‘Do You Want To Talk?’

posted in: Day In The Life 58
This is a pub in Britain. This is not where I went that night, nor were there flowers atop the bar I visited. It felt like there were! Image: Wikipedia.


I recently experienced the worst day of my life.

That’s saying something. I’ve lost people close to me. I’ve had organs removed, with complications. I went through a divorce. But this particular day was bad in a new way. That fresh hell was nowhere I wanted to be. When I can manage it, I’ll share with you as much as I can the series of events that lead up to the worst day of my life; for now, I’ll dump you right into the action, because the story I want to tell tonight begins there.

The worst day of my life culminated in a phone call. After that phone call, everything around me entirely drained of its color. Did you know the whole world is just a paint-by-numbers coloring book? On the worst day of my life, my pencil case, crayons, plastic sharpener, eraser — all of that was raptured, I guess. I was sitting in a white world with black lines and my body was shaking so hard I couldn’t have held a crayon if I wanted to.

The only thing I knew is that I had to leave the house, but I couldn’t like, be a person. I couldn’t manage carrying a purse, or charting a course, or having a plan. I always carry a purse. I always have a plan. I chart. But not on the evening of the worst day of my life. There in the endless, blank coloring book, I somehow got together my I.D. and the cash I had in my wallet. I put those things in the breast pocket of my brown wool coat, grabbed my phone and my keys, and left the building.

You know I love the Loop. “My endless Loop”, I call it, and it’s never let me down, so I went into the Loop and that’s where I walked. I don’t remember anything. Wait: I remember buying cigarettes. I know, I know. But don’t worry: I’m not smoking now. But on the worst day of my life, I definitely did. I walked and smoked in the Loop until I realized it was very cold and that I should go home, though I wasn’t sure why. What was there? Why not stay out?

When I turned south on Dearborn, the twinkly lights at the end of the street showed me the way. There. A plan. I was going to walk to those lights and have a drink at that nice-looking local pub that I had never gone into because … Well, I don’t know why I hadn’t ever been there. I just hadn’t. But I was going there now, alone, to drink something you need an I.D. to buy (check). That was the entire plan. It was unusual, which meant it fit with everything else that day, except this seemed like something I was choosing.

The pub was lively but not crowded. I took a seat at the bar. I ordered a shot of tequila and a beer.* Thus served, I did the salt-drink-suck thing (if you have to ask, you’ll never know) and just kind of stared at the television above the bar. My life didn’t feel real. My heart was wet concrete, dripping into my slush-soaked boots. There are times when you’re so happy, you “don’t have a care in the world.” But you can have the same feeling on the worst day of your life. You don’t have a care in the world because … who cares?

The man sitting next to me was alone, too. He was doing a crossword puzzle on his phone. He was wearing a stocking cap. He had a beard. He could’ve had a peacock nest on the top of his head and a clown suit on and I still would have done what I did because I didn’t have a care in the world, and what I did was turn to this person and say:

“Would you like to talk?”

He looked up at me.

“I’m not hitting on you. I’m not a weirdo. I just … You’re sitting alone and I’m sitting alone and we could have a conversation, you know, instead of doing the screen thing.”

He smiled. “I’d love to talk.”

So we did. We talked so well, in fact, that when we parted ways after about an hour and a half, we agreed that we should keep talking. And we have, which is pretty cool. And all I can say is that when you have the worst day of your life, you should definitely leave the house. Don’t take a purse. Don’t have a plan. Smoke cigarettes if you have to, but no matter what, tell the truth.

Tell the truth, and start from the beginning.


*Pro tip: If you’re ever buying me a shot, it’s tequila. Funny, since I’m a pasty Scots-Irish-Norwegian, but maybe my soul comes from someplace warmer. Also, Nick and I broke up over the holidays, in case you were wondering.

58 Responses

  1. Carol Shaw
    | Reply

    Hugs. Just hugs.

  2. Cathy Platt
    | Reply

    Sounds like several of my days! Chin up— life will get better ❤️

  3. Tyra
    | Reply

    Lovely. I hope you have recovered from your worst day and know if that’s the worst it ever gets than you will be okay because you survived it AND made a friend.

  4. Lynn Maynard
    | Reply

    Thank you!

  5. Sue
    | Reply

    Nowhere to go but up. Hugs xoxo

  6. Sam Faeth
    | Reply

    I am so sorry that you have been going through such a rough time.

  7. Jo
    | Reply

    Well it sounds like the worst Day did end in the worst night! Be !

  8. Gloria
    | Reply

    So sorry, hope things will get better for you soon. You are a special lady with a great talent, remember to be kind to yourself.

  9. Gloria
    | Reply

    So sorry, hope things will get better for you soon.

  10. john marcoux
    | Reply

    I’d buy you a shot of tequila, but for now I’ll just blow the dust off of your 105F account and place a free class in it. After reading that story I realized how much I miss you, quilts, and Liza Minelli. You wrote us a most beautiful note of gratitude back in the day, a note that inspired smiles throughout the hot yoga ranks. Should you need a sweat, just walk in, signin, and suffer brilliantly. If you need a shot, I’m good for that, too. Love, John

    • vickie
      | Reply

      I’d take him up on it, Mar.

  11. Joyce Skinner
    | Reply

    My sympathy on your loss.

    • Linda
      | Reply

      Maybe that should say sympathy on HIS loss

  12. Kathi Bryan
    | Reply

    I’m sorry.

  13. Tami
    | Reply

    Love and more love for being so real.

  14. Jennifer
    | Reply

    You are an amazingly resilient person. I marvel.

    Stay strong.

  15. BevS
    | Reply

    I love the fact that your worst day ended with making a new friend. It seems like you both benefited from your walk with no plan. Hope you are feeling better.

  16. Mike
    | Reply

    I will not diminish your experience by saying “chin up” or “stay strong” or “things can only get better from here.” Cliches and Hallmark sentiments give little to no comfort in moments like this. I will say that I am holding you close to my heart today, and that I am sorry you are going through such a difficult time.

  17. Vicky
    | Reply

    Once you’ve had the worst day & survived, every day after that is good. Sometime it’s just hard to find a smidge of good. Believe in those of us who send you good vibes & expect nothing in return. ❣

  18. Rebecca Buchanan
    | Reply

    You are amazing and authentic and for both of those reasons an inspiration. Very big hugs and lots of love!!!

  19. Sandra Wierzbicki
    | Reply

    Thinking of you, Mary. We have all been there at sometime in our lives. It will get better. Let yourself wallow for awhile and then move on to a new version of your life. We’re all cheering you onward
    A former Iowa girl

  20. Mj Snyder
    | Reply

    Glad you came through this one. My mom used to say, “This too ,shall pass” I have discovered that , divine timing is a gift. Sending you love and strength.

  21. Heather
    | Reply

    I want to wrap you up in cuddly, reassuring words, but sometimes, when I’m feeling bad after a terrible f!cking day, I just want to feel the strength of the fury and loss because it feels better than feeling beaten by the bad thing. I’m sorry you had the worst day, Mary. I hope that the pain of it has begun to subside. We’ll all be thinking of you. <3

  22. Margaret
    | Reply

    I always tell myself well today’s the first day of the rest of my life, go forward with what you learned.

    Hugs, it will get better

  23. Sue
    | Reply

    Remember-you are not defined by the “men in your life.” You are making your own path defined by your integrity.

  24. Nancy Evans
    | Reply

    You are so real-so strong-so beautiful! We love you!

  25. Robin Gabriel
    | Reply

    I would have had a few with you, Mary! Sending love and hugs to help get through that horrible day. (FYI I, too, am a pasty Irish- Norwegian plus Swede and I love tequila! Try a mini beer some time with XO Tequila! Like a smooth cup of coffee, but extra warming!)

  26. Jan
    | Reply

    Always look up

  27. Anita Brayton
    | Reply

    A really bad story with a pleasant ending. Thank you.

  28. Melinda Seegers
    | Reply

    That was very brave just sharing something so negative and so personal, but I bet you felt better after it was written down. Hope the next day was better. Keep sharing! We’ are here for you and each other.

  29. Veronica
    | Reply

    Wishing love and comfort, and restorednes to you Mary. Slow & sure repair & healing, for a wonderful human being. Huge long hug to you , old pet ,
    Xx Veronica

  30. Teresa
    | Reply

    Keep going… Your life will get better… It already has… hugs to you

  31. Marcia
    | Reply

    It could turn out to be the best day of your life.

  32. Georgia O'Neal
    | Reply

    Well CRAP !

  33. Nancy P
    | Reply

    Sorry to hear t hat you had a bad day. The worst day ever! But you survived it. And made a new friend in the bargain. That doesn’t seem as bad. I’m sorry you and Nick broke up. I know you really liked him.

  34. rita penner
    | Reply

    How do you start a conversation like that? I mean, weather? You set the stage with ‘we’re both alone’. How did it go positive after that?

  35. Jeanann Montney
    | Reply

    Oh, snap! It reminded me of Alexander and the terrible, horrible, very bad day book. Thank you for venting.

  36. Bob Collis
    | Reply

    Hugs from me too Mary.. Feel better!

  37. Anita Kemmerling
    | Reply

    I think you are so real and I just love reading your stories. You say things I think about but rarely get the opportunity to say out loud, so thanks.
    Stay strong.

  38. Judy D
    | Reply

    Oh Mary, so sorry. Hugs

  39. Sarah
    | Reply

    Losing a love just plain HURTS. There is a book about that. It begins “First you cry.” If you can find it, it might help a little. Not much, but some. I applaud your courage and believe there are good things coming your way.

  40. Roberta Bowie
    | Reply

    So sorry. Don’t let it change your sweet soul and nature. God has another plan.

  41. Cari Goode
    | Reply

    Excellent writing Mary. And you always leave me wanting for more…

  42. Diane Muldoon
    | Reply

    Great writing…keep on going..xo

  43. Caroline Nelson
    | Reply

    So very sorry for your pain. Sending NW Iowa hugs to you. And, I’m definitely up for shots of tequila any time you’re in the Okoboji area!

  44. Brenda King
    | Reply

    Mary, I’m so sorry that you experienced your recent most terrible day. Nothing hurts like losing a love. If cigarettes and Tequila helped you over it, more power to ya! : )
    I trust that you are feeling better every day. Look for the good in people, and the sweet gifts of kindness, sympathy, understanding, and support, on your worst days. They will be there for you, since so many of us love and care about you! Bounce back, higher than ever, and know that you have millions of GREAT days ahead Take care. Brenda K.

  45. Cathy V
    | Reply


  46. Ronda Parsons
    | Reply

    Mary, I fear that you are having a health issue. The worst day of my life was the day I learned that I had non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Terror. Fear. The desire to just start running, and never stop. I had lost those I loved and had many dissapointments during my life, but nothing, nothing, prepared me for this news. I intellectually knew that I would not live forever, but that was the day in truly realized this truth. The good news is that I fought and have been 5 years cancer free. I pray that I am wrong, but if I’m not, know that you can beat whatever this is.

    As far as strangers go, I sometimes think they are are placed in our path when we need someone unemotional at that one moment in time. Someone who isn’t investing in our problem. Someone who frees us from not worrying about the person on the other side of the conversation. Someone who doesn’t require a brave face from us, or a cheery countenance. One of the best conversations of my life was with a woman who sat next to me on an airplane.

    Love and stength, Ronda

  47. Daisy Dianne Bromlow
    | Reply

    You are an Amazing , Strong , Amazing person .

  48. Sue
    | Reply

    Dear Mary, I’m so sorry.
    You taught me a lesson. You put your coat on and went out of the house.

  49. Pamela Barnes
    | Reply

    hugs Mary.

  50. Denise in PA
    | Reply

    Mary, I’ve been there…the no color thing. I called it “the Gray” – everything was just gray. I’ll never forget it and hope I’m never there again. I’m wishing you bright colors always.

  51. Irene Ruiz
    | Reply

    So, so sorry, tomorrow will be better. Hugs

  52. Kathleen
    | Reply

    Your heart will mend,Miss Mary.

  53. Karla
    | Reply

    Where are your quilt charms? Would love to purchase!

  54. Wend
    | Reply

    Mary, I too have sustained that day. I certainly didn’t have the words to paint it so perfectly as you sensitively, always seem to do.
    Things broke, I broke..others broke. I, with strong help found the path to the place where color, light and laughter still existed.
    It took a long time to find color again..shape and simple reason. Those lovely things are revealed in many forms. But..it all miraculously was found…just in a new way. Praying that new way reveals itself to you too. It’s still pretty good on the other side of That Day.

  55. Ginny Renslow
    | Reply

    Hugs and more hugs. If we get together, we definately will talk without “screens” and the tequila will be Patron!

  56. Sunny McGladie
    | Reply

    Did you know he was in a relationship at the time? Remember, if he will do it with you, he will do it to you.

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