Old Photo of Pam and Joy

Friends to the Bitter End

The audience is riled up, rocking its way towards midnight. I am standing on the stage with a microphone in my hand. The band plays behind me. I shout out over the noise, eager to keep going. “I don’t look sick, do I?” I ask, shaking my head and nodding to the crowd. “No, no, no,” they shout back. Turning to my keyboard player, signaling for her to begin the intro, “One, two, three,” I count, as my fingers strum guitar strings. I have been performing my entire adult life. Now, standing in the club, aptly titled The Bitter End, I have bargained my way out of the hospital to perform this gig....