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You die. She dies. Everybody dies.
Two days in May.
On Friday morning I woke up in someone else's bed. Where? What? Shit. Right. I was humbled, because while it was not a mistake per se, it wasn't what I would call a smart move either. I was exhilarated, also, because it is almost always exhilarating, these acts. Formal declarations of independence when you're younger. Reminders of earthly connections (I live here, yes I live here.) when you're older.
But can I go home now?
At home I took a shower and headed up the stairs to bed, the grizzled taste of hours-old wine in my mouth. It had been a good night: the reading went better than expected and people were delirious and people said nice things to me and someone handed me half a Xanax (My first gift of drugs from a groupie!) and I laughed and said what am I going to do with this? I don't do drugs anymore. (Someone had argued with me later that Xanax isn't a drug, but I wasn't buying what she was selling.) "You never know," said my new friend.
In bed I had a few hours to run over the night in my mind as I floated in and out of sleep. Did I say anything dumb? Did I insult anyone? Did I flirt too much? (Did anyone flirt with me?) I don't know if it even mattered.
I woke up at 1, showered, and headed to Penn Station. Today was track day. I own a horse with about 40 other people ("I own a hoof" is the joke), and today was her second race at Belmont. I ran into Whitey on the train and we talked about a band he manages, and how well they're doing, and then another one of the owners, Scott, joined us.
"I think she's going to win today," he said. "I've got a good feeling." Scott is the kind of gambler who only bets large amounts of money, hundreds of dollars at a time, so when he wins, he wins big, but when he loses, boy does he lose. He said he's come out really far ahead in his lifetime. I listened to him talk for a while. I like listening to the gamblers talk.
The track was as creepy and fascinating as ever. Lots of lonely old men crabbing about, yelling out horse's names at tv monitors in bursts of energy every fifteen minutes or so. Few women. They don't care about women there. They care about the horses.
As owners we got to go into the paddock, which was exciting. Our horse is silly, my brother told me. "She's a silly filly," he smiled. She sure seemed feisty - she was the only horse that needed two handlers, and she was jerking and fighting them as she walked around the paddock. It was wild, seeing her power. The trainer, Lisa, came over, and explained someone had spooked her earlier. "But she was looking good in the barn," she said. "Real good."
We went back into the clubhouse and I went to place my bet. I was going to put down $40, but one of the other owners said, "Ah I would just do $20. Her odds aren't that good." I noticed Scott had returned to bet once again.
And they were off. We sat outside in the cold, huddled in the empty stands, and cheered our guts out. And she won. She fucking won. Not only did she win, she won by a lot. Her head was all over the place - she's still young, doesn't quite know what's going on yet - but man was she fast, and she's not even completely physically developed yet. She's only going to get better from here.
We got to get our pictures taken in the winner's circle, and then we watched the replay, and then it was time to cash in. I won $142, which is the most I've ever won because I'm not a big gambler, but Scott, that sly devil, had doubled his wager after talking with the trainer. He walked home with 3k.
Six million trains later, I was home. It was late. An email awaited from the owner of the bed from that morning. Thanks. Boy am I tired. I've been thinking about what you said... Yes, eventually they all think about what I said. I dug the half a Xanax out of my wallet, and took it. I just couldn't deal.
The next day I woke up at 10 AM, but then I had to lay on my couch and stare at the ceiling for like three hours and contemplate the universe. That shit was strong. And then I wrote, I wrote all day long, I wrote so hard and so well and I was fully encapsulated in a whole new world for a long time.
I am trying really hard to own this novel.
And then Cinde called - "Come meet us at the Brooklyn Museum. You said you would, right?" I didn't want to. I mean I wanted to ride my bike up there, that seemed like a good idea, but the talking with other people part, that didn't sound as intriguing. But I went anyway, the ride was so nice, up Washington Street, dodging the men on the street who though I looked nice on my bicycle, even nicer from behind apparently (Daaamn girl, you gotta nice big ass. Holy shit I have a big ass? Why didn't anyone tell me before? Thank you so much sir, for filling me in on this important information.), and landing in the happy mix of people at BAM. Too bad the only people I wanted to talk to at that point were characters I could control.
So I stood outside for a while before I biked home and watched the dancing fountains in front of the museum. They were lit up in the night sky, and there were children screaming everytime the water shot straight up in the air, and some of the kids were soaked through, as they chased the droplets, around and around in circles. People stopped on the street and watched the children because their delight was infectious, and the fountains really did look amazing. One boy who stood near me, dripping with water, grinning, breathing, said, "This is the best day of my entire life."
We don't think that way anymore, do we? Superlatives like that are reserved for the young. I was jealous of that boy at that moment. But in a good way. I praise him for his enthusiasm. I am here to recognize it.