Home is where the memories are. Moving to a new home in a new place to create new memories does not erase the old ones from the mind. They are there until they are dealt with and put to rest.
Mick Donnelly has memories. Although he has started a new life in a new place, he needs to go back to the place he called home for many years to amend some of those memories.
It has been 10 years since he has returned home.
This is the continuing story of Chasing Home.
Part 3 begins-
I was waiting in line, cover charge in hand, just plain giddy about going back into MY bar for the first time in 10 years, when I was jolted back to reality by my cell phone vibrating in my pocket.
I stepped away and back into the parking lot and took the phone out of my pocket to see who it was.
“Crap.” I said to myself. It was my boss from back home. I was supposed to call him to let him know I made it here.
I hit the answer button.
“Hey bossman, what’s up?” I said confidently.
“What’s up is I have been waiting for your call. I was getting worried….what’s all the noise in the background.” He asked.
“Well….I got into town and thought…no better time like the present to pay off that debt….”
The other end was silent for a moment before he retorted.
“So…what you meant to say was you got itchy to be at that bar. Hello? Is there anybody in there? Just nod if you can hear me…is there anyone home? You dimwit. You’ve been off that booze and crap for over 3 years and you decide it’s a good idea to go pay a bar debt at the peak hours of the evening? Bad…bad idea. You will be knee deep in shots and lines and trying to find that stripper within the hour. Please, go to the hotel and sleep off this dream of being able to go bar hopping. Start your debt reconciliation tomorrow.”
I let his scolding set in. Instead of defending my bad decision as a good choice I thought it would be better to listen to an actual voice of reason instead of the one running my brain.
“Yes sir. Thanks for the reality check. I’m leaving. Nothing good could possibly come out of this tonight.”I replied.
“No, there’s not. Focus, Mick. You are trying to do something good here…don’t fuck it up by getting fucked up. Call me if you need to.”
And he then abruptly ended the call.
I put the phone back in my pocket and reassessed my emotions.
Addiction is tricky. It wants to be my friend but is always ready to stab me in the back. I put my guard down for just a second and WHAM I was ready to head off to the races.
I came here sober. I plan to leave sober.
I quickly turn around and begin to head back to my truck.
Maybe I turned a bit too quickly…
“Oops. Sorry, I wasn’t watching where I aw going.” I said as I almost knocked someone down.
“No you weren’t you son of a….” She stood up and said as she looked me in the eyes. “…..Mick? Is..that..you?”
Those eyes. Unmistakeable. Of all the people to run into while trying to leave….why did it have to be her.
“Hey, Misty…yeah…it’s me…” I hesitantly replied.
“Well, what happened? You disappeared 10 years ago without a trace and then just show up again? You left a lot of people hanging in the balance. Some are more pissed off than me!” She frustratingly asked.
“Long story…I am only here for a couple of days then I am out. Tying up ends that don’t need to be loose anymore.”
“Well….can’t you come in a buy a girl a drink for old times sake and catch up a bit?” She asks with a tilt of the head, a smile and a bat of her lashes across those auburn eyes.
I continued to stare into those auburn eyes and thought about what was between us. We were always attracted to each other….but that was it.
Basically we gave good attraction.
She was attracted to the fact that I didn’t treat her like a stripper. I was attracted to the belief I could change her into something she wasn’t.
“Sorry, I can’t…..I don’t drink anymore and prefer to stay that way. I’m staying at the Holiday Inn down the street. If you wanna catch up, come there. But please come by yourself and no party favors.”
“Ok, party popper. I will see you soon.” She replied.
“Hey…before you go in…do you know where to find Chase?” I ask.
She paused and then answered.
“Yes. Jimmy Chase….my ‘ol running buddy…”
“Yeah…I can take you to see him tomorrow if you want. We can’t get in to see him at night….”
That kind of perplexed me.
“….just can’t. I will see you later tonight, love. I gotta go, I’m meeting someone here.” She leaned in, gave me a big hug, kissed me on the cheek and sauntered into the bar.
I got in my truck and headed straight for the hotel. No more stops tonight. No more feeble attempts at making things right.
I am beginning to realize that coming back may not have been such a great idea. This town is like a magnet for past temptations…..and I am still drawn to them like junebugs to a bright light in the darkness.
The longer I am here, the more I am prone to stay and be suffocated by my past. I need to get a good nights sleep, go see Chase and get the hell out of dodge and return to my simple uncomplicated small town existence that I have come to cherish.
I check into the hotel and get into my room. I put my stuff down, layed on the bed and glanced at the clock.
The next thing I remember was the phone on the bedside table ringing.
The time on the clock read
I groggily answer the phone.
“Mr. Donnelly….this is Marco from the front desk. I’m sorry to bother you but there is a belligerent woman down here who says she’s your wife….she says she won’t leave until she talks to you…and….she’s in pretty bad shape…..Mr. Donnelly…are you there?”
“….yeah…I’m here…tell me this…does she have aubur…never mind…do I have to come get her or can you send her up to my room?”
“I can have her escorted there if you will allow it…”
“Send her up….sorry for the disturbance and inconvenience….”
The front desk guy said no problem and within a couple of minutes there was a knock on the door.
I figured by bad shape he meant drunk and high. She was. Maybe instead of bad shape, he should have said roughed up because that was the fact of the matter.
I asked the escort guy if he could get me some ice and handed him the bucket. Then, brought her in and sat her on the bed.
When he returned I took the ice in a washcloth and placed it on her eye and then on her lip. Trying my best to be gentle.
“What happened, Misty?”
She pulled the ice pack off her lip and said,
I shook my head back and forth with a grimace and asked,
“I would have believed that 10 years ago….not now.”
“Can’t I just stay with you tonight? I will take you to see Chase tomorrow….I just need a safe place to sleep….”
I ran my hand over my bald head and thought about it as I looked into those eyes.
“Ok…but after I get to talk to Chase. I’m headed back home.”
I got her to take a shower and gave her one of my t shirts to wear and had her get into bed, where she asked,
“Are gonna get in bed with me or do I have to sleep alone.”
“I will be in bed in a minute. I just have to think some things out.”
Five minutes later, she was out cold, sleeping like a baby.
I pulled up a chair next to the bed and watched her sleep.
With each of her breathes going in and out I thought about what the past was for us and what the future might hold.
I could take her with me when I leave town……I changed….so can she. Maybe together is what we both need….
These thoughts and many plans of maybe helped me drift off to sleep while watching her.
I awoke at 9 with a bad crick in my neck. I cracked my neck and stared at the empty bed that was in front of me.
Figures. I should have known she would be gone. Hopefully she left a note to where I could find Chase.
As I gathered up clothes up go shower, the door opened and in walked Misty with a bounce and a smile.
Despite the black eye and fat lip she was still quite attractive.
“Did you know they have free breakfast? I haven’t had breakfast in a long time! I brought you a Danish and some coffee!”
I mulled over asking her to leave with me but decided to wait.
“Thanks. Are you gonna take me to see Chase? I really need to make peace with him.”
“Whenever you are ready…then so am I.”
I stopped at the desk to pay for one more night before we headed out.
As we got into the truck, Misty asked,
“We have about a 20 minute ride. You feel like telling me where you have been the last 10 years?”
If we were going to attempt to have a life together I figured she deserved to know.
“I didn’t leave voluntarily. I was leaching off the people on the only bridge that I hadn’t burnt to the ground. They were tired of watching me die and said I owed the wrong people money. One night, they came by that roach motel I was living at and said I needed to leave town and they had a ride for me. All I had to do was get in the car. I had no choice. I ended up in a different town doing the same things I was doing here. On a particularly long drug and booze binge, I got caught stealing, and happened to be carrying a large amount of bagged up and ready to sell coke. I served 7 years in prison. I got out and started over in a place where no one knew me and I didn’t know them. Been there ever since. It’s where I am going when I leave here. I wanted to know if….”
She interrupted with directions,
“Next left, through the entrance. Then drive 3 sections back, he will be 2nd row….3rd stone over….”
“He will be where?” I said as I looked up at the next left. I turned and stopped at the entrance of a cemetery.
“He’s…..dead?” I asked as tears welled up in my eyes.
“After you left….he had no one to keep him in check…he got bad quick. The cops found him in an abandoned house with a needle in his arm. It was already too late.”
I drove in and parked the truck where she said he was.
We got out.
I walked over to the headstone, knelt down and started to cry. The date on the headstone was 1 year after I left.
I tried to gather myself and say what I had to say…apologize for leaving…for abandoning him…for not knowing….I was so into my own emotions that I didn’t hear the ’64 Impala pull up. I didn’t hear the doors open and the 4 men get out.
The only thing I did hear was the hammer of the .357 Magnum being pulled back in my ear and the voice of my one time drug dealer, Victor Valdez, who plainly stated,
“Welcome back, homes….no need to cry….you’ll see him again soon enough….”
“Suffocated – our simple life
No one listens – everyone dies
Never a chance – how could you see?
I’m home – leave it to me”-Home by Sevendust
To be continued…