A one night stand? Could that really happen?
Last night I was in a bar, watching the bartender pour drinks while I held some sweet concoction in my hand. I turned to the sound of a male voice and recognized him from earlier. Slender, dressed in light blue, gray hair curling down his neck, a scruffy gray stubble. In his hand was a leash attached to the collar of a beautiful dog.
“Do you mind if I bring my dog,” he asked.
“No,” I said, without thinking. I wanted to take this man home, dog or no dog.
Then reality interrupted. “I have a son,” I told him. “He sleeps in the living room.” I tried to picture taking him upstairs to my room. “I sleep with two dogs. They probably won’t get along with your dog. And the cats will either be terrified or attack your poor animal.”
The beautiful man in my dreams drifted away.
I often wonder what my life would have been like if I always lived near my parents, made choices with them in mind, and always went to them when I needed help. I doubt I’d be the woman I am today.
Times were different as a new adult in the sixties, but not as different as you’d think. The economy wasn’t great, drugs were easily accessible, the job market uneasy. If I depended on my parents, I would never have been a dancer, or had six great loves, lived in six different states, and had all the adventures a writer needed for future plots. I learned to be self-sufficient. I learned what it meant to be me.
I explored. I had great pain and great joy. I never looked back, always forward. Mostly I was intent on survival. Think what would happen today if you went to a new city with only ten dollars in your pocket. No parents around to beg money from. Suppose you also had a child to support. If you’re lucky, you had someone who took you in until you could get a job to make you completely self-sufficient. Maybe one job wouldn’t be enough.Two or three might do. You wouldn’t take advantage of another person’s generosity, no matter what the temptation. The goal is to be independent and not have to rely on anyone but yourself.
It’s easy to blame the economy, the government, society, corporations. I never had time to blame anyone but myself if I strayed on a rose colored path. I never had time to do anything but survive and live with total abandon, look for the open door, listen for knock of opportunity, and pick myself up when I fell.
Would I have had the life I had if I’d stayed at home with family, knowing they would be watching everything I did? On the other hand, I love my children, love having them live close to me. Yet, sometimes I wonder how different their lives might have been.