|lost lake by Owen Perry|
i had one of the worst dreams of my life. i woke at 4am. i forced myself out of a nightmare. after lying semi-concious for a moment, i opened my eyes to escape from the recurring images and sounds. i saw a movement out of the corner of my eye and rolled over. Lola, who slept with Ever and I, was awake and rose. she sat up silently and reached her arm out to me, lay it on me. i rubbed her arm.
'mommy, i had a bad dream', she said. me too, i told her. i scooted over Ever and lay next to Lola and kissed her head and she fell back asleep.
i rose and peed and lay back in bed with a dim light and the life of Mary Boleyn. i read determinedly until the images and sounds of the nightmare let way to the stamped black type of some else's life.
a little Asian girl, three years old, falls to the ground from somewhere- where? she has a beautiful round face and her hair is shoulder length. she lies unconscious on the floor. i look at her and shake my head. she's dead, i think to myself.
i turn and take a few steps away. i hear a noise. a soft and childlike noise. a little girl giggling and then saying ow and then saying ' mommy? '
i turn and the little girl is still lying on the concrete, only there is an enormous, python sized snake behind her, jaws dislocated and open, only he is not a python, because he has enormous teeth, teeth which he has sunk into back and forefront of the little girl's head.
for one horrific moment the little girl thinks the snake is her mother, petting her head. this is the worst moment of any dream i've ever had, this child's soft giggle, the snake's fangs pierced into her tiny skull, her belief that is the love of her life, when it is the worst suffering she will ever know.
the little girl starts to scream. i scream. i grab the snake. i scream for Mr. Curry to help, help, help. he appears from the nowhere of dreams and says no, there's nothing to do, but i keep screaming, so he grabs the snakes head and pulls it off of the girl. the large wounds bleed. i hold her and rock her and rock and rock harder and harder until i can rock myself awake.
i have been thinking about this dream all day. yesterday, i read a news story about a local boy who was on a hike nearby my home and a rattlesnake struck him from the bushes and he was bit. he grabbed the rattlesnake from his leg and threw it. the same news story mentioned a teenager here last year who was bit three times on his stomach.
and then i read this story. this little girl, a blonde, solid little girl with a beautiful smile, like Ever, was brutally injured and eventually died from a car accident where she was in only a booster and a regular seatbelt, instead of the 5 point harness. her dad was driving.
in the last few years, in order to survive, in order to not go insane with anxiety, fear and heartbreak, i have faded. i have numbed my emotions to the point where i feel very little. i am more aware of my values than my emotions most of the time. i taught myself how to do this as a young person, when i realized that the depression i lived with at that time did not allow me to have normal feelings, and 'normal feelings' are the basis of civilization. i knew if i wanted to stay sane, i had to attach myself to actions based on values instead of emotions.
there are times when i am afraid of myself, of how deeply i can put my arms into the lake and not find the floor. i have emotions, but not the ones that i would be having if i had a therapist- a guide across the lake- or if.
these combinations of factors were poured like colored dye into the lake of my brain, and this dream is what it gave back to me.
just as i am sometimes in complete awe of the beauty of life, also i am in awe of the horrendous, inexplicable suffering that human beings experience. nothing has ever made me so attune to this than having children, children who emerge from the womb for many mothers with a god face. our children represent not only the meaning of life- love- but the reality of life- reproduction, and become everything. in my nightmares, i allow them to be hurt. in my nightmare, i walk away.