I’ve been living in downtown Covington, Ky., since the
middle of July 2011. Having lived in Cincinnati for most of my adult
life and with a lot of that time working and/or living downtown,
Covington has been an adjustment for me. In my view, Downtown Covington
isn’t anything like the city across the river.
I looked at my watch. It was a quarter
after 6. I figured with it being early evening, Walgreens, up on Madison
Avenue here in Covington, wouldn’t be that busy. I’d walk up there and
get me another bottle.
On Labor Day, 1994, I got a phone call from twin brother’s
friend in Seattle, Wash., where my twin, Jered, lived. This friend told
me that Jered was in a Swedish Hospital in serious condition. He also
told me Jered had AIDS. This was the first I’d heard about it.
last time Hope was in my life was early October, 1994. I had just
come back from Seattle, Washington where my twin brother had died. We
met at a bar in Price Hill. Hope
and I got our drinks, went to a table and talked about my brother
maybe for a couple minutes. Then we talked about bullshit things that
didn’t matter. I remember feeling angry about it later, but Hope
was just being Hope. Talking about real life wasn’t something she
was interested in.
hard for me to really say when my eyesight started to go so horribly
bad. I guess it was more or less a gradual thing, but during the
spring of last year, it seemed to suddenly worsen. More and more, I
was living in shades of pale.
sounds outside my apartment window in Covington have some along with
the warmer weather. I often hear stray cats howling or even fighting
early in the mornings. One recent morning in particular, they woke me
up at five o’clock. It
was a day I wasn’t really looking forward to.
I ever see Charlene again, I have a few questions I’d like to ask.
Whether I actually ask them is anybody’s guess. I
noticed her about a year ago. I was living in Westwood and had gotten
a ride to downtown Cincinnati to catch a T.A.N.K. bus to Kentucky. We
were waiting at the same bus stop at Fourth and Main. It was a cold
winter morning. Awaiting different buses, we sat on the same bench.
She kept looking at me and maybe I was looking at her, too.
had been more than 20 years since I’ve had to deal with a mouse in
my living space. Nevermind the fact I was born and raised on a farm
where I’ve seen mice in barns and even in houses. It’s been a
long time since I’ve been a country boy, and having this rodent in
my living quarters freaked me out.
I arrived a little too early for the
meeting. Having a vodka and tonic at the Backstage Café in Covington, I
was waiting for my editor to show up. It’s never a good thing when your
editor wants to talk about your column and “the future.” I kind of knew
the kind of future he wanted to discuss.
The young guy sitting on the bench to my
left was high on something. He kept mentioning how he got caught
“getting it on” by the girl’s boyfriend. “He went out to his truck to get a gun,” the guy said. “I got out of there quick, man, hightailed it.” I nodded my head at him as he spit on the sidewalk. He spit a lot.
It took three buses for me to reach her apartment in
Colerain Township, but I was on a mission. I was determined to get a
piece of my property back. Walking up to her apartment door, I had purpose. I would be polite but I’d be direct. I wanted the damn book back.