Oct. 5, 2021

GIRLS JUST NEED TO HAVE FUN.

 In 2012, DYS offered me a position in Little Rock, Arkansas as Special Education Director for the State's Incarcerated Youth Program. Without hesitating, I resigned my teaching position in Pine Bluff, Arkansas.  Finally, after five years of commuting,  I'd be working and living in the same town.  

On this--my final day of teaching-- I decided to take my lunch break late and not return to the school.  Before leaving town, I drove past a few old landmarks for a final goodbye; to say one last “thank you” for the good times.  Driving through the city’s abandoned downtown, I remembered the crowds that once gathered there to shop; to meet with friends; to watch the frequent parades; and to stop for the many trains whose tracks intersected with Main Street.

 Driving down the Martha Mitchell Freeway, past the town’s oldest cemetery whose permanent residents were all--- familiar names--- I had the urge to turn into the cemetery gates. Perhaps I needed to visit my brother who’d been living there since 1994.   Jerry’s wife buried him beside her father and grandparents and in 2012, joined them.  This cemetery will never have me as an occupant.  Something inside tells me to go back to China.... to the place I was happiest. So, I’ll be cremated and my ashes will be spread on the Great Wall.

I parked and walked among the headstones until I found Jerry’s grave. It was February when Jerry died, the same month my Father died…only six years later.    I talked with Jerry for a while, shared a few memories and a prayer, before walking back to the car.

 Many people are afraid to visit the town’s most-popular cemetery--- day or night. Pine Bluff has become a war zone of drugs, killings, and robberies, and, it seems, no place is safe. Looking around, I was the only person in sight; there were no cars, bicycles, or pedestrians in any direction. THe afternoon was bright and sunshiny and... I felt completely safe. Maybe that’s when I got the idea. Who knows why an intelligent woman--like me--suddenly “loses” all dignity and good sense… and commits an act that is crazy, reckless, beyond insane...and so-much fun.

I knew exactly where to find my ex-husband….I’d been to the family plot for the graveside services of his mother, father, and nephew. Driving there, I didn’t hesitate for a minute or rethink my objective…not once. I stepped from the car, walked to his grave, and, doing what came naturally,  positioned myself over the spot where his head rested. Taking one last look-around and seeing no one, I pulled down my pants and squatted (like the Chinese women taught me) for an enjoyable and much-needed “pee- pee.” I peed so much and for so long--- the artificial flowers near Jack's headstone seemed to perk up with new life.

For most of the ride back to Little Rock, I alternated between laughs and giggles.  I haven’t felt that wild since I got tipsy on Champagne back in 1960, climbed on a table at The Trio Club, and did a naughty-girl dance.

Through the years, I’ve been accused of being impulsive but never impulsive and crazy at the same time.  More than a few of my critics will be shocked, maybe disgusted, to read about my cemetery action…. but guess what?  I don’t care.

Still laughing, the "little girl in me" takes full responsibility.

Sally Miller