If you’ve read to the moon and back, you know that Danny (my dad) had a friend, “Tony”, to whom he used to (jokingly) offer to sell me to for cocaine. (If you haven’t read it yet, here’s a sample chapter that will hopefully entice you to.)
While I may have somehow known at that time that Danny wouldn’t actually let someone buy me, especially this friend who made my skin crawl, I don’t think I fully knew back then that it was a joke, albeit a sick one. Who knows. Either way, it is a memory that still makes my skin crawl. Each time I read that passage aloud at a book reading or book club event – as it’s one of the stories in the book that I share – my heart speeds, my breath shallows, and my body folds into itself for protection.
For years I thought Tony was dead. At one point, Danny had heard that Tony OD’d. It made sense. I don’t remember the last drug I had heard he was using, but there were a lot of drugs. It made sense.
And then, long story short, another friend of Danny’s heard about to the moon and back, somehow without realizing that I had written it. (How many Lisa Kohn’s could there be who grew up in the East Village and who proudly told everyone that they were a Moonie?) Until he ran into my brother and put two-and-two together. Fast forward, this friend told Tony (who was apparently still alive) about the book…and about the fact that Danny had had a stroke and was trapped in a nursing home in Princeton, New Jersey.
Now, Danny may not have been an exemplary father, but he apparently was an excellent friend. All of his friends feel somewhat indebted to him for the times he let them crash on our couch and the ways he showed up for them over the years. He was also the “responsible” one within that group of friends, especially because he took us in when my mother wouldn’t. His being the responsible one always gives me pause…
Anyway, Tony heard the news about Danny, researched where the nursing home was, and went to visit him. And wheeled him outside (in his wheelchair) and got him high.
I couldn’t be happier. Not that Tony was alive, but that someone – anyone – was visiting Danny and that someone – anyone – was getting Danny high.
Over the years, I had tried to get Danny medicinal marijuana. He’s on morphine twice a day, for the pain in his hip from when he was run over by a Hummer (another long story), but according to the law, he’s not sick or disabled enough to qualify for medicinal pot in New Jersey. I still don’t get that.
I would love for Danny to be high from pot rather than from morphine (or maybe both), as it might lessen his pain and it also might lessen his awareness of where he is and how horrendous his life is. I often say that I am blessed with compassion for Danny. His life is beyond depressing and awful, and I would love for him to be able to drift away in some way – any way – from his reality.
I am very glad that Tony is getting Danny high.
I still don’t want see Tony. The memories are too disturbing, as I look back as an adult with two children whom I would NEVER have jokingly offered to sell. But I will always be grateful that he is hopefully bringing Danny a bit of ease and escape.
Life is quite weird.
I’d love to hear your thoughts, and please share this post with others if it resonates with you!