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The Travels of a Young Wild me

Updated: Oct 28, 2017

I have secrets

Every Thursday for a full year, I snuck away from my life in Sarasota, Florida.

I would drive north. Not too far, just two hours. I would begin my day at Busch Gardens. Entering the amusement park, I would bypass everything else to get to the Gorillas.

I would sit in the same spot, really close to the glass and watch them.

I imagined that the gorillas knew me and talked to each other about how annoying it was to have me come and stare at them every week. “Here she comes, fellas. I told you. Doesn't this bitch have anything else better to do with her time?” I didn't.

This was one of three stops I made on Thursdays' and there was nothing that could be better for me to do. All morning I would sit and watch them do their day in pure fascination.

Every kid that came by to look at the Gorillas, felt what I felt. In "WOW" of them. I wanted to be in there. I wanted to be fuzzy, rub my belly, climb stuff and sleep face down. I got lost in contemplation and fuzzy monkey daydreams. Around noon, I would say goodbye to the Gorillas and leave the amusement park toward my next destination. Is this how an adult should act? I drove to St. Petersburg. Salvador Dali has a museum there on the edge of the ocean. He is a surrealist painter and my favorite artist. He is dead now, but his paintings are alive and well and carved into my sockets. I would sit and look at one painting forever and find new things.

Every Thursday, I would paint his paintings with my eyes.

I would get really close to them to see how he moved the brush. I was accepted that year, to one of the best art schools in the country. I declined going because I could never paint like a madman. I could never paint like Salvador Dali.

Only with my eyes. Around four, I would leave the museum, and continue on my way. Destination number three was the dessert of my day. I would arrive at a woman's house with great anticipation. A fantastic friend.

Once I went through the gate, and onto her property, anything could happen. Her yard had a scattering of giant crystals, rusty metal benches, dead flower beds, wild status, and hidden treasures in trees.

The inside of her house was light-less except for some candles that looked like they had been burning forever. The house was full of more giant crystals, empty bird nests, moody pictures, and old books covered in dust. It always took a while to find her in that house, and finding her was never disappointing.

She was the most beautiful woman I had ever seen.

To me, she looked like a witch. Curly black hair framed her face, her deep gray eyes were fatally gorgeous and she always wore long dresses. Her eyes were almost loud.

We would drink tea and talk complete nonsense. One day we sat on the roof, bound and determined to drink all our tea with our eyes crossed. It is not easy to drink tea on the roof with your eyes crossed.

We danced to music that wasn't playing.

We laughed at ourselves.

We made up languages to express how ridiculous we looked.

We enjoyed each other's creativity.

We always ended up having a deep conversation about life and love. There was never a reason to be self-conscious about our behavior. Self-consciousness had other days to thrive. Not Thursdays. I said goodbye when the tea was gone and the sky was dark. I would drive home and walk into my house and back into my more formulated life.

No one knew my secrets.

When someone appears to have no limits it looks like insanity.

Thursdays looked like insanity.

Could insanity be living in a padded room? Walls made of limits. Your outfit, your judgments disguised as a straight jacket. Your imaginary friend, the self-talk in your head that you argue with about why the walls in your padded room are important.

Who talks themselves into being limited?

Not children. Children are filled with wonder. Where did your wonder go? I found mine on Thursdays.

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