It’s Always Night-Time in Times Square

In my head Times Square exists in perpetual night. It doesn’t exist otherwise. It just springs into life at 9pm, with its lights and its hurry, and it’s bustle, the faces and the scenes and the dingy cafes and tourist scene hustle. Many years ago, I met Billy there, he was carrying a guitar, I was carrying myself, we stopped and talked and shared a slice of pizza and a fragment of life. He wanted to tell me the good news, that Jesus loved me. I could hardly take him seriously in his drunken, meth’d out state: if this Jesus was anyone at all why would he send me this torn and shattered man to drag me kicking and screaming into the light? I fell for it – his promises that I needed to hear, his reassurances that this wasn’t the end, that I was loved, that I had an eternal father and redemption through his Son. Now I am not so sure. I think I just pissed everyone off for nothing, all my earnest church going, and my holding onto the comfort, a sham. No, now I am not so sure at all, and it sure is scary out here alone and responsible for my sin, me alone, and no one to answer to, no one to forgive me or redeem me, except myself. I feel cut adrift. Lost.

Tonight Billy, at the other end of life, is in a hospital bed, rushed in, the strokes, the alcoholism, the drugs, the partying, the nihilism, he is not going to be able to leave this time, not capable of walking out of there. Medical people are warning me it is serious. That this isn’t a time for me to let myself rage at him if I care about him, and I am the only person he cares to talk to, and to be frank the only person that cares to talk to him. He got onto the other end of the phone, giving me as his emergency contact, and said to me, “I don’t want to die alone.” And I don’t have the heart to let that happen, yet I cannot be there in person. I told him when he dies, I don’t think God is going to be angry with him. Worse. I don’t think there will be anything at all.

I keep expecting him to push through it, to survive it, to drag his sorry self, his brain tumor and his little-boy smile to San Francisco, meeting me by the Wharf for a coffee or at least an apology. He kept threatening to die on me, these last six months, and now it is me who isn’t ready to let go of my oldest friend. All I wanted was for him to take responsibility, to accept that we can only ever be friends, and to move forward for what is left of this world. I am asking too much of my old man, he was broken too long ago.

Alcohol can take you there, says Marianne Faithful, take a shot a minute and be there by the hour…but this isn’t nineteen ahem…whatever, and he isn’t even middle aged any longer, and there are no tickets left for the show.

Goodnight….I hope you have a good night.


    1. The Paltry Sum

      Jackie, it is immensely kind of you to take the time to pay me a compliment – I never know how to take a compliment well! 🌺 It’s my goal as I get older, to try and tell people who haven’t been there, that they expect too much of victims. They expect us to be good witnesses in court, to be sober, despite being tortured for years and suffering horrendous ptsd, they expect us not to have mental health issues – not to be open walking wounds, and if we show signs of damage, people have a tendency then to blame the victim for the abuse. I am not a “good victim,” nor should I have to be. I have done my best and it is the job of the world around victims of male violence to support and heal and show kindness. Big hugs back to you! You are such a strong woman, and I always enjoy reading your posts and chatting with you. Have a lovely day. TPS

      1. The Paltry Sum

        As honest as Im trying to be Jackie, I never once expected such a comment! To be frank I am braced for some serious judgement coming my way. You made my day. You too, darling. Mutual appreciation club here!

      2. JAcKiEs "DAiLY MEnTAL" ObSeSsiOnZ

        You have a forever friend in me. And being honest is what comes naturally to WOMAN like us. It’s how we stay sane. Not everyone is going to understand what we have been through and it isn’t our job to educate them either. Our job as victims is to stay true to ourselves and others. Always speaking our truth no matter the cost. Being present with the ones who care and Love us and forgetting the ones who could care less. We have a stories to tell and we will tell them with pride and our head held high. We are WARRIORS and we will continue to fight until our last breath. Xoxo

      3. The Paltry Sum

        Im not saying I see SheRa and Wonder Woman costumes in our future, but Sister, we deserve them! I prefer the making it clear I am a Victim. Fuck this “survivor” bullshit. The world needs to look clearly at what men can do to women, and they need to label the aggressors and their prey accordingly. If we merely survive we are letting these men off the hook. No more babying them, Jackie. I am done with the emphasis being on my strength, blah blah, you know, you get praised for making it through. I am more concerned that I HAD TO make it through and our sisters are still out there suffering and dying. You are a gorgeous, beautiful, strong woman, and you have made it through to be – and Im being honest here – one of the most devoted mothers that I have had the pleasure to read write about her child. But that doesnt detract from the simple fact that whatever you have been put through victimized you and that is unforgiveable. You should have been cherished, protected, loved, not hurt. I am so very sorry that you have suffered too. It breaks my heart. Warrior Sister, I have got your back, like I know you have mine. If you ever want to write, perhaps we should think about doing a podcast one day? Solidarity and love back to you!

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