(Kathleen's birthday, part two, unedited version)
"Daddy," the little girl has her hands folded and is looking up at her father. "When will it stop? I want to get on."
"Soon, darling," her father assures her.
"I don't think it'll ever stop." The little girl says.
"Sweetie it'll stop." Daddy takes her gently by the hand, gently squeezes. "See it's stopping now."
When the carousel slows down but has not quite stopped, Kathleen steps onto the platform and grabs the brass support pole. The momentum of the machine grabs her with a **** onto the ride and into a white horse with big blue eyes. Dropping her cigarette, she takes hold of the pole that goes through the center of the horse. She struggles to put her foot into the stirrup, finds it, and throws her leg over the horse. The carousel music begins to play. The ride trembles and starts with a jolt.
A man is staring at Kathleen. Sitting on the pony has made her short skirt ride well up on her shapely legs, but she is too drunk to care. When the man comes over, she hands him her ticket.
The ticket man goes over to the little girl and her daddy who are sitting in a gold chariot pulled by two red horses.
The little girl looks at her father, and says, "Ooooh, daddy, I love this."
The man smiles back and strokes his daughter's hair.
The heat makes the dizziness that Kathleen is feeling grow worse and as the ride picks up speed, she begins to see two of everything. There are two rows of pinball machines, eight flashing signs, and too many prize machines. The red , blue, and green lights from the ride signs blend together like when a car drives at night down a wet street. She feels the impulse to *****.
"Can we go on again?" The little girl asks.
"But honey the ride isn't over yet."
Kathleen finds that if she concentrates on other things the dizziness and the nausea become less severe. She tries to perceive the images as a montage like the elements that make up a painting or life. When she does this, and as she becomes accustom to the movement of the machine, the floating , spinning objects come together. The circling ride creates a cooling breeze and the blurring of lights becomes a beautiful waterfall.
The horses in front are always becoming the horses in the back and the horses in back are always turning into the horses in front. All horses gallop ahead. Settling back into the saddle, she follows them riding her white pony towards the receding waterfall.
You can lose all sense of the clock and who you are and that is alright with Kathleen. That is the way she feels. She has left something behind her. She does not know what, but whatever it is, the merry-go- round will chase it away.
She leans forward to embrace the ride.
Then just as suddenly as it started, the ride is slowing down. The music stops playing.
First she feels the heat and then the sickness in her stomach as the dizziness returns. Kathleen climbs down off the pony. She goes careening backwards and then she lunges for balance falling forward. The merry-go-round trembles, starts with a **** , and rights her. Slowly, it picks up speed bringing her to the exit of the building. Kathleen stumbles down off the platform and goes through the exit door careening into a railing and almost falling into Wesley Lake.
All the terrible things that people did to her comes crawling back to her like the sounds of an animal dying in its hidden place. The wisdom is heavy and centers just below her naval.
She takes a few steps to the curb, hears the carousel music and knows the ride is beginning again. Kathleen sits down on the sidewalk curb and it all comes out choking her, taking her breath away. The ****** abuse, self doubt, the alienation and loneliness, it all comes out, and she is enlightened.
There is so much of it so she lies down facing a world of decaying buildings and broken dreams. Her marvelous mind holds a perfect picture of the memories. Years in various foster homes where she felt like she never had a home.
Her son comes and sits with her on the couch. Her arm around him as they listen to the din of thunder.
Jack's sad face stares up at her from the table where he is sitting on the night they met. "I'm one -third Sioux, " she tells him, tasting the smoke from her cigarette as she exhales, and he smiles at her so she sits down.
But the mockingbird is singing from the world of scattered thoughts and empty lots. The images shoot off into a dark land, exploding, illuminating, then growing dim and dimmer, light and warmth fading into cold and darkness.
(next part resumes with Jack playing pool at the bar)