Chapter 2 "How The Genii Went Into The Bottle."

"Nothing is lost that cannot be found, if sought."~~Shakespeare

The first memory I have of a drink was at ten years old. My folks were having a cocktail party. My Mom had a little cream colored plastic box with little disc shaped plastic clips in various colors with the names of common cocktails. Red was bourbon and soda, white was a gimlet, light green was a daiquiri and so on. She had these beautiful long red cellophane straws for the tall drink glasses and I took one and carried it with me for the evening. As folks would set down their drinks I would take the straw and try a taste of whatever they were drinking. I knew what was what because of the color-coded clips. I liked the smell of bourbon and soda. It smelled "Christmassy," like vanilla and spice. The Gimlet looked pretty but smelled and tasted too sour to me. And then I fell upon what seemed to me to be the sweet nectar of a flower. The bubbles tickled my nose as I sniffed the contents of the tall condensation streaked glass. I turned the glass and it revealed a baby blue clip that had the words "Scotch and soda."

I took my cellophane straw from the back pocket of my dungarees and sipped away. The first sip compelled me to exhale and then like teeny tiny bubbles rising to the top of a glass~ ~burp. I was sitting behind the gold crushed velvet chair in the corner of the living room near the fireplace. I quickly scoped the room for the Baby Blue tabs on the glasses that contained this golden elixir. I think it was then that I decided it was the elixir of love because after a few sips, I loved everybody. And I loved passionately. I cried myself to sleep that night as I sat in the laundry hamper in the bedroom I shared with my sister. The hamper sat in the bathroom and I liked to hide there, deeply buried under all the dirty clothes that smelled like little girls smell in Southern California. Sweet and a bit like eucalyptus. I cried myself to sleep there in a pile of Peter Pan collar white shirts. I cried for the love I had for Richard Burton.

In my parents living room near the hall entrance there was a "Hi-Fi". I used to sit cross-legged right next to the large body speaker in the front. I sat there for hours listening to recordings of Broadway and London musicals. I knew all the words to Oliver, I Do I Do, Man of La Mancha, Carousel and Camelot. And from that recording of Camelot I fell deeply and hopelessly in love with Richard Burton. No Bobby Sherman or David Cassidy for me. No. I adored Richard Burton until my heart ached. I fell asleep many a night singing and crying to and for the love of Richard Burton. I still feel the pang of that crush.

I think it is a common thing for alcoholics to love too much. To feel love energetically so deeply that you are in physical pain. The thing that alcohol always did for me was to inspire heartache. Whether imagined or real. Even at this "tea cup" age I felt the "adult strength" pain of unrequited love. I did not drink again for a long while after that day but I most certainly sought heartache. My crush on Richard Burton expanded to Richard Harris after the film version of Camelot was released. I had that soundtrack too.

I actually sort of met Richard Harris once. There was a pub in Santa Monica called the "Mucky Duck" it was down near the entrance to the mall on Third street. My folks would take us there sometimes on a Wednesday for fish and chips. Once, while we were there I saw Richard Harris playing darts. I was speechless. I could not muster the nerve to go up and say hi. I was visiting the bartender to pick up some cherries for my Roy Roger. When I turned to hop off the stool, there "he" was. He helped me because when I had spun around on the stool and started to hop off I kind of fell. He caught me and patted me on the bum as I ran over to my folk's table. (in those days a pat on the bum wasn't considered much to worry about:in fact I think I rather liked it,like any good Catholic girl would:and to be brutally honest, I still do). I did not say a word to him, I just "ogled" his sterling good looks,chiseled jawline and brilliantly handsome. I did not sleep that night. I kept hitting myself in the head muttering," why didn't I tell him I love him:now he will never will I live:how?"

I knew then I was someone who felt deeply.

Desperation. Loss. Sadness. Angst. Love.

So why wouldn't I go looking for something to quiet that passionate flow of energy? Why wouldn't I go looking for a cork to go into the bottle and hold it all down?

And then find myself within that bottle, cork sealed, without air or option, without choice. I remember seeing that cork seal it self over me.
I remember when I stopped breathing as myself.

When I became someone else so I could breathe.

I remember when the genii went into the bottle and I lost all my magic.

I was ten.

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