Taking My Time With The Men I Did
Not Love Yet
I met both my father and my second husband at the karaoke bar I worked
at the summer I turned 23. This was before my first husband popped the question and before my mother started asking me when he would. And, yes, I met them on the same night, which was both wet and dusty in the way it can only be shortly after the fourth of July. But, no, none of us noticed the other until much later. These things take time.
I spent the night filling drinks and fixing speakers and wondering if my degree really qualified me for this sort of position and if I should go home for a weekend. But I kept smiling and was able to collect an above average amount of tips that night. I only left for the bathroom once when I needed to retie the space buns on my head, trying to keep with the general aesthetic of the bar and all that. Picture a NASA-inspired toddler’s room with black lights in every corner and beer on tap and you would only understand the half of it.
My second husband walked in at around 9:15 that night with the rest of the bachelor party that he belonged to at the time, most of them already swaying like they stood on the deck of a ship.
My father walked in at 11:45 with a gang of old men in Hawaiian shirts with cigars and sunglasses tucked in their breast pockets, ordering whiskeys for the table as they walked through the door.
I went about the rest of my shift, splitting checks between credit cards and rewiring microphones and searching for songs, comfortable with what I did and did not know, which was more than I knew.
I didn’t have a reason to pay any more attention to either of them than I would the other customers until one spilled his drink on my shoes and the other kept staring at me like he’d seen me somewhere before.
They both found me days later in their own mundane ways—in line at the grocery store, outside the bank—and asked me in different words, “Don’t you work at the karaoke bar downtown?”
And I replied, respectively and as respectfully as I could, “Yeah, and I think I’m your daughter,” and “Yeah, my name is Edie.”
They both said, “I’m so sorry I forgot,” and I forgave one of them, and then the other much later. These things take time.
Madison Lazenby is a recent graduate of Millbrook High School. There she was the founder of the creative writing club and the Editor-in-Chief of the school newspaper. She is also a graduate of the UVA Young Writers Workshop and has been recognized by the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, the F. Scott & Zelda Fitzgerald Museum, and Body Without Organs. She will be attending her dream school, Hamilton College, next fall. Her hidden talent is giving back massages.