There is an older song, one the lady at the bar sings to me when I stumble in before close. It’s a lullaby that eases me into the night, cause I’m that baby and she’s the mother who wants to make sure I get home safe. A glass of water, an umbrella for the rain and an updated Tinder profile—these are the weapons she provides me for my immediate future. The urgency exists whether I realize it or not, but thankfully she is there to watch over me.
I call her Sally, but that isn’t her name. She doesn’t disagree, and surely many have called her other things. The clientele at hand aren’t picky as long as they get served, but I tell myself she only cares about me.
Tonight, she sings as she pours me another and makes sure that I like it. “Is this okay?” She knows by now but she insists because that’s her nature. She could be twenty or forty, she could be a mother or a wife. She certainly is a daughter, though, but those qualities have vanished in time—she is too strong to depend on her past.
Tonight, her voice carries into every memory I’ve had of this damn city. Like Joan, she is a machine of faith, a beast of melody and bears the conscience of a saint. She envelops me in hope and gives me the wings to withstand everything but the fire within my heart—for that, a generation of war awaits. Until then, though, Sally has found me, and she won’t let go until there is calm.