Well, it took a few months but I found it. I was afraid it fell out along with my placenta; discarded with all the other afterbirths, appendixes, rotten limbs and other bloodied remnants from the floor of the hospital. Or maybe it fell into one of the hundreds (thousands?) of diapers I have wadded into tight neat balls and tossed into the overflowing diaper abyss otherwise known as a landfill. Did it get washed too many times left faded and smelling faintly of Dreft and puke? No, I just misplaced it for a bit. Fuck, give me a break I was figuring out how to be a Mother. Which I am really fucking good at by the way. And the very thing I had laid aside for a while I happened to come upon at a most unusual time, December. Yes, motherfucking shithead of a month, December. I loathe you, I despise you, I dread you like a whore dreads a herpes outbreak. Here it was and I greeted it with two middle fingers and it said “Fuck you too bitch, now go make some goddamn Christmas cards and bake some cookies.” I obliged with spray paint, glitter and sugar sprinkles. Thank you December. The paint, scissors and glue have not been put away for over a week and I have made some very interesting cards this year.
My self, it’s still here, intact and stronger than ever.
I was raised on a soundtrack of Tom Waits, The Rolling Stones and Janis Joplin. I still listen to Tom Waits on a daily basis. The Stones are fine but I have heard enough and definitely seen enough. My Mother has always devoted one room of her house to The Rolling Stones, her “Mick room”, seriously. And every year on Mick’s birthday she would throw a full on fucking birthday party for him, cake and all. (Mescaline is dangerous shit kids, for real.) Janis is great for a hard cry after a bottle of bourbon but not recommended for every day use. Tom on the other hand is perfect for any occasion, any day and every hour.
I am pretty sure that as a child the music of Tom Waits helped create an entire section of my brain. Molded my imagination into twisted caverns of weirdness. Expanded my vocabulary from pasties and a g-string to your champagne laugh and the vulture in the fleetwood with the knuckles of a skinny bone tree beneath a bloodshot moon in that burgundy sky.
One of my most treasured memories is that of my Father singing “Nobody” to me. I felt as though the song was written for that sole purpose. I have yet to listen that song in its entirety since my Father’s passing.
The fact that I ended up spending over a decade pouring coffee and collecting my meager tips for serving sausage and eggs should never have been a surprise to either my Father or me. I became every coffee shop waitress Tom Waits ever sang about. I leaned on counters catching lonely eyes and swept the hair from my face counting my nickels and dimes. I broke more hearts than plates and I never meant to do either. I wore gaudy jewelry and joked with the fry cook. I smoked a pack a day and got drunk on the moon. All the while Tom crooned in the background, a familiar voice, a voice I sometimes mistake for my that of my Fathers.