“Let me tell you about the first time I ever got drunk,” I heard my father start into his oft-told story and could imagine exactly what he was doing at this very moment. I knew he was picking up his wine glass in his left hand as he leaned back into his favorite chair. Which would honestly be whatever chair would give him the biggest audience. He would stroke his beard with his right hand as he waited for his audience to settle.
“The first time I got drunk, I fell in love for the first time. The first time I fell in love was the first time I got my heart broken. Ah yes. Her name was Jezebel.” As his audience snickered, he began to get more animated. The more animated he got, the more animated those listening got. He tried to tell the story to anyone who would listen because most of the time, they would start telling their own stories and the night would turn into an evening of laughter and nostalgia.
When I was little, I would sneak downstairs during every dinner party just so I could listen to the stories everyone told. Most nights were filled with love and laughter while some were sobering. Either way, more often than not, I fell asleep on the stairs only to wake up in the morning in my bed. If it wasn’t for the cancer, my father would be here to celebrate my first legal drink.