i had an great aunt that inhabited that kind of wonderland. i was too young to appreciate the tragedy that sent her there. i could only revel in the place she had came to rest. there was tea and mustard sandwiches. the table was always set to include Queen Elizabeth, my aunt's sister, and a long dead prime minister who had become her priest. the absent people were represented with framed photos and my aunt spoke to them. i never heard the photos speak, i never saw elizabeth drink the tea or the priest make the blessing but my aunt did. and this was enough for me. the sheer contentment i felt would sometimes take my breath away. after the refreshments we all went to the parlor and elizabeth and the priest would watch while aunt and i did the highland jig. the same scenes were played out for nearly every visit. it was for me how happy felt.
another wondrous woman i visited was the wife of let's say, my eye doctor. this was a case of my mother volunteering me for a bit of psychiatric nurse training. my being under the age of 10 didn't seem to bother anyone. "just sit with her for a while," they said, "give the caretaker a break." i loved it. i was at times a wee bit scared because this gal was wildly unpredictable. she wore flowered caftans and her hair was piled high on her head in curls we called bubbles. she smoked and things sometimes caught fire. as soon as we were alone she always asked if i wanted a boiled egg and i always i did. she would put an egg in a pot, sans water and turn up the heat. smoke and or fire usually was the finale of all our visits. i would always catch hell from the returnees about not stopping her. stopping her never occurred to me. the fear i felt was tempered greatly by the anticipation of what would happen next. what would i possibly miss if i ran screaming from the room. so i happily sat next to a smouldering pillow or listened to conspiracy theories because personal danger cannot compete with entertainment. the highlight of most visits involved a tray of rings. the kind of ring you get for a successful doctor's visit. well mrs had her own large tray. we would sit like two young debutantes and try on rings. picking our favorites from each row. we discussed what situation would be best for each style. when we had exhausted our imaginations the rings were returned to the tray and she would light a cigarette and i wondered how a person could get their hands on such a large tray of rings. i always left with the idea that this was the type of life i wanted to lead.
i have always suspected i might be crazy and in my life i have attracted some pretty freaky peoplev- to be honest i've been known to campaign for them. but, i have also been very fortunate to also have attracted some really sensible people. the sort of folks who hold the balloon strings that keep me from floating off to god knows where. because sometimes i like to inhabit that place where reason is often pushed aside for something more entertaining.
and as an added value - here is my favorite poem.
My candle burns at both ends;
It will not last the night;
But ah, my foes, and oh, my friends--
It gives a lovely light!
i feel this way approximately ALL the time. it runs through my head at least once a day. a mantra if you will
so light her up