Rejected from three different publications, I decided to publish here. Oh well!
I dreamt about the tornadoes the other night again. This used to be my mom’s dream, her nightmare. She told me about it once. I know I haven’t taken over her dream, but I don’t know what is making the winds in my head swirl up and act the way they do. In this version of the tale, the funnel touched down on the prairie of my heart and the dizzying speed with which the rest of the dust whipped up created perfect twister weather conditions. It was raining, before the tornado, not the whipping, windy sideways rain I experienced a couple of weeks ago as I crouched, typing, in the corner of my dining room. We never had storms of this nature in New York City. No, this was a steady rain, falling from the high tops of my eyes, but was windshield-wipered away before it fell too far. “Here we go again,” I sigh, as I ruefully looked at another punctured umbrella, and listened to the wind howl. This one I bought in New York City and somehow, it made its way into a box with me, to come here. I cut my arm on it today and my cut bled. And in my frustration and distraction, trying to open the umbrella, I smacked my elbow right on that tender bone. A violent, heart-shaped bruise arose. “Good thing I’m used to bruises too,” I thought.
In the light of day, everything is slightly different. I practice yoga. I write. I move. I walk back through my neighborhood and past a mother and her child. She smiles at me, a little tired, a little calm, carrying this little person. I remember that I love the way babies smell – soft and powdery and light. I know they’re imperfect tiny humans and wont to scream and expel bodily fluids at will, but they have this sweet, light, unique scent that seems to know no borders of place, time, or age. This mother, she carried her baby this morning under the whispering leaves, the child’s hair dark and slick, with big, liquid eyes that gazed out. The baby emitted a couple of baby noises that only they make so well, somewhere between light, animalistic grunts and soothing, curious squeaks. They’re like little kittens to me, equally helpless and charming, but far more fascinating. These are beings. These are future doctors and lawyers and teachers. They could go any way; their histories are not set, and are made of the same matter as their soft powdery scents and the sunbeams from which they are protected.
When I woke up this morning, it was grey and light; my heart didn’t pound from tornado nightmares, but from the incessantly sudden air-raid siren alarm. Then I remembered where and what I was and shook off sleep. Yesterday, I sat and meditated and in this state, I suddenly snapped out of my attentive breathing and just-being, because it hit me that everything was connected. I and the carpet and the sunlight turning the backs of my eyelids a rosy shade were together and not separate. The funnel of realization and well-rounded connectivity was a shock that set my heart thundering, but I kept my eyes closed and tried to breathe. I can’t shake this sensation, even on the bus, going to yoga, after waking without dreaming. I’m part of that metal rail. I’m part of that woman who won’t shut up, the man who plays videos, loud and obnoxiously without using headphones at the tender 6:30 AM hour. Am I creating new habits? Or just releasing old, tired ones? Is there a difference? Is there?
It’s supposed to be sunny for the rest of the week, and I wonder if I will dream about that house again. The house is never touched by tornadoes, and I explore more rooms each time. Last time there was a hand clasping mine as I walked, finally, not alone. I showed him a few rooms and we laughed, before the family that lived there caught us and invited us for drinks, much to my surprise. I dreamed that I was scared of this family, and tried to lie and say I was the babysitter, but she knew that I was not and was kind to us anyway. This time I also learned where this house’s cellar is located. I was careful to make sure that it did not have a lock. This time I also dreamed about Pittsburgh’s mysterious North Side again and I guess the house was located there. The skies were clear and I was alone, and no winds were threatening the peace. This time, I brought binoculars and somehow knew to use a compass. This time…this time all will be well.
“I didn’t need these things. I didn’t need them.”