I had never experienced this before in my life. I had been blessed from the very beginning with a gift for sleeping. My mother used to tell me that I was the best baby ever. I would sleep through the night from the day she brought me home. She never had to fight me to go to sleep and I was always cheerful when I woke up.
But in those first months after my realization that I had been literally driffting through life since the death of my beloved, I didn't sleep very well. On a good night I got about 6 hours, but most nights it was closer to 2 or 3 hours. I went to bed at the same time every night, 9:30 pm, and I got out of bed at the same time every morning, 6:00 am. But I spent most of that time in bed starring at my ceiling, or out the window on the south wall. I couldn't tell what I thought about in those waking hours. There was no specific thing that prevaded my thoughts. My mind wandered everywhere it could; from the first memories I have of my childhood to the current war our country was engaged in. Everything got its fifteen minutes of fame in my brain.
I'm sure that the final descision I made about where to turn on the path of my life was made sometime around 3 am just as I was drifting off. It was probably about 3 months after I had that little talk with Jane. My brain was making its final attempt to stay active when a random thought crossed my mind. It was so random that it ended up keeping me awake for the rest of that night, and most of the next. My brain chewed on this thought like it was a piece of gum, but it was one of those amazing miraculous pieces of gum that never ever looses its flavor.
Like something right out of the Wonka factory; the longer I chewed on it, the more effort I put into the locking of my mental jaws around it, the more flavor and depth it gained.
It was so simple. It came to me from right out of my past. Something as a little girl I had always wanted to do and yet had never done. See the Kentucky Derby.
At 3 am on that night my brain grasped on to the thought that I had never seen the Kentucky Derby, and I had always wanted to.
It kept rolling around and around in my head that night. It started as "Shit I've never been to see the Kentuckt Derby, and I have always wanted to" and by the time I was getting ready for work it had turned into "I should take a week off this year and spend the whole time in Louisville absorbing the pre-and post-Derby environment."
Throughout the day my mind had to focus on the tasks that came before me, files and emails and letters and work orders. But always in the back of my mind the Derby sat silently waiting for me to get back to it.
After I got home that night I made dinner. My son was bouncing around, his birthday party was that weekend. It was his first ever "real" birthday party. With some of his friends from day-care and some from his Pre-K special Ed. Watching him simply enjoy the anticipation made me grin. I smiled from ear to ear.
I was sitting in my pristine public housing eat-in kitchen at my scarred fourth hand wooden dinning table, watching my son extoll the virtues of a birthday party, and I smiled.
all works posted here are copyrighted