As a rule, I don’t start work until 7AM. It’s 6:42 and I’ve been sitting at my desk just idling over breakfast since 6AM. Typical of me. I’m not a morning person but Jeb is and gets me up early so we can carpool into work together. I got dressed in my sleep (thankfully not putting anything on inside out this time) and played touch and go while listening to the most recent Castle novel, Frozen Heat and bright-eyed and bushy-tailed Jeb drove the car. It would have been a 15-ton missile off course if it’d been me. Jeb drives. We’ll live in this reality a while longer that way methinks.
I think of my grandmother’s death at this hour and still think on some level that I only dreamt it and that maybe she was only a sick and what a shame to bury her instead of waiting for her to bounce back again like she always has before. But I know bodies are temporary and it’s only the soul that’s forever. I see her on the other side, reconnecting with friends and family that have gone before as well as her little dog Buster and know she’s okay. Makes it almost a moot point to contact her now just to ask how she’s doing when I already know. Still, I’d like to talk to her again. I just don’t know where to begin.
I expected clouds and was going to sleep them off, but the buttery yellow light of sunrise bled through my eyelids and I opened them just briefly to the beauty of the day’s new sun scraping over the sharp mountain peaks, bleeding butter as it went, the night’s dew transpiring in the light, a blanket of glowing mist rising up from the valley like so many sparkling souls. Beautiful.
My eyes flickered closed again.
I sometimes think I’m a walk-in at this hour, my past seeming so far from me. That I’m not who I grew up as. That I was lost back in Iran that one time I floated free of my body, called by the full moon while stray cats fought on the roof and the city streets glowed orange in the street lights and grew more distant beneath me until they blurred into one, a mere speck of light on the black desert vastness like just another star in space.
I wanted to fly free, but a fear held me tethered: I couldn’t leave my baby son; not without a fight, and knew I couldn’t take him this was, that the journey was meant to be taken alone. So I fell and gave fight, beginning with the of my outflung arm upon Reza’s sleeping noggin, waking him with a start and cry of pain.
He growled something at me, took up his mat, and went to sleep in the hall.
Was I same person that floated up as the one that fell down no longer blinded by misplaced love. There was no religious feeling of any kind left in me, only a sense of the spiritual, which was so definitely not the same thing. The gooey sentamentalist in me was gone in a puff of ozone scented smoke. The fighter had entered the ring and ready now to give as good as I got…
Much later, another husband, abuses beginning anew, I told him, “I’m not putting up with that again. Not from you or anyone else.”
I took the kids and left him. When he gave chase, sobbing and offering roses there on my mother’s porch, grabbing my hand and pressing into it again my discarded wedding ring, I told him “Stop. You’re getting my sleave wet,” dropped the ring, and shut the door on him.
My dreams at that time were frequently shared by my mother.
We were in simular places at the time. She was still with my evil step-father and sporadically left him now and then when he was being particularly awful to her. But unlike me, she was still going back to him when he cried on her doorstep or at her hospital bed offering empty apologies and roses that may have as well been soggy paper for they were worth. Yet every time left her more inclined to make the break. She just needed to work up her courage while all the while we were giving that to each other in small but steady doses.
Our dreams were a reflection of this…
One night when it was raining in buckets, wind howling, thunder cracking, we both dreamed that the valley below the house was flooding and that the rising water had incredibly reached our backyard and was creeping into the basement. We were packing up the motor home and preparing to head for the mountains.
In the morning, we practically collided with one another in the kitchen in our joint haste to relay our identical dreams.
Another time… Well several times… She dreamt she was flying out over the valley while I dreamt of watching her and trying to follow suit until she finally took pity and came back down to give me instruction. She taught me how to lift myself, to run and leap into the air and bat my arms like a bird in order to take control of my flight until I got the hang of it. So I’d get up into the air, beating it furiously, and follow clumsily along albeit meeting obstacles along the way – fence tops, then power lines, then trees – until finally, with much practice and her continued guidance, I learned to rise above all that.
My past itself seems like a dream, yet I can recall it in great detail. My first memory being about 10 months old standing by my mother who sat on the couch in our then apartment, feeding me apricot baby food from a tiny spoon. My favorite.
She says I began walking at 9 months so I’m guessing I was 10 months old when this memory formed because I was definitely standing on my own in this memory and feeling newly accomplished about it, about the strength of my puny legs being able to support me though shaking just a little.
Deciding to fight back was like learning to walk all over again. It seems like another life entirely. I’m not shaking any more. Well, not much anyway.