Every time I listen to that song and sing along with Diana Krall (love her version), I think I’m the desperado the words are painting. “The Queen of Hearts is always your best friend.” Quit building fences.

Hell, I’ve been building fences to keep everyone out all my life. Well, at least since October 30th and I was 9 years old. Betrayed. That’s when I chose aloneness as my safety. Otherwise, there was no one I could trust anymore. No one. And every time I tried to let down the barriers, I was hurt. Or I would hurt the other person, before they could hurt me. I’d leave. The last they’d see of me was the dust raised at my departure. Never, in those days, said a nice goodbye. Not till I was in my mid-fifties.

This liver disease just amplified my aloneness and isolation. And pain at the separation. I lost the energy to try to bridge the growing chasm between me and others who could help.

I had to ask for help, too. Which, in my mind, was so wrong. I was the one who did the giving, the helping. Not my friends. I made it that way. Created my own box.

God help you – but I knew God or god or goddess wasn’t listening. And I wasn’t up to shouting.

This time the betrayal came from my own body. I went to graduate school and wrote a memoir. To be done with the childhood shit. But the illness just brought on more episodes of PTSD. Sometimes small events, other times huge and explosive. I wasn’t thinking “this isn’t fair.” I never uttered that phrase until I was 8 or 9 years into the disease.

And I say, fuck you, liver, and fuck you, fatigue, and fuck you, hospital beds and rooms. Fuck you, gazillions of medical appointments and procedures.

“Loneliness is such a sad affair,” Diana sings. You got that right, baby.

And so, I will try a little harder, a little longer not to build fences, to choose the Queen of Hearts and not the Queen of Diamonds. I will send messages to my friends. I will reach out as I never have before. Stronger, louder, more insistent.

I need help. I need love. I need you. And I love you.

I will ask people to remember me on holidays. Hell, I can get messed up by fucking Labor Day. And not just remember me, but to reach out and call me or invite me out if you can. Because I will ask you out. I must. Or risk losing my mind.


          by the Eagles

 Desperado, why don’t you come to your senses?

You been out ridin’ fences for so long now

Oh, you’re a hard one

I know that you got your reasons

These things that are pleasin’ you

Can hurt you somehow


Don’t you draw the queen of diamonds, boy

She’ll beat you if she’s able

You know the queen of hearts is always your best bet


Now it seems to me, some fine things

Have been laid upon your table

But you only want the ones that you can’t get


Desperado, oh, you ain’t gettin’ no younger

Your pain and your hunger, they’re drivin’ you home

And freedom, oh freedom well, that’s just some people talkin’

Your prison is walking through this world all alone


Don’t your feet get cold in the winter time?

The sky won’t snow and the sun won’t shine

It’s hard to tell the night time from the day

You’re losin’ all your highs and lows

Ain’t it funny how the feeling goes away?


Desperado, why don’t you come to your senses?

Come down from your fences, open the gate

It may be rainin’, but there’s a rainbow above you

You better let somebody love you (let somebody love you)

You better let somebody love you before it’s too late