Monday, January 13, 2014
sometimes the hope of something terrible is the only thing that can destroy a fear.
last night, I dreamt about my grandfather, which means this morning, I am probably distant, detached and stuck in my own head, which could be why my husband left early for work. I don't blame my husband; he has the same mentality as I do: if there are too many thoughts getting caught up in the mind, then one must work. so, the first thing I did this morning was start laundry, make coffee and set up my desk. I functioned with work work work on my mind. I maybe said seven words to my husband; I probably didn't even say seven words.
the thing is, I don't like my grandfather. I could say that I hate him, but it's one of those hates that I have worked to incredible means to move past, a hate that I don't want to consider present anymore; something I would rather define as unfeeling uncaring empty-- I want my hate to be hollow. I want it to be a pit that I can throw things on top of and then finally forget about the original hate, the hate that forms everything, the hate that is decomposing, being ripped apart by the earth, beneath.
my husband, often, has such hopeful dreams. this morning, he dreamt of being the only man in a bionic world, and he dreamt of time travelings farther and farther back into the world, with people constantly telling him that he is doing something that his life will mean something great. my husband builds monuments that people can't figure out; he dreams about us both getting accepted into graduate school. he has flying dreams. even his nightmares read as adventure stories. he moves past things easily, but
i dream about none of these things. i dream of peculiar things, at best; I dream of the things I fear and pretend not to fear; I dream of the things I hate and pretend not to hate, and no matter how stoic I am in life, in my dreams, I live up to the way I feel inside.
last night, I dreamt that the bony wooden chairs in my parents' dining room were lined up against the wall. the room is a moss green; it has wood floors and four large windows. when you look out any window of the room, you see at least one enormous oak tree that is at least 100 years old. all these things attribute to the fact that the light of the room is never bright, and the air always looks green.
Tim and I sat in two of the boney wooden chairs lined up against the wall. I was smoking a cigarette, and neither of us were talking; we were just staring at the floor. on the floor, there was a small casket for a very short and tiny man: this was my grandfather's casket. my mother had stitched fabric on the casket; she had stitched the fabric in a patchwork design, sealing it shut, and there were blue candles, unlit, on the top.
I should mention that it was Christmas day, and everyone else was outside, making plans, figuring out what to do; everyone was there, and only Tim and I were inside, but suddenly,
the coffin started to move. right after I said, I'm so glad he's finally dead, the coffin started to move, and I started to hear my grandfather's muffled, stuttering voice inside. Tim and I were silent, staring at each other, both trying to decide what to do-- we could be moral or not. I mean, everyone was outside. we could've waited it out, held on, we could've been the final part. I mean, the thing was stitched shut. the door was bolted. my grandfather was locked outside of this world.
but, I went to the back door because it was Christmas. I told my dad that the coffin was moving, and then I went to the house next door and played with Layla. there was a dusty crystal chandelier, and the oak dining table that was missing from my parents' living room was there; all the doors were glass.
my grandfather knocked on the door. he was wearing a blue tee shirt and overalls; one of his eyes was red and bloody, like he broke a blood vessel, and one side of his face was bruised. he said nothing and handed me a telephone. on the phone,
a woman named Vivian said she was the assistant for one of the department chairs at the private university where I am employed. I thought it was my break, but she was just trying to get money from me; she said she found the cure to cancer, and it was Christmas after all.
when I got off the phone, another old professor from the same school was at my door. she looked sad, and she was carrying a big, carved oak box and a plain band that looked like a man's wedding ring. I made her tea; it was Christmas, and she wanted to give me some of her old jewelry.
I told Tim my dream and he said that it was strange, and that it meant something. he said the memories of your grandfather just won't die. and i said no, my grandfather just won't die.
since my grandmother died, my dad has taken to saying that only the good die young, and I don't believe that. lots of wonderful people live long, amazing lives, but some terrible people hang on like cockroaches, and that can make things confusing. either way, the death structure of someone else is not what matters. I have no photos of my grandfather, and I never will. I have not one fond memory of him, and if he taught me anything, it is only things that I have had to recover from and define in my own way. I worry that when Langston is born, my grandfather will meet him without my knowing. I worry that he will hold my son. I worry because he lives about a block from my parents' house, and though I see my parents almost every day, I never see him.
if my grandfather is at my parents' house watering plants, I can see his shoes through the gate. I back out of the driveway, and I leave. I go down the street. I wait it out. I have been doing this for a long while now, and I have not seen him in at least a year. but when Langston is born, my mom is going to take care of him when I am away at work, and she will be wonderful, I know. but she goes to lunch everyday at the welding shop, and everyday she complains that my grandfather interrupts my parents' lunch together. that's terrible when it's just them, I know, but with Langston in mind, imagining Langston there, is absolutely devastating to me. this fear is what I think my dream really means.