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Upper Hand and Alleviation
Remember when I used to tell you all my dreams?
We’d sit for hours under the sun watching our vegetable gardens grow. Similarly, I nurtured our relationship with sweet concoctions and little “If anyone else knew…”s. Oh, don’t you remember?
Yes, now, I already said so.
Then sometimes we’d walk. Even that dreadful year when the ground held steadfast to the brittle cold we so much despised. That was the year I dreamt about awaking to the world of ice and ever so frustrating, not being able to stand. You know, I get that feeling when I’m awake sometimes. Paralyzed from the throat up. Brain dead and unable to speak. So sometimes I just smile. Oh, how you could always make me smile!
Remember when you taught me how to ride that contraption? The cycle or whatever? Now, that was day. Right after that awful night terror. Yes, yes the one I woke you in the midriff of night for. But I could still feel the world stuttering toward an inevitable stop. I reached down while you were on the line and scraped dirt off my heels. Now, you know me! I’d never go to bed dirty. But there it was on my blanket and I could feel my feet dragging on the ground, pleading to stay far from the edge. Then the next day you set me on that bicycle seat and I thought you the craziest damn fool I knew. Who else would put a frightful girl on a thing with two wheels and tell her to peddle real hard. But I always listen to you, buddy, so I did. Peddled real fast and buddy, it felt good. See, I knew I could escape the end on that bike of yours, I knew I could escape anything.
You could. You could ride with the best of them.
You could too, buddy. Just like you did when you ran off. Of course, I understand. I was the first to understand. But don’t get me wrong, it hurt. It hurt like hell and I’ll tell you one thing, my dreams about ate me up. Had one about you every night. Eighteen dreams during the months you were gone; there were a few that just got lodge in my thoughts, wouldn’t let go. I couldn’t let go of you right quick. You were my safeguard and always had been. You knew that! I ran to you always. You were the fragment that kept me whole. You knew that, didn’t you?
You don’t need me. You could ride with the best of them.
You knew, didn’t you? You knew you were the calm waters that kept me from getting restless. You knew you the froth that kept me from boiling. You knew. You knew. Dammit! Just tell me, tell me I didn’t something right. Tell me, I didn’t let you get away.
I’m right here, flame.
Yes, yes. But remember all those years? All those stagnant years. We just let them be. Even when we seldom talked and that snow blanket of ours melted. The fruit of our garden dissipated. Leaving behind only cold, dreadful ground. Not the kind like what we’d dig our toes into and walk in during the rain. But you never would walk with me; you’d stand under the porch’s top and watch me. Why did you watch me so?
You were beautiful.
You haven’t always thought that.
Yes, yes I have. You’ve always been beautiful.
Remember when you made me cry? Oh of course you don’t. You were never there. But you did, buddy. Don’t ever say you’ve never caused tears because you caused many of mine, dear. I suppose I shouldn’t bring it up. Yes, I rather shouldn’t have. I already let you have it. That night I called you, still screaming from a dream. Don’t you remember?
Let me hurt you once more.
We were in your old red pick-up. Or was it more orange? I loved that truck; its round edges; its hiccupping engine; its rusted frame; worn seats; stained floor; static diseased radio. You. And the way I slid into the passenger seat. Real smooth, real neat and the way I slid a little closer. Anyway, there we were in that beloved truck but there was nothing familiar about it. The passenger seat was vacant yet I slid back and forth in the bed. I beat on the glass and you turned around apologetically. But the car sped faster and faster still until the world was a blur. You couldn’t bear to look at me. I screamed.
I can still hear it.
You better. You never listened to me. Just got up and left. And I called. I called and called. The phone’s melancholy ring serenaded me to sleep. Until sleep wasn’t enough and I took up swimming. I flew and then dove; deep, within something. Plumbed the ocean’s depth and felt the Earth breath – I told you it had a center. In fact, I called to tell you so.
You’d been drinking.
I FOUND something! Something you could have never given me. We never went on walks in the rain. You never sang to me.
I can’t sing, dear.
And we never went to the beach.
We went to the beach plenty of times darling.
I called to tell you something. I’ve just had a dream. It was very futuristic; spacious and shiny and everything. We were in a suspended ballroom with crystal dance floors. There were four and each radiated with things from seasons. Our snow blanket was there along with our fruit and our truck and that silly little bike. My mother was there and your father, too. It was a grand room, holding everything and everyone I had ever touched. The piece of the world, which had been changed by me, hovered precariously above hell and an assortment of nasty things. Everyone there was old and decrepit. As the dream went on, all the objects turned to dust. Eventually, the people vanished too. Vanquished by my lack of sentimental good-morrows. I sat in the center of my own hell, watching the demise of my own world, and from the very center of my own heart, felt nothing. Have you ever felt nothing?
No, flame. I always feel something.
Remember when I used to tell you all my dreams?
I made them up.
No, dear. They made you.
(Only after a silent pause, did the girl let a smile break across her worn face. It was so very malignantly and much to the displeasure of the nurse assigned to watch over this particular patient. Now, the patient wrapped the cord of her faux phone around her hand multiple times. Were she not in this room, not wearing her chunder stained gown, she would’ve looked much like a girlish teen in the grasp of infatuation. As it were, she was in that particular room in that particular gown.
“So, you think he actually exists up there, you think he’s still alive?” The day shift nurse asked more casually than expected as she plopped down a cup of coffee and morning paper.
“You mean the boy she’s always praying to?” Nod. “Yeah, he’s still up there. Who do you think killed her?”)