audience was, directing them at anyone who happened
to be looking his way. Even our entrance had barely caused him to pause
between stories. After a while though, our clothes and somber, if
sloshed, demeanor attracted his attention.
"So," he began, "what brings the two of here to this fine establishment
so early in the day?"
"Divorce." my mother answered.
"Ah," giving a vague wave at nothing, "condolences."
"No, no," my Mother said, pointing at me, "my daughter's, not mine."
"I'm going to guess your first then?" Nodding, I agreed. "Don't let it
get to you." Giving me a wink as he said it.
I shrugged, not sure what to say or how to express the equal parts
devastation and delight I was experiencing. The alcohol had been slowly
chipping away at the hard ball of tension that had settled in my stomach
before going into court. And as my tension had diminished, I found
myself beginning to smile at the random comments and conversation going
on around me.
Moving down to sit closer to us, he and my mother began exchanging
stories, laughing as they did so. Looking over at me on occasion as they
swapped stories, and buying each other rounds, they continued to talk. I
had little to say, but enjoyed the feeling of being included while I
drank whatever was put before me.
Eventually, the stories shifted over to talk of relationships, generally
broken ones, were exchanged between the two of them, with random
interjections by those sitting nearby. Happily married people aren't
known for early day drinking in a bar, or if they are, they don't stay
happily married for long.
Once more smiling at me, the happy storyteller said, "I'll tell you the
secret of my happiness."
"Okay," I agreed, willing to listen to whatever improbable tale he had
"I've been married three times," looking me straight in the eye, holding
up three fingers above his head, then slapped the bar with his hand for
emphasis, "and it was getting damned expensive!"
"I can imagine so." Completely agreeing with him.
"So now, whenever I get that marrying urge again, I start looking around
the bar for someone completely wrong for me and I just buy 'em a house!"
I started to laugh, "No, no..." waving both of his hands in front of me,
"it's a perfect solution, I end up in exactly the same position I would
have, without all that drama of the in between parts, leaving me the
time to sit miserably happy in the bar without interruption."
Giving me a wicked grin, he patted the barstool beside him and said,
"So, what kind of house would you like, dear lady?"
Shaking my head at his offer, but giving him the first truly genuine
laugh I had had in almost three years, I said, "A nice one."
I hope you enjoyed this small preview of Wine Comes in Six-Packs and
hope you will continue to follow my misadventures in living.
Excerpted from "Wine Comes in Six-Packs" by Lisa Orban. Copyright © 2017 by Lisa Orban. Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. Excerpts are provided solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.