I roll over in the dark. It feels like I’ve been sleeping for hours. I turn my head to the clock: 2:20am. My clock is 20 minutes too fast. I do the math. 2:00am. I have not been sleeping for hours. Only 1,2,3,4 hours. I think. The wind is fierce, seemingly whipping in through the screen and then sucking back, pulling the screen into the window frame. The thumping and the whirling brought me out of sleep, keep me conscious as I roll back over to find that sweet spot in the bed. My sheets are soft. They rarely let me down.
The red of the dream the wind disturbed sits just behind my eyes. In the dark I can still see it. Red, red, red. Vibrant, lively, noticeable red. In the morning, in the gray light of this miserable Wisconsin spring, I will see similar shades of red as I walk across campus, and I will think of the vestige of that dream. Whatever it was.
I dreamt of nature and resumes. Jobs in prisons and jobs without roofs. Jobs. I dream of the future I have scrubbed from my mind. I dream of the future I have decided not to decide.
Sylvia Plath: “I want to eat my cake abroad and come home and find it securely on the doorstep if I still choose to accept it for the rest of my life.”
Hertha Marks Ayrton, who is this?
Did I learn of her in school? Do I know Thomas Edison, Albert Einstein, Benjamin Franklin, Eli Whitney. Sure, sure. Is it any wonder then that in first grade I did the book report on Amelia Earhart. Is it any surprise I did that junior year English paper on the Bronte sisters. Don’t tell me my stories will be remembered. Don’t tell me the practice isn’t worthwhile. Don’t tell me…We will forget, like we always do. We allow ourselves to be told, forget. We allow ourselves to be told another version. We stop fact-checking and we stop asking for proof and we stop challenging the louder voices. We stop remembering our dreams in the morning.
I found myself asleep again when my alarm gurgled at 6:30. I stumbled from the back (front) of my apartment to the front (back), where I chugged my glass of water and looked out on the quarry ridge. There was a bird sitting on the balcony. Fat and gray and typical of the fat, gray birds in the midwest. Sitting, sitting. It watched me walk up–closer to the window–and we looked at each other. I had the strangest feeling…I remembered the red of my dream and the words on the page and I felt like that bird had found its way–flown to me from hours before. Broken free from the bounds of my dream right onto my balcony. Like I escaped from sleep with the static of my clock. I felt found. don’t leave me, you pigeon.
Girl! Terror Pigeon
Please allow me,
To speak this clearly:
There is not will nor force or power on this earth
To keep you from me.
And where I’m going
Will you come to then?
Cause all I want to do and see
Would be infinitely better with you beside me!
I cannot say it,
Words can’t convey it,
The way that my whole body felt,
That night in Becky’s car,
When we were singing,
Well it clicked right then,
That four months of denying it could make it no less true,
I absolutely, positively, had to, had to, had to,
I want to be there when you wake.
I want to be there when you need.
I want to be there when you laugh.
I want to be there when you speed.
I want to be there when you’re hurt.
I want to be there ’til you’re fine.
I want to be there for tonight.
I want to be there all the time.
All the time.
And you know what I know.
And you feel what I feel.
There is nothing about you I won’t love.