Friday, January 25, 2013
Myra Jacobs stayed in the apartment where she was married with Doug Harper when he overdosed and died. She tutored Italian on the university campus and lived on First Avenue, among the junkies, whores, and other hustlers. They were her people, after all. She also kept playing Doug’s Dexter Gordon albums and wishing there were recordings of his own work as DG, especially his stint with Sanchez & Company.
She was a small woman with light skin, a fast walker. Her paying gig with the Romance Languages department lay half an hour’s bus ride away. It kept her eating, clothed, a roof over her head, and for kicks going downtown to see Rose and Dave at the Penthouse now, when there was no Getz, Gillespie, or Davis coming to Seattle for a limited stay. Or Myra would go uptown to hear Paula sing with Sanchez’s combo.
One night Paula told her, between sets, of her life as a junkie, turning tricks to feed her habit, ending up living with a man who left her alone too much and that’s how she met Bobby. That’s where, that night, Paula’s story ended. Myra saw she was still delightful: smart, street wise, an intellectual. Paula liked to read Homer and Sappho and those she called “the big three,” Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides.
Myra knew she identified with Electra and Antigone, but could never read Euripides, yet after listening to Paula she determined to read his Dionysian play, whose bacchantes and maenads, she said with surprise in her voice, most likely influenced Orpheus and Eurydice, and wondering aloud, she settled for saying nothing more while Paula treated her surmise as hypothesis for another reading of The Bacchae.
(25 January 2013)
copyright 2013 by Floyce Alexander