A Dream Within a Nightmare

January 15, 2009
A Dream Within a Nightmare

It was the beginning September when America began vividly remembering September 11th, 2001. The smell in the air, the sight of a last picture with the date on the bottom right hand corner. Looking at an upcoming Monday morning with a familiar date -- everything was coming back for some. Memories played on the eyelids of those who had lost that day, and in their place, a glossy, reflective stare laid. A stutter took to through their breath, and hands left to knuckle and clench.

In these solitary moments of the day, a mind can run through many thoughts, and some are left to some profound state of paralysis. It's quite easy to tangle within these thoughts at times. Sadness, anger -- feeling as though the hands of time shook too rapidly to even realize what was happening other than rapid movement and blur. Innocent minds left to endure alone, no snap-back-to-reality whistle from a referee. The pages of the calendar feeling as though they had been left to the wind.

Time has flew by too quickly for some, and no matter how slow it elapses, they will not be prepared for the ninth page.

Some speculate daily: "All of these years, and we're still at war with Iraq?" "This is all pointless," classrooms of students exclaimed. "We should leave," responded pedestrians on the street when asked about how they felt about the war. "We already took their ambassador out of power; our work is done," said anonymous callers on news talk shows. "Yet America won't leave because of these videos that keep surfacing," shouted in disdain from men with sunglass lenses almost reflecting the camera man.

In late August, a video surfaced that made many believe there would be a sick celebration for the anniversary of September 11th. A video of men in masks, saying their plans and we were going to feel the effects of mass destruction. At such an untimely dawning day, and drawing closer and closer to the day, America acted. Although questions were answered, fear of omission took over and set into catastrophic motion.

They had their leads, and they acted on each one. In one swift effort to ensure the safety of American civilians, the US Army made an Ariel attack on Northern Iraq in a small community believed to contain underground weapons of mass destruction. With this internal fear that could put a man's stomach in knots like a kindergartner's first pair of shoes, a bomb was dropped. With it came a shake that would make an earthquake seem possible to sleep through. It shook Polaroid pictures out of screwed-on frames, and evacuated individual nails from the wooden fences.

Houses imploded as though they were made of glass hit with a pebble from a sling-shot. Nothing was left but an uneasy ground to walk upon, and a smokey dust that took over the soothing composition of the sunrise. America acted before knowing, and with this a city of innocent lives were lost. Kids, wives, hard working men, elderly: taken within a mere second of false suspicion. Amidst an attempted effort of saving US citizens' lives, that same feeling of dread and sorrow was spread by taking the lives of others.

September 9th, 2008: Another video surfaces. This video, not like any of the others. This video was set upon a more somber melancholy mood, in a dim light from a lamp upon a corner table. Cigarette smoke danced in it's light to the shadow. Faces were not seen.

The men sat at a table, in obvious great sorrow. They spoke of their families and those they had lost.

Pictures stood on the table facing them, as though they were little kids watching their older sibling standup to their playground bully. They spoke in an inconsolable tone. Shaky composures that appeared to be from sadness and sleep deprivation was all they were able to put off. Orange eyes, that of their cigarettes, beamed in the shadow. They spoke as though all Americans had wished for this: for them to lose their families and loved ones, when in actuality, the Americans knew nothing, just as they did.

The last sentence spoke in this video was this: "In the routine of your bias nights, look toward your dim-lit stars. Wish carefully." America was put into a panic. Airlines were shutdown, CNN echoed throughout the neighborhood's choir of televisions, and traffic picked up. Chapels filled to the aisle with fanning listeners, and all of those that didn't leave the state, faithfully looked toward the sky.

September 11th, 2008: My father came home with words he had heard on the radio. He asked me at the door with a look of distinct seriousness in his jaw, and his hand on my shoulder how fast I could pack my bag with the necessities needed for two or three days of driving. He gave me one good pat on my right shoulder as I walked off toward my room after assuring him it shouldn't take long at all. He told my Mom, Sister, and I to pack as quickly as possible and made it clear our best option was to be frugal with the space we'd have in our bags. We know not question him because he only acts within reason and he was as serious as any man trying to save his family.

We quickly packed, and were done before the sitcom mumbling when he came home had gone off. As we drove to where my Dad said, simply, would take us far from the area believed to be the most dangerous, I rolled down my window and hung my hand out of it like used to; letting my hand fall victim to the wind as I try to follow the phone lines with my fingertips, sunk down in my seat. Moments to where I'm taken back to my childhood relieve me. When taken back to days when I was too short to see over the car door and out the window, smiles push through to my lips as though racing to break the tape. Those moments are ones I can escape to and lucidly relive in memory.

I looked at the moon every second I could. Fascination soaked my spine as I thought of man's accomplishment of landing on the moon, as it does almost every time I stare upon it. I think of all that it has seen -- all that is has inspired and witnessed -- and to touch this very subject of gaze would be extraordinarily amazing.

I don't think I'd be able to walk on the moon, and be able to believe my feet. We drove out of the view from the moon, and my eyes were set upon a blanket of stars. We had been driving for sometime, and we had been in the part of Oklahoma I would call 'the country.'

My mom and dad had decided they were short of a few supplies we needed early in the car ride, so when we came across a gas station on the side of hill road, we parked, and my parents got out to get a few things. My dad lit a cigarette in the cup of his hand, and put his lighter above the steering wheel by the gauges. My mom quickly folded a map she had been looking at and placed it on the dashboard. They asked what we wanted, my sister and I both looking comfortable in the backseat with our pillows on our half-an-inch-wide window sills. We asked for snacks and drinks that could be reclosed, and they got out, their doors closing shut nearly a second apart.

I watched as they walked into the store all the way until I heard the bell above the door jingle and my dad step inside after my mom. Moths flew in short circles around a flickering light above the gas pumps, and like a moth seeking to satisfy its appetite, I asked in a breath giving fog to the windows, "Where's the moon?" My Sister, Ashley, then turned around and we saw it: full in luminance and just as fascinating as always. We were staring at it as I began speaking of man's ultimate feat, with words from my opinion and facts I heard on a history channel program I watched with my dad. It was as if my world was forgotten about for that brief second just to put into words my infatuation.

I was in a deep gaze trying to make a face on the moon like many say they can do when my eyes were taken aside by an orange propelling string of light that had seemed to had just shot-on from the corner of my eye. I saw the flames push its tail into the dark side of my pendulum, and I immediately knew what was happening as I remembered the men's words from the video. It was clear now that they didn't want to cause an explosion with a result of fiery still setting. They wanted us to feel the worst thing possible: fear. I watched as the star detached from it's body as it flipped in the visibility of the sun's given light like a flipped coin.

This apple of my eye was cut down an incomprehensible layer. Shaking and crouched, my Sister and I were found in the ripest sense of fear either of us had ever known. Our hands slid onto each others like magnets. I lifted my head over the backseat, and peaked out the window once more, and as I gazed, the city grew dark. The moon tore through gravity like a grocery sack filled with oranges, and yet, it kept its damaged shape.

As the city grew much darker, the moon grew more visibly pale, as it flew over my head like a half-court shot, until it was so far away from the sun, it was as dark as the ground it would light. As it fell over the car, and out of my sight, I saw the stars flicker in a spastic ritual of dimming.

And as silly as it may be to say, for being in such a moment of rare terror... I was suddenly taken over with a child's thoughts, many would say. It was as though my comprehension of terror involving the situation had reached its end, and started back over with wonders. I thought of small portions of the moon put on display in museums, and then suddenly, I was taken back, and began thinking of the dire consequences of the Earth and the Moon would have in collision. My head filled: an image of internal implosion filled my mind, with textbook pictures the only things my mind enable to support them with. A firey core broken from warmth, to a new sun, and my mind began to wonder, and question the galaxy; is the center of our universe really the sun, or are we merely existent on the shell of another?

Had the sun once been the core of another Earth? Then, my mind began to trail onto origin, and I then was caught off guard by my disorientation predecessor. The moon was merely a sense at this point. No light was given to its being that my eyes were in ability to detect and embody. I heard the map my Mom had left on the dashboard flip open and fall into the floor from the sudden gust of wind from the Moon's passing.

It went over like a quiet plane, set to no cooperative land with ground. I set my eyes in it's believed direction with a weak sense of faith of another second, growing with every thought of paradox moment. I looked behind me, back to where my Sister and I not so long ago gazed in fascination to disbelief. I saw the sky ripped open like a fresh wound and a gassy vortex rush to heal, and cover it up like a bandage for a body. A mixture of color filling it in as a swirl of water down the drain.

The left following the right -- the right left.

Soon, recognizance of direction was lost, and I watched as color mixed in repair like a frantic artist working with wet paint. A beam of sunlight enclosed and sealed the opening as if it were a peaceful occasion; an expected occasion; and I felt like the present seeing its last glimpse of light, as being sealed with a piece of crucially cut tape. My mind stood in awareness of my situation -- my whereabouts, and my shaky composure, holding my Sister close in a mutual need of comfort -- and the second of history I witnessed so closely. This moment was without mental category; this moment was without duplication. It was a second I had realized myself.

My mistakes, and wasted time of day and night. My greatest feats, and my avoidable set-backs, and I stood atop myself like a proud mountain climber, accomplishing his wildest dream, but empty-handed of flag; marking the second in self-gratitude and mentality. Being so engulfed in fear, and realizing what's in my hands with every given second had given me the brightest dawn in the darkest of time. Dust was blown off of the feelings I act upon: love, hope, gratitude, progression. I felt my Sister's hand in my own and gripped it tighter, without an ounce of fear in my being.

I had been taken out of all the unimportant things in life and realized I had been a part of the greatest body overlooked by every incompetent being before: the universe: family. The question was so complicated, but the answer was all too simple. It's easy to live in routine, but it's even easier to be lost in it.

Life carries you, but like a gust of wind, only for so far.

In a world of standstills, we often grow numb to the touch of ground; we grow prone to the routine of living a mere existence. The antidote is action and attempt at understanding. Don't be afraid to act and don't be afraid to speak, for often, there is nothing at stake but a moment, if that. The world is not within reach, for it is already yours with every second. Anything has the allowance to be said but not everything is heard.

Shake hands with the day. I gazed in the direction of my last sight's darkness, and I looked around the parking lot, at the assorted spots of light, and could see the flickering light was all that was lighting my face, and the moth's were still flying around it in circles. The world had not stopped, and neither had life, although, permanently changed. To live, you simply must love; you must have imagination. Travesty is merely an illusion; a lie; dust.

My Sister and I got out of the backseat, and under the flickering light, hugged our parents who had ran out of the store in the dark. We knew we were stronger than we had ever been and back to the bare. From that second, I realized I could and would live in the sense many men often go lifetimes without experiencing: content.

My eyes shook open with a bump, as if their lids were held together with the steady ribbon of the street, and my head hit the window as we came down from it. I looked around, and in front of me was the back of a passenger's seat, and my mom's hair blowing from the wind. My head had been rested on the window, and to my left, my Sister laid asleep. I looked to the driver's side to my dad was giving gray swirls to the air with his cigarette as the lights from passing cars ran across his face. I leaned over to see what my mom was doing, and she was reading her Lucille Ball autobiography.

It all had seemed so real I thought, but it was. I may have woken from the dream, but I didn't wake up from the feeling. I yawned, and extended my arms as far forward as I could. "Awake, young man?" my Dad asked. "Yeah," I said, looking at his eyes in the rear-view mirror.

"Have any good dreams?" my Mom chimed in. "A dream within a nightmare," I smiled. "Ah, I see," my Dad said, managing the wheel. "Care to tell us about it?" they both asked. "I will, believe me."

I glanced over at my Sister's faced, lit in the moonlight. "I love you, guys. I hope you know that." My Dad looked at me with a squint-eyed glance, like he does when he's smiling, and said "We know, and we love you, too." My mom turned around, and said "We love you, too, handsome," before making two kissing noises with her lips.

Mom's and their pet names. You have to love it. I played with my sister's hair, all the way home, while looking at the moon. I smiled, and as soon as I got home, I picked up my purple pen, and black composition book, and began writing about my dream.

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