On New Years Eve, I saw a dear friend of mine that I hadn’t seen in 15+ years.
It happened in a most innocuous way.
After I got done playing the first set (I’m a musician, if you didn’t know),
the band took a break and I went to talk to the soundman to tell him I needed more of my keyboards in my monitor.
I turned to look for Pamela when a woman walked up to me and asked,
“Do you guys know ‘Walking in Memphis’?”
I told her we hadn’t done the song in well over a year and didn’t think we could pull it off.
She looked at me in a strange way and said,
“Michael? It’s Sue.”
My jaw dropped to the floor and I threw my arms around her in a 20 second ‘God, I’ve missed you’ hug.
Sue was a bartender at a club I played on a regular basis way back when.
It was a time when bands played real music and DJ’s royally sucked, like they still do.
Yeah, I’m still slightly bitter.
She was always insulted when we tried to actually pay for a drink, outraged if you tried to tip her. Sue will forever be my favorite bartender, not because of the gratis booze but because of the woman behind the apron.
Back then, Sue felt it was her job to see I always had a sufficient blood to Remy Martin ratio coursing through my veins.
That way, she knew I would play any song she asked for, no matter my condition was.
( I am stretching this a bit, bear with me)
On the nights she would be successful in the mixology department, she would affectionately call me ‘Puddles’, her pet name for a very sloshed Michael.
Oh, God the memories…
I found my wife and the three of us had a reunion of sorts.
Sue asked about Sarah and she freaked out when we told her she was 20 years old and a sophomore (2nd semester) in college (studying to be an M.D., nonetheless)
She didn’t know about my other two (or did she?)
Way back when, I mainly worked with the band and was a doting Mr. Mom during the day, a task I still dearly miss.
Me and the baby, baby and me, it was what I did—and I loved it.
The band I was in at the time was what you would call an ‘electronic’ band, meaning sequencers and drum machines.
Someone had to tell these computers what to do, so I would bundle up Sarah and take her to the club before it opened so I could program a few new tunes in peace.
One day Sue was there readying the place for business.
She felt bad that Sarah was being ignored and asked if she could hold her.
I said yes, and she picked Sas up and proceeded to go about her daily routine with a baby happily on her arm.
I would look up now and then and see Sue carting Sarah around and think how natural she looked holding a baby… even if she was walking around a hotel bar.
Might get weird when someday Sarah strangely calls to mind a drink recipe for a Purple Hooter, a drink she’s never had…. (*insert Twilight Zone music here)
Sarah was so lucky to be held by someone like Sue, someone I trusted implicitly, loved like a sister and never wanted to lose contact with.
Sadly, I did.
Life happens and we have to deal with it.
Shit does happen.
I like to think that she forgives me because her hug said it all.
Love ya, Sue.
Dinner, very soon, yes?