POEMS


Ozone Court

     Lisa and I met in Alcoholics Anonymous.  I liked her right off the bat.  That mattered little.  She was off limits.  My sponsor had laid down the law the first night we met.  “No emotional relationships with anyone in the group your first year,” he said.  I think I was the only schlub who followed that statute.  Motor-head Tom and Julie didn’t.  Mellow Yellow Mel and Carmel didn’t.  Shiloh Joe and Lori didn’t.  Poolman Perry and Blondie didn’t.  Critter Dave and Cassie didn’t.  Crazy Dale and Susan didn’t.  Nor did Cool Casey and Marla either.

    In the beginning, Lisa and I shared the same sobriety date.  January 27th.  I figured we were destined to be together.  The end of the calendar year approached and my sponsor relented.  I asked her out.     
      Our first date was a Saturday matinée in Westwood.  We caught a Mickey Rourke flick.  Nothing special.  The movie or the date.  It all ended with popcorn remnants in my lap and a handshake.  

      Things progressed slowly.  We had our first kiss on New Year’s Eve when the ball dropped.  It was my first sober kiss since middle school and the earth moved some.  Not the case for Lisa.  At 12:05 she looked at her watch and yawned.

   Little momentum built.  Lisa was seldom home when I called.  Either her roommate Kelly answered or the machine picked up.  The Friday prior to Lisa’s one year sobriety birthday, I bought a crystal vase at a nice store down on Main Street.  I had it inscribed with some heartfelt words.  The store delivered it with a dozen roses the afternoon before she took her cake.  Kelly answered the door when the delivery boy came.   Lisa wasn’t there. 

     Mid-February Lisa was through with me.  I’d changed my sobriety date back in May and was never really her type.  I think she wanted a tough guy, and at seventeen, I was just two merit badges shy of earning my Eagle Scout.      

     Lisa’s roommate Kelly and I had become friendly along the way.  At one point, after Lisa had given me the heave-ho, we both acknowledged finding each other attractive, but made some dumb pact about not acting on it.  Being her and Lisa were roommates and all. 

     In April Kelly and I had our first date.

    She came to my single on Ozone for dinner after work.    I prepared chicken cicciatore, steamed broccoli with lemon wedges, and short-grain brown rice.  Lumberg.  The rice was plain, but I’d made it in my pressure cooker.  It had come out perfect.  The old women who ran the Jewish center on Speedway would have said the fluffy rice was a good omen.

    In July, Kelly told me she was pregnant.  August Twenty-ninth we married at St. Michael’s on Coldwater.  Four months shy from our first date.   
   
     When Kelly walked down the aisle dressed in a simple white dress with a flower wreath in her hair, she was stunning.  I didn’t know what love was, or much about myself, or Kelly for that matter, but when we met me at the altar and held each other’s hands, suddenly, I understood what it felt like for a farm leaguer to get a call from upstairs.      

     Five months and a week after Kelly and I got back from our honeymoon, Alexander Edward was born.  Dr. Lubin delivered him on Friday afternoon, March fourth, at Santa Monica hospital.  It was just before dinner time.