Thursday, August 27, 2009


I always liked Florence Griffith-Joyner, the great US track athlete from the late 80s and early 90s, and I was shocked when she suddenly died.

Here's a pretty amazing article about Al Joyner and his incandescent love for Florence.

Dreams were her gift. Every morning, she'd wake up and tell her husband, Al, how she'd dreamed about angels or daughters or catastrophe. Good or bad, she'd always wake up with a story to tell -- until the day she never woke up at all.

Al never had that gift. His dreams were vague, or they'd escape him 20 seconds into his day. He had nothing to jot down like she did, nothing to file away for a conversation over dinner. Even after she died some 11 years ago, he never dreamt of her, could never summon her back into his subconscious. This frustrated him to no end, because, once he was awake, all he did was daydream about her.

But then, about 10 weeks ago, in the middle of his deepest sleep, Al Joyner finally saw Flo Jo. She had driven up in a car, smiling, and strolled casually toward him. She was stunning, as always, and wore her hair in a bun, just the way he'd always adored it. He asked her, "What are you doing here?" And her response was, "I'm just coming to check on you." He didn't know what to say next. Their daughter, Mary, was about to graduate from high school, and he wanted to ask, "Are you here for graduation?" But before he could speak, his alarm clock went off.

The buzzing jarred him, and his dream was barely intact now. He could see her leaving, climbing back into her car, smiling again. He wanted more, wanted a full-blown conversation, but an instant later, Al was awake, the moment over.

He sat up in bed, both agitated and wistful. That was it? That was the whole dream? He hadn't finished. There was so much to tell her, about him and Mary and premonitions that had come true. There was also news to share, news she'd probably beam about.

The next night, he went to bed early, hoping Flo Jo would reappear, hoping the dream would pick up where it left off.

But when he woke up, nothing. He wanted to punch his pillow. Nothing.

Do read the whole thing.


Lynn said...

Every sci-fi or action movie must have catwalks over yawning chasms. It's a rule.

Anonymous said...

What an amazing article. Thanks for sharing it.