Reassurance

It’s the dream where a man and a woman stand on the beach. The woman could be me, but I see through the man, his fears. Our love is growing thin, he is afraid that this is the end. And this is the last attempt. If he doesn’t reclaim my love tonight, this is it. And on the beach we stand, other couples, groups are arriving as the sun sets. We begin to move towards the curling waves, preparing to wade in to await the Elven star, the one of reassurance. I turn him to face me, and I stare into his face. I see what he sees when he stares into mine. I feel his worry.

As him, I feel the kiss. It is a soft peck, the precursor to the three gentle kisses she always gives. The last kiss is held, and he feels the love, he feels the joy it is simply being with him, in simple form. Clasping hands, we move forward as the sky darkens and then lightens with stars.

People are waist deep in the water talking, laughing, and the ocean breeze flips curls and tops of dresses and shirts. Our arms are around each other as we look from east to west, expecting the star to shine where the sun has set, but still unsure. A flash of light bolts between the people in the water. It is a pale yellow, hidden by the murk of the sea. He bends down and captures the light, not knowing what it could be. It is a black miniature rottweiler, small enough to fit in his palm. An orb of yellow grows around it as it pants and wags its butt in excitement. Ooos and Aaahs are heard, but not towards our curious find, but towards the Elven star, she has appeared, man times larger than the others, brighter and magnificent. Holding our little pup together, it glowing in our hands, I kiss him again, and as we part, we feel each other’s smiles.

Rose

I was young, and we were leaving my grandmother’s house. I had brought with me a little native american doll my father had given me as a souvenir from one of his trips to a state far away. She had two thick ebony braids, coarse, like my mother’s hair. Her brown eyes would close under thick lashes when I lay her down. The rest of her body soft plush except for her hands. I had a lot of barbies at that age, and I kept getting white dolls. I always asked for the African-American,¬†Hawaiin, or, the very rare, Native American ones. The dark skin had always appealed to me, as if they lived in the sun, and had more fulfilled lives. It was a childish notion, but even now I appreciate a good tan.

But my father had brought me this one, and I had not let her out of my sight for days. So while I sat in the back seat of my father’s brown explorer, playing with my doll in the shrinking daylight, my parents were telling me about something. Perhaps explaining why my sister and I have such a large gap between our ages, and how my father and his brother had a similar gap.

Unprompted, I asked if my grandparents only wanted two children. The car was silent for a moment except the hum of a country guitar on the radio.

“Your grandmother had another child. A daughter, but she died really young.”

“Was she older or younger than you?”

“She was older.”

“So you had an older sister…What was her name?”

Again, silence, I don’t think my parents were ready to explain the complexities of death to me yet, but my father answered anyway, “She died before they could name her.”

I held my doll’s hands and had her do a little dance, her eyes flying open and snapping closed.

“What would you have named her?”

The doll’s braids whipped back and forth, as if caught in a dizzying dance, rushing up to a peak of energy before she would collapse.

“I would have named her Rose, I guess.”

The doll paused in my lap. I made her sit, and I stared at her, “My doll’s name is gonna be Rose. After my aunt.”

My parents looked at each other for a second. A glance I couldn’t decipher, nor did I really care, Rose was dancing again, and I had to focus on that.

collision

What was I thinking before I ran into that mustang? That’s the one thing I keep going back to.

My phone wasn’t in my hand, so it can’t have been about a text I just read. My music was on low, and I wasn’t singing. It was a road I had traveled millions of times, especially in the summer.

I remember the scene. The sky was a clear blue. A constant that week, with degrees over a hundred each day. My car didn’t have A/C, but the breeze was bearable since I was driving along the marshes toward the beach.

My mind was elsewhere, but where?

Could I have been thinking of him? And the way he will lay next to me, stroking my face, kissing my eyelids? The only thing uncertain is the when.

Was I thinking about my story, and how I couldn’t figure how to proceed from the kitchen to the discovery? What words would best mark the path and her own agency?

Maybe I was thinking about friends, the paths they are wandering down, or stuck on. How I was stuck on this one, waiting for time to speed up.

I could have been rehearsing my introduction to the writing group that I never attended that day, whose whereabouts I am still uncertain.

Perhaps I could have been lamenting over the epidemic of urban sprawl which plagues the U.S. and keeps me so far from where I want to go.

Which of these so possessed my mind that when I came back I noticed, only too late, that the car in front was braking, and that my car could not brake as quickly?

I couldn’t even trust myself to do something as simple as driving from point A to point B.