Author: Marlayna Glynn Brown
Publish Date: 01/12/2014
Publisher: Self Published
Event organized by: Literati Author Services, Inc.
~ Book Synopsis ~
I sit at his bedside, my eyes focused on the thin plastic tube that brings oxygen to his nose. What a strange thought that my father can no longer breath without this tube. Years of smoking Kool menthols have eradicated any ability he has to breathe without aid now. So the thin plastic tube hooks over his ears, allowing him to pull weak breaths in and out of cancered lungs. My father, who once ran races and jogged around our city parks and swam off the Mexican shore in the Pacific ocean he loved so much, cannot breathe without the cool oxygen of this artificial tube.
He tries to talk but his words are mired in wet coughs, rendering conversation cruel and laborious.
That tube stands between me and all that I want to know about him. I take his thin hand in mine and look him in the eye. “I'm glad you were my father.”
He nods once; a regal gesture of acceptance, resignation or possibly both. “Me too.”
There are so many questions I want to ask him, so much I want to know about his childhood, his life, his feelings, his essence.
Unasked, as if he would try to explain the one thing I might want to know, he volunteers, “Some people were just born to drink.”
“How can you say such a thing?”
“Look at me,” he coughs.
“You woke up every day and made the choice to drink. You could have changed your life any time you wanted.”
Is this then the final damning curse of a life of alcoholism, the acceptance of no reality that does not include alcohol? “You could have stopped drinking any time you wanted. People do it every day. You could have known me. You could have known your grandchildren. They are such great kids and you don't even know them.”
“I'd been a rat for so long. Thought I might as well stay a rat.”
I don't understand this kind of thinking; this acceptance of anything less than the highest and best. It's the final and saddest nail in the coffin of my relationship with my father.
During our last day together, I hear myself telling him that I want him to be at peace. I want him to be out of pain. I know even as the words are tumbling from my consciousness and out of my mouth that my father's death is not about me; his passing is not dependent in any way upon what I want.
It is his journey and I am no longer on it.
Then again, I never really was in the first place.
For how could you ever be on a journey that is not your own?
Author Bonus: My Ten Favorite Intimate Cities To Fall In Love (Or Have Fun Trying)
by Marlayna Glynn Brown
We all know about Paris, but Paris is a big city and can feel a bit intimidating. What if you're looking for somewhere a little more intimate? Many travelers seek a little amour while enjoying the flavors of a foreign city. If you happen to be looking for love, what better way to see a city than on the arm of a native? Locals know all the best places – public and private – and are usually quite proud to show off their city. If sparks fly, light a fire and really get to know the country!
Summer in Budva is one loud, giant party. Don't even consider visiting the popular Montenegro Riviera city without bringing your bathing suit and dancing shoes. Spend the day at the beach on one of the hundreds of lounge chairs, rocking out to the pumping house music while your cocktails are hand-delivered. In the evening cruise the main promenade where you'll find cafe bars, cotton candy, restaurants, shops and discos with go-go girls. With the reputation for having the most millionaires per capita in Europe – 500 in a town of 22,000 – who knows who you might meet?
Although this Amalfi Coast city is quite popular, it doesn't detract from its ambient romantic charm. Lovely climate, picturesque views, homemade limoncello and amazing seafood make this walkable, hillside city a must-visit. This city is made for romance! If you don't bring your own lover, feel free to engage the locals, but be warned they will not tell you their real names. As explained to me by a young Italian male, their lifecycle is such: live at home and enjoy life and work hard until marriage. Marriage includes the 'love years' where a man dedicates his life to his wife and children. After the children have grown, the man returns to working hard and enjoying life again. The locals are fairly irresistible but don't say you weren't warned.
Nicknamed “Paris of the East” due to its lovely lights and architecture, Budapest has grown increasingly popular among European youths. With so many museums, parks, Turkish baths and monuments to experience, you could walk for days without using public transportation. Budapest is quite inexpensive compared to its major European counterparts which means you'll have more money to spend eating, drinking and mingling with the locals. The Hungarian people are known for their style and beauty – go see for yourself.
Croatia is breathtaking in many aspects, especially the Markarskan Riviera. Aside the crystal-clear Adriatic sea, this town boasts fresh organic food, Croatian wines, and delectable seafood. The active will enjoy parasailing, rafting, kayaking and nude sunbathing. The towering Biokovo mountain range behind Markarska includes the Nature Park – great for hiking, exploring or visiting the tiny church at the top. Cruise along the main promenade in the afternoons and evenings to meet a new friend or two. If you're feeling adventurous, be sure to board one of the Island Fish Picnic tours for a lovely day spent touring a couple of Croatia's more than 1200 islands and dining on unbelievably tasty fresh grilled fish. Most of these tours offer unlimited wine. Drink too much and you may end up leading the guests in off-key renditions of “Hey Jude” and “Bohemian Rhapsody” like I did.
Prague, Czech Republic
Prague is a city rich with history making for enjoyable days exploring by the side of a knowledgable host. Although it's definitely worthwhile to see the common tourist sites in one of Europe's largest cities – bridges, cathedrals, and the biggest ancient castle in the world – be sure to veer from the trodden path. Outside of the mulled wine and absinthe bars in the tourist zones you can gift yourself with visits to working man's pubs for lunch, dinner or beer. Hear some music playing? Stop in to see what's going on where you'll likely find cheap beer, Czech patrons who bring their dogs along, and friendly people. I was lucky enough to be taken to an unmarked secret 'tea room' on the fifth floor of a walkup. I'd tell you where it is, but then I'd have to – you know.
Santorini is on my list only because there isn't much to do on this island other than be in love. I accompanied a recently-divorced friend to Santorini and we had to laugh when we found ourselves together in a double bed in one of Santorini's many romantic bungalows. Although we filled our days riding quads, exploring the red, white and brown beaches, and taking a cruise to the lava island, we both vowed we would never return to this romantic island without bringing a lover along.
One word: Oktoberfest. Another word: Beer. A final couple of words: Beer is the ultimate language translator. Get thee to Oktoberfest, otherwise known as Sausagefest.
This ancient city boasts miles of a coastline so lovely you won't want to do anything but sit at one of the bars situated on the rocks above the Adriatic sea, drink a refreshment and enjoy the view, the sun and the air. Of course you will do other things such as stroll along the Stradun at night, dine on grilled or stuffed squid, drink local Croatian wine or lick Extra Black ice cream. Feel like dancing? Hit up Culture Club Revelin – a wild club in one of Dubrovnik's old forts where you'll meet people from many different countries, hear top DJs and watch dancers on stilts, in cages and on bars perform amazing acts.
Playa Grande Beach, Dominican Republic
This lovely white-sand beach is truly one of the most beautiful areas I've ever visited. Located an hour south of the athletic paradise of Cabarete, it's well worth leaving behind the surfers, windsurfers and kiteboarders to find this piece of paradise. Away from the noise of the motorcycles, the sales pitches of the jewelry vendors, and the tourists that populate other parts of the Dominican Republic waits this quiet stretch of beach with a powerful surf. Rent a surfboard or a boogie board or just bodysurf. When you're hungry any one of the restaurant employees will be happy to set up a table and chairs for you to dine on fresh seafood and drink fresh coconut juice straight from the shell. If your idea of paradise is blue water, hot sun, white sand and great service – this beach is for you.
This quaint, cobble-stoned city surprised and enticed me with her unexpected charm. The streets are filled with both tourists and native Mayan people dressed in the clothing indicative of their village. The air is often filled with the sounds of cannons, firecrackers, music and laughter because there is seemingly always some kind of celebration going on. To escape the raucousness, drop into one of the many wonderful restaurants or bars. This city is one of the easiest places to meet other people regardless of whether you're eating, drinking or just resting. The center of the city contains a lovely park filled with benches. I guarantee you cannot sit there alone for five minutes without making a new friend.
About the Author
Marlayna Glynn Brown is an award-winning nomadic memoirist, photographer, screenwriter and yogi. Although she was born in Las Vegas, Nevada she now lives wherever she lays her head.
Her short film, People That do Something, is based on a chapter from Overlay and can be viewed on Youtube.
Marlayna's published titles include:
*Winner of a 2013 Next Generation Indie Book Award in the Overcoming Adversity Category.