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What Would It Take

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What Would It Take

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What would it take, I wondered, to bring me out of hibernation? Ten weeks of working, dating, writing my novel, and living my life without worrying about the instantaneous judgment of strangers.

No doubt about it, a girl could really get used to that.

I didn't even go into hiding intentionally - I was just posting less and less often, and then a few more days went by without blogging, and then a few more days, and then a few more...

In the meantime, Bonnie's modeling agency contract finally paid off, and in early February, Susan started coming around instead with Grace, a lovely Asian woman. The Coors family of products can rest confident in their place at the Bar. I haven't seen Bonnie since, and the few times I saw her in January, we managed to be civil.

Redhead took a huge leap and asked Danny out. She told me later that she'd finally thought of a good way to frame it: She asked him, hypothetically, if he could handle having a girlfriend who went out with other guys a few times a week as a wingwoman to earn a living. When he responded that he doubted it would ever come up, she asked, "Are you sure?" That was enough of a clue for him to figure out what was going on. That was the second weekend of February, after he'd been paying her for her company on a weekly basis for four months. Their first real date was on Valentine's Day, and she reported later that it was the most romantic evening she'd ever had.

I wanted to blog about it, I really did. For about five minutes, anyway. And then as usual I got busy with other things. I've been on half a dozen dates with Jenny, a very cool entertainment lawyer who writes poetry and has a beautiful black lab puppy. I like spending time with her, and it's not heavy or moving too fast or dangerous or bitter in any way. I've been working on my novel from time to time, but not nearly at the pace I'd like. At Lanie and Victor's request, I took an insurance seminar about managing bars - not because someone's leaving, but just to have me prepared as an alternate or substitute or whatever. Life, as they say, happens.

So why am I resurfacing now?

Valentine's Day wasn't a good night for just Redhead and Danny. Of all the improbable, absurd, absolutely wonderful things to happen, Will asked Samantha to marry him that night, and she said yes. She cried for nearly a half hour, I was told, while Will managed to keep the staff of the restaurant from freaking out completely. Then they danced for the rest of the evening, and argued about whether their kids would go to Michigan or Ohio State. They came into the Bar the next night to tell everybody the news, and show off her ring.

After that weekend, Samantha got sick.

Sam thought she had the flu. Will and Sam's roommate thought Sam had the flu, too. There's little about bacterial meningitis that doesn't make people who have it think they have the flu, unfortunately, and I guess timing is everything. Will was working all that next week, and although he was stopping by every night, by the time he got there that third night, she was hunched over awkwardly, barely conscious, and not responding to him. The hospital pumped her full of antibiotics, but by the time the spinal tap results came back positive, she was comatose.

Samantha died last Saturday.

I can only imagine how devastated Will is, because I haven't seen him or spoken to him yet. He accompanied Samantha's body back to Ohio for the funeral and everything else, and he's supposed to be back later today (Sunday). Maya went for the funeral and came right back, and she's worked the last few nights in a row to keep busy - in fact, she asked me for my Saturday night shift, which is why I'm sitting here at home, watching "Patriot Games" and writing in a blog I thought I might have left behind nearly two months ago. Some of you have claimed over the last couple of months in your comments that you came to care about the people in my life and what happens to them, so I thought you deserved to know what happened to Samantha.

I'm a little numb - partly because I was never Samantha's biggest fan, though it might seem callous of me to say so on this particular occasion. But it's also because I don't think her absence will change my life all that much. I wish there were some kind of deeply life-altering lesson I could take from all this, but "life is short" seems pretty useless to me. Will and Samantha couldn't have found each other any sooner than that first night they met each other in the Bar, so what good would it have done either of them to remind themselves how short life is? And I surely hope nobody would suggest that Will shouldn't have gotten involved with her in the first place, because it could have saved him the pain he's in now.

I would be deluding myself to believe that I am, every moment of every day, doing exactly what I want to do and making the most of my opportunities. But who really gets to live like that, besides people with trust funds and underdeveloped common sense? I'll take the joy I can from life and do my best not to hurt people in the process. But I can't live as if I'm racing against a clock, and I don't want to try.

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