Page 28 in the series Before the Pirates Came*
Mavis Jackson was a member of the First Street Baptist Church and a bartender at the club. She had known poverty, heartache, and the trials of raising six kids on her own. Miranda was stopping for a drink more often than she should, sometimes sitting at the bar while her friends played nine holes. Alcohol no longer made her feel light and happy, the life of the party. Getting drunk only made things worse.
Try as he might, Brian couldn’t help her. He was a social drinker and did not understand the direction that her addiction was taking. Miranda remembered their first date when Brian told her how people who drank top shelf liquor wouldn’t become alcoholics or get hangovers. He was wrong on both counts. And frankly, Miranda was getting tired of all his questions.
But she liked talking to Mavis. She was understanding and didn’t judge her. She had become Miranda’s confidant and friend, making her laugh even on her worst days. And there was one other thing: She always said, “God bless you” and “I’m prayin’ for you, girl!” There was something in her words that drew Miranda close… something she never felt at church on Sunday, something she couldn’t quite explain.
One day, whether by luck or by providence, Mavis told Miranda about a counselor at the community health center who had helped her with some of her own personal problems. Mavis reached across the bar, took Miranda by the hand, and made her promise she would call and get help.
Clinical Social Worker, Lydia Ogletree, was an attractive lady in her fifties. She was wearing this season’s navy and tan Pendleton skirt, coordinating jacket, and a turtleneck that looked like cashmere. A big owl pendant swung on a silver chain around her neck. Miranda thought it looked ridiculous, but they were considered stylish in those days so she decided to overlook it.
The only other piece of jewelry she had on was an impressive diamond ring, round cut, simple setting, with a plain gold wedding band. It was really beautiful and it made Miranda ask herself one thing: What on earth was this lady doing at a clinic to help poor people? It’s not like she needed the job…
Lydia Ogletree listened to Miranda talk about her life, her profound and unexplainable sadness, and her lack of interest in the things she used to enjoy– like her marriage. She looked down at her hands and scratched at her neglected cuticles. She told Lydia about the good times she spent with Brian and the mood swings she experienced during their three years together.
At the end of their session, Lydia Ogletree leaned forward in her chair, looked into Miranda’s desperate face and said, “I have good news. You have a condition called bipolar disorder. There’s no cure, but there is an effective way to treat it! Why don’t we work on this together… I think I can help you.”
Lydia made her an appointment with a doctor for some tests, then set up a time for Miranda to see her again next week. “Let’s meet at my private office and save that seat for someone who really can’t afford to pay, hmm?” Miranda had fudged a few of the numbers on the clinic’s paperwork, and now she had been caught in a lie. She wasn’t going to pull anything over on Lydia, and she decided not to try. ”I’m located on the square, right next to Stowe Publishing.
*This story is based on some true events, however, has been fictionalized and all persons appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real people, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
© 2012, Shoes for an Imaginary Life. All rights reserved.