You Can’t Always Get What You Want

About once a year, I start itching for a road trip to Las Vegas, a town I can’t help but love, for all its flaws. Like Hollywood, it’s a city built on dreams, a place where you feel like anything is possible. That’s an illusion, of course, as artificial as the blue skies with fluffy white clouds painted on the casino ceilings. In reality, the house always wins and what happens in Vegas does have consequences. But sometimes a healthy dose of fantasy is exactly what is needed.

As I mentioned in my last post, I’m feeling the need to break out of this shell that Mike’s death has caused to grow around me… to take risks, to be a little reckless, to remember that I still have a lot of life left to live. What better place to do that than Sin City itself, right? So I decided to scratch that itch last week with three nights at Paris Las Vegas, which is my favorite casino on the Strip, my “happy place.”

I booked an 80-minute massage and spent an entire afternoon at a spa, lounging in the jacuzzi, feeling completely pampered. I wandered around Paris soaking up the atmosphere, had eggs benedict and a mimosa at Le Café Il St. Louis and a decadent dessert crepe at La Creperie. I played some slots. I spent my nights at Planet Hollywood, listening to some talented musician friends do their thing. I danced. I laughed more than I have since Mike died. And I was so caught up in my experiences, I didn’t miss Mike. I thought about him when I was watching my friend’s new band, Jukebox Heroes, and it struck me that Mike would like their music. But for the first time, that thought wasn’t accompanied by pain because I couldn’t share this with Mike. It was enough to experience it for myself.

I didn’t get everything I wanted out of this trip to Vegas. I took a risk that didn’t pay off and suffered some disappointment. I also ate and drank too much, and I didn’t get enough rest. When I left on Tuesday afternoon, I was physically and emotionally exhausted. I felt hollowed out, empty, numb. I put in one of the mix CDs my friend Brad made for me, with music he warned might make me cry. I thought tears might do me good. But the music was mostly soothing, as was the desert landscape that perfectly suited my state of mind. I cried during a couple of songs, but mostly as I drove I reflected on my experiences over the last three days… and I realized something.

The trip may not have been everything I wanted it to be, but it was exactly what I needed right now. The quiet moments reconnecting with a friend I’ve missed were more valuable than adrenaline rushes of excitement. I had a safe space in which to realize that joy is still possible for me, and that one day falling in love again will also be possible. To quote the Stones, “You can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometime you just might find you get what you need.”

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~ by hourbeforedawn on July 14, 2010.

3 Responses to “You Can’t Always Get What You Want”

  1. Beautiful. SO glad you got what you needed. =hugs=

  2. right on! 😀

  3. Wow…speechless..this is truly soul food Liramay. Thank you.

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