Gordon, I Remember You

by Richard Diem

          Behind the doors of Apartment 1L, storm clouds usually began to form when Gordon came out of the closet...when Gordon’s gin, that is, met vermouth.  When they stayed too long, they could cause emotional havoc in the house.   I could feel the dark clouds moving in, as snide remarks began to enter the room, and the happy hour expressions changed to accommodate the demons that lurked inside my mother mostly.  Looking back, I remember her as starting most of the turmoil too often stirred up by whatever demons troubled her soul.  Bill, who in time I called, “Pop,” would have been happy to sit and play his drums until dawn, or until he spent too much time with Gordon and then, fell asleep at the kitchen table or in the bath tub.

 

          My brothers and I knew trouble was coming when we heard the arguing growing louder and louder, and then, reaching his boiling point, Pop blew up, and I, being the oldest, ran to break up the violence as best I could.  I was always aware and afraid of Pop’s pistol in the closet for which he did have a permit.  I remember he took it only once and left the apartment, and I was told to follow him.  He’d only gone for a walk to cool down, and so that night’s cloud drifted away.  Back in apartment 1L, it finally came to an end when they were both too exhausted to fight anymore… 

 

          Until the next time, and then the scene would play out again.  As for Gordon, he usually could be found on the kitchen table in the morning, drained empty from his exhausting night.  Another just like him would soon arrive from Lowery Liquor Store on Queens Boulevard. 

 

          Yes, Gordon, I guess you were just part of the family