The park was deserted, just as she’d hoped. Solitude was what she needed at the moment instead of company. She would burst into tears if someone asked what was wrong. The death of her mother left her hurting and depressed, adrift in an ocean of self-pity. They’d been more than parent and child, they were friends. Now the house was lonely and cold without laughter and joy they’d shared. Taking a walk in the park they’d frequented over the years probably wasn’t good therapy, but it beat having the walls close in as she packed donation boxes and sorted what she wanted to keep. Most people kept too much and burdened themselves with sentimentality. She wanted to cherish her mother’s memory but understood that a few significant items were better than closets full of things left unused or visited for decades.
Her reverie was so intense that without realizing it she wandered into a section of the park she’d never visited. When she finally became cognizant of her surroundings, she was lost. Looking around, she saw several paths going in different directions. Which way had she come? If she did an about face could she find her way back to her starting point? After a bout of indecision she chose one of the paths and hoped for the best. After only a few yards, she took a wrong turn, but rather than cause her to suffer, the path turned into a cure for her despondency, though she didn’t know that at the time. Fearful now, her anxiety mounted with each step.
The path led through a stand of trees and emerged into a sunlit meadow where hundreds of people milled around, laughing, smiling, and romping about with abandon. A bandstand stood on one side of the grassy expanse and a series of tents sporting brightly colored flags fluttering on the breeze occupied the other. People with long hair wearing beads and feathers beckoned her to join them. The smell of patchouli oil and marijuana dominated as she drew near. To her, it looked like the type of gathering her mother would have attended in the sixties. She’d seen pictures of her mother dressed like this, smoking a joint at a concert in the photo albums she’d inherited. She knew her mother once sang for a rock and roll band such as the one currently mounting the stage. Dazed and confused, she moved through the crowd without feeling connected. It was as if the people were ether and she was the only solid object there.
As she neared the stage, she saw a woman pick up a microphone and begin to sing lyrics to a classic song from days gone by. It was one of her mother’s favorites. Sly and the Family Stone’s Everyday People. She knew the words by heart since they’d played the album Stand hundreds of times. Its timeless message still relevant decades later. Taking a closer look, she was amazed to see that the woman singing was her mother. Face rapturous, transmitting love and happiness, centered in the moment. It suddenly struck her that everyone had their moment in the sun and she was being afforded a glimpse into one experienced by someone she loved. Tears of joy poured from her eyes as her sadness was replaced by the understanding that though all things must pass, each was significant in the fabric of time.
Moments later, the scene dissolved and she found herself standing in the parking lot next to her car. Reaching into her purse for her keys, she knew it was time for her to choose her own destinations for the rest of her life. Sadness and sorrow would only lead into darkness. She needed to pick up the microphone and sing her own favorite song.