This one time while my mom was a bartender, she served drinks to Lou Gossett Jr., another time she served Bill Murray.
This one time my mom and I camped in the Black Hills, just a little out of the way. We pitched a tent and turned on a battery powered radio. She taught me how to Texas Two Step on the dirt road, and Boozer, her giant dog, danced along.
This one time I asked my mother if it was possible she was an alcoholic and she answered, “No.” Because, “Alcoholics have to drink at the same time every day. I can drink any time.” And she meant it.
This one time I sat biting my lip in the doctor’s office as my mother explained to him the cause for the cancer in her throat was because her tonsil had not been completely removed when she was a child. (Not, in fact, because of a lifetime of excessive drinking and smoking.)
This one time I conceded, cancer is a fucking car wreck. She lost her voice, for a while. When it came back, she didn’t come with it.
This one time I was angry at my mom for who she was. Now I’m angry she’s no longer herself. Cancer was a car wreck and Alzheimer’s sucks. This one time is now repeated, and shifted, and confused, and foggy, and real. My weaknesses are exemplified, my patience strained.
This one time I was angry when my mom lied. But she always seemed to believe the lies herself, the truth was muddy and mixed in. Now she lives it every day and this time, we’re caught, over and over we repeat.
This one time, I never knew I could long for “this one time,” again.