- Vol. 08
- Chapter 12
I have this recurring dream.
I am alone in the middle of a pasture. The grass is tall enough to reach my shins, as I only stand 3 feet tall. I jump, dance, and make imprints in the grass when I lay down to stare at the sky. The clouds part and a ray of sunshine beams down onto my face. I listen to the wind flow through the trees and across the grass. I stand to dance along, swaying my body back and forth. A bird calls to me and I shoot my arms out to the sides and swarm with him. A sound stops me and I am jolted awake.
This dream first comes to me the evening of my prom. I toss and turn next to my boyfriend, too uncomfortable to sleep. I dress myself and try my best not to wake any of the other sleeping teenagers. When I return home, I hide under my blankets and rock myself to sleep.
It comes again one night in college. My roommate wakes me from the bathroom floor, helps me wash, and tucks me into bed. Before closing my eyes, I look at her and see my mother’s face.
It comes months after starting my first job. My father’s voice pushes me to work hard and I pass out staying up to try to meet a deadline.
This time it comes on Christmas. I am thirty and at my parents’ for the holidays. The night before, we enjoy a large meal and discuss my successes. They check in on how I am getting along but never ask if I am happy.
When I wake, the morning fog is setting in and my pillow is wet. I grab my shoes and slip into the garage where my dad’s red Ford sits. The key hangs from the visor. I buckle in and back the car slowly out of the driveway. I drive through the town I’ve long left behind and am amazed that I can still find my way around. I pass the tree that my brother and I would race to after church to see who could climb the highest. The one that was cut down to make room for additional parking. I pass the bakery where we ordered the cake for my 11th birthday. The one that my little sister smashed her face into. I pass the old cemetery that the neighborhood kids used to bring flashlights to and exchange ghost stories. The one where Grandpa and Grandma were eventually buried. I drive so far that I lose sense of where I am.
I begin to make a U-turn, but something stops me. I see a small girl running through the grass arms shot out on either side. I watch her for a moment before stepping out of the car. I close the door gently behind me, but she hears and turns around.
She watches me as I start to cry.