Wednesday, January 19, 2005

I keep having this dream.

Not all the time. Maybe once a month, maybe less. I don't keep a dream journal, nor am I in touch with my inner innerness, so I don't know.

Sometimes we're sitting at some sort of coffee bar, at a counter lining a window. I can see the cars passing outside, and I can see our reflections. I'm with my grandfather, and when I see myself beside him, I'm smaller, somehow. Maybe younger. I'm twisting the straw up and down, up and down. It looks like iced tea in the clear plastic cup, but it has milk added, the way my grandmother always takes her tea, only it's over ice. I know my grandfather is drinking iced coffee, the way he always did when I was young. It's black, probably with a lot of artificial sweetener in it. I don't remember how he used to take it, but I remember the pitcher with the screw-on lid that he kept in his truck. We share the silence. I occationally mention something that's going on in my life. I'm aware of the fact that he's dead, and he will have to return to the cemetary soon, but I'm grateful for these little meetings. A bell rings over the door. I see and smell a fruit basket. Like the kind they make up at Christmas time, at the small town market where he worked. I realize we're sitting in that store, and I wonder where the produce that usually lines the front window has gone, and why they serve yuppy coffee. He tells me it's time to go. I look out at the cars, they seem to have stopped. Maybe, if I ignore him, he'll stay. When I look beside me, his coffee is mostly full. The wet, dripping straw is beside the sweating cup. It's not black any longer, it's an amber color with the milk obscuring the light passing through it. I wake up.

Sometimes, we are back at his old house, sitting below this bush that has grown out of control. I remember when it was a tiny thing that he planted to spite my grandmother along the brick path he layed by hand one summer when I wasn't around to help. It had grown sizeable by the time the house was sold, but in the dream, it is enormous, like the oak tree close to the edge of their property that I used to lay beneath during the summers, listening to the sound of the wind between the leaves. I'm reminded of how I do not spend summer days like this any more--kicking tree stumps, laying in grass just because I can, or swinging on their enormous porch swing. It's a sunny day in the dream--warm and golden, and I regret that my summers are now full of the mundanity of adult life. We're sitting in the grass, milky colored Tupperware glasses in hand. It's peach flavored tea; CrystalLite to be exact. I keep brushing the flat, waving leaves of this bush out of my face, marveling at how wonderful it is that he is able to lay in the grass with me. He hadn't been able to get down on the floor with me since his stroke when I was quite little. He tells me that once his drink is finished, he has to go. The hand-like leaf smacks me in the face again, and I brush it away. He's gone. The sky burns gold then pink, it turns from summer to fall and a shiver runs up my arms. I wake up.

The one I have least often takes place in winter. It's cold, the ground is frozen, but the day is very bright. I see the chapel at the cemetary, it's still cold and lonely on the inside, the threadbare carpet is the same one that was in my Uncle David's room at my Nonna's house, it is dusty and dirty, crumbs of drywall litter the floor. This is how it looked the day of his funeral. This is how it looks now, only the abandoned chapel's south wall has crumbled, and I can see into it from the hill upon which I now sit. I'm in a lawn chair, the kind with the green straps like my Nonna used to have. The other lawn chair actually reclines, and I'm jelous that it reclines. They crush into the frosty grassn but sit unevenly on the frozen mud. There's a stone marker in front of us, we're looking at it like a television set. It has nothing written on it. I am drinking iced tea in a peach frosted Tupperware glass, he is drinking iced coffee in a blue frosted glass. It isn't sunny, but it is very bright. I squint and can't see all of my surroundings, but when I look back, Fr. Abrose, the priest from Africa is holding a black book. He's wearing the off-white wool sweater that he wore when he visited my sister in the hospital and a black stole. The wind is whipping the stole, but he is standing there, smiling. I say something about it being cold enough to drink the tea without icecubes. My grandfather says it's OK to miss him, and I can talk to him any time. He likes our meetings, but it's time to go back. He's looking down, he means below. I follow his gaze, and can see what he sees, somehow. He has a casket waiting there. I realize we're sitting on top of his grave. When I look up from seeing through the earth and the coffin exterior, he is gone. I wake up.


Last night I drempt there were three chairs; Eleanor was there, too. Her glass was a frosted teal color. She was wearing a lilac pleated skirt that I vaugely remember her owning and a floral blouse with a big bow at the neck. She didn't have anything to say, but she was smiling, that joyful twinkle in her eyes. The one that was missing from the parafined, painted shell dressed so nicely in the casket.

**

I don't often remember my dreams, but I remember these. Every last detail, the chill of the wind on my skin, the dry air, the taste of the tea. I've also never talked about them before.

...

It's time for bed.

2 Comments:

Blogger chewy said...

i love the way you write. i'm adding you to my blog roll list. http://chewywatermelon.blogspot.com

2:37 AM  
Blogger Gretchen said...

You've done it again. It really seems like memoir is your strength, Tammy. When you start talking about scenes, vignettes, you really draw me in. Write on!

11:21 PM  

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