I rarely frequent Onancock anymore. There’s too many people to run into, and not the ones I want to see. Though, when friends said ‘Come to Barracudas’ I went for it. I climb the stairs to the second floor, and I’m amazed that it still looks the same as it did when it was Stella’s years ago. I was never much of a Stella’s girl, but there was a time that there was a certain fellow in my life who liked going there. It was in the later winter months. Before sitting at the bar, he would remove my coat from me and hang it on the back of the chair. And before we’d leave, he’d retrieve the jacket and hold it up for me to redress in it. I know ladies, you are all thinking ‘awwww, how sweet.’ Really it was the only charming thing he ever did. In the end, I loved his dog and she was the only reason I came around.
But it’s Barracudas now. It still possesses that soft lighting that I loved about Stellas. Just slightly brigher than your average bar lit room. I hug Piet and sit down beside him. Jeanne returns from the jukebox and squeals ’MEL!’ when she sees me. Piet begins to pout that Jeanne won’t hug him, she justifies it by saying that I’m hot and that’s why she hugs me. I give a smug glance to Piet.
I facebook Chop a sappy message: So…. drinking here in Onancock makes me miss the good ole days… LJ’s… gin + juice, scrapple at 2:00 am, and drunken rides home in the mexican magnet.
“Hey Meldawg!’ I’m approached by a voice that is somewhat familiar, but obviously from a time in my life that most details are exceedingly blurry. It warms my heart because not many people refer to me as Meldawg anymore.
It reminds me of being introduced to people here when it was Stellas.
‘Who’s your girlfriend?’
I’d extend my hand, ‘Meldawg, lovely to meet you.’
Fellow with only one good gesture and great dog would follow up. ‘She’s from Cape Charles, I got me one of those wild ass Cape Charles bitches now.’
It’s true. Us Cape Charles girls are notoriously known for being some wild ass bitches.
I shake my head at the thought of that era. If Chop had been here, that situation would have never passed go. It’s always a comfort to me that he missed that whole thing. Unfortunately, Yardley was here for that experience. There was a morning that I set out on foot. I probably walked 8 miles in below freezing weather before I finally called Yardley. My battery was dying, I barely had any reception. I could only relay my location and hoped he understood. In a short amount of time, Yardley pulled up. I got in and he said, ’We are not going to talk about this now, but we are going to talk about this. And, you are going to tell Chop about this. If you don’t, I will and you will not like what I’m going to tell him.’
I called it cold turkey after that. It was hard, somewhere along the way I had found myself feeling responsible for him. He had told me that I was his only chance in getting his life together. He needed me to help him fight his demons. And when someone puts something that big on your plate, it makes it hard to walk away. Months later, the fellow contacted me and said he’d cleaned up his life and wanted me to come back. And like a sucker, I believed him. And then I found out that it wasn’t completely true. In the wee hours, he woke up to me putting on my shoes.
‘Meldawg, what are you doing?’
‘Are you doing that gypsy thing?’
‘Will I ever see you again?’
I grabbed my keys and walked out. I could hear him calling my name until I closed the door behind me. I was done.
He told me he loved me once. Well, actually he said ‘I love you, but I’m not ready to tell you that yet. I’ll tell you one day when I’m not fucked up.’ And, as you can guess… that day never came.
This will not be a shock, that guy’s in prison now. I actually received a letter from him last year. He was sorry for every way that he hurt me. He was sorry that his life was so out of control. He missed his gypsy and wanted to see her again. Which I laughed, because if he understood the full concept of a gypsy he’d realize that there is never an ‘again.’
We move to Shuckers. I hate Shuckers, but Jeanne promises me that our coolness will make it okay. And I can’t deny Jeanne. And again, really things haven’t changed much since it was LJ’s so many years ago. You have super testosterone jerks walking around because they are so big and bad. You have your ladies who are desperate for attention and are doing ANYTHING and I mean, anything to get it. And then you still have your…
‘Mel, who’s that dude?’ Piet points to a guy at the bar.
‘Oh, he’s a creep.’
‘He was just staring you down.’
As I was saying, you still have your creeps who can’t understand why you aren’t throwing yourself at them like the desperate for attention girls.
An older gentleman with a constantly surprised look slides into the booth beside Mere. He’s chatting along, then wants to know if she has a boyfriend, which she replies yes but the man continues to talk. I look at Piet to step up to the plate and cock-block. He doesn’t get the hint. I push by him and tap the gentleman on the shoulder. He looks at me.
Mere says, ‘That’s my girlfriend.’
I grab Mere’s hand. ‘Yes, and I’m a tough as bitch, get up, out of my seat.’
He makes his apologies and moves on.
The night is winding down and so are we.
‘Mel, do you know what you could do to make me really happy?’
‘Anything Jeanne, I would do anything to make you really happy.’
‘I want you to marry my brother.’
‘Marry my brother.’
“Oh Jeanne, you do need to be cut off.’
‘Look at him, he’s gorgeous. You’re gorgeous. The two of you would have beautiful babies.’
‘Jeanne, first of all, I’m going to say that my boyfriend would frown upon me getting married to your brother. Second of all, your brother and I, we don’t really know each other.’
‘But Mel, I love you and I’ll only be happy if he marries you.’
There are things you will do for your sloshed friends when they need a little pick me up, even if it’s a wee white lie. I reach across the table and grab Chris’ hand. ‘Please just look at me, smile and nod your head. It will make your sister happy.’ He completes the task.
“Yay! You’re going to marry my brother!’ She hugs me ecstatically.
Angry voices at the door are demanding for us to leave. Arm and arm, Jeanne and I walk out so I can guide her to the proper car that will be escorting her away from here. ‘Jeanne, I have you know, I can make a fabulous bean salad these days. So if you ever need me, you call me. And I will be there in an instant with the best bean salad ever.’
She laughs. It’s so good to hear the laughter of friends. We all load up and head to our destination. As I drive home, distant memories and tonight’s good times dance in my head. And I know, it is time to start writing again.
A photo from that night, me with the incredibly fantastic Jeanne 🙂