Another dream I had…

 

I found myself scared, cold, and sick running through the woods. Why had I come here. Something was behind me, chasing me, propelling my body forward. I was moving so fast I wasn’t sure if my feet were actually hitting the ground. I just kept moving, wondering what it was that I had actually seen. These woods were haunted, filled with ghosts…why had I come here again? I could see the cabin’s yellow light gleaming through the tree line. If I could just get to there, if I could beat down the door, and run inside I would be okay. My body seemed to move even quicker as whatever was chasing me breathed on my neck. It too knew I’d be safe once past the tree line so it raced after me harder. My clothes snagged on everything, my hair danced around my face. I could feel a warm liquid running down to ┬ámy chin. I wasn’t sure if it was tears or blood or both. Something reached out and grabbed me, I screamed but no sound pierced the night–I screamed right? Just as it grabbed a wad of my hair I hit the tree line and everything was silent. The dark cold vanished along with the warm breath of whatever it was that had my locks in its grasp. I stood with my back to the trees afraid to turn around. I was afraid the minute that I saw it that it would swallow me whole.

The yellow light through the cabin’s glass windows beckoned me forward. It was up high off the ground in the middle of the tree clearing. A old man and his wife stepped quietly out of the door and walked down the stairs. A young man opposite of them caught the door as it closed and disappeared inside. Maybe I wouldn’t have to beat down the door–maybe I could just slip inside instead. I waited until my heart wasn’t pounding and I could feel my legs again. As I took a few steps away from the treeline I had the nerve to glance over my shoulder. The woods formed an impenetrable black wall that I couldn’t see beyond. I couldn’t even see where I had come from–like they had closed tightly after me. As I backed away heading towards the cabin I couldn’t fight the overwhelming feeling of a hundred eyes on me waiting for me to come back in.

In the cabin it was warm and bright. People walked around silently looking at the desks that displayed brochures about the area, admiring the photography on the walls, asking young volunteers where to stay. I walked up to the front desk to find my co-worker behind it. She didn’t know me, it was as if we had never met. I asked her where I was and how I could get home. She avoided my eyes and coldly told me that she couldn’t help me. She threw a stack of paperwork at me and told me to ask her supervisor. She pointed a long bony finger at a large closed door.

Suddenly I was on the other side of it. I had interrupted a meeting, a large conference filled with grim and serious faces. The room looked like a smaller version of the senate. Large men in long black robes towered around the perimeter of the room. There was a small girl in the middle of it all shaking. I told her I needed her help and she scolded me. She wouldn’t stop shaking as she told me that this wasn’t a good time.

“I understand but I really need to go home.” The small girl kept shaking like she was having a seizure. The men in the robes were silent, never moving or speaking.

“Fine.” She scribbled her signature across the forms and shoved them back at me. I gripped them all tight to my body to keep them from scattering across the floor. I was pushed out of the room without moving my feet and the door slammed in my face. I looked down again at the blank forms. My index finger had smudged the ink of her signature before it dried. It took me only a second to realize that she’d signed me away with blood.

I called the only number I had memorized. My memories seemed fluffy and round, I punched the number into the keypad but I didn’t know whose it was. A male voice echoed on the line.

“Michael.” I heard myself say.

“Hana? What’s wrong.” His voice seemed far away but the concern was real. It had been such a long time.

“I need help. Can you come get me?” I fought back the tears rubbing my face to preoccupy my thoughts. I realized how frightful I must have looked having mixed the blood and dirt mixture on my skin.

“I’m on my way.” The line cut off. I didn’t question how he knew where I was even after all of these years. I sat on the steps of the cabin in the dark while I waited. An hour later Michael pulled up in a silver car and waved me over. I tried to remember the last time that I had seen him. It was years before but I wasn’t sure exactly. Enough time had passed between our friendship that he was no longer obligated to rescue me. He was one of those friends that I had once been close with but somewhere along the way we forgot to make time for each other. It was nice to know though that after everything we’d been through and all the days that passed since then that he’d still come to me if I really needed him to. I think that’s what makes relationships like this so beautiful.

He sped out of the woods and I was relieved to be headed away from whatever was lurking in those trees. The farther we raced from them the lighter it got even though I knew it was still night. We didn’t talk on the ride back; without asking me he whisked me into town to a bar we’d been to a thousand times before. It was unsaid but assumed that I needed a drink. We got a small table for two in a dark corner off to the side away from the madness of drunk college kids partying on a Thursday night. From then the chatter came easy, he talked then I talked and soon we were in the present and no time had passed. He didn’t ask me about the woods or what happened. Instead he dipped his paper napkin in his water glass and folded it before handing it to me. I wiped my face clean of all the day had brought. He folded another napkin, I watched his hands as he methodically did so. I noticed a glimmer on his left fingers. It was like the ring suddenly appeared and took up all of my view.

“You got married?” I asked in disbelief.

“I did. Yea, I guess I forgot that part.” He smiled and it was a real smile. The kind of smile that is true after a lifetime of smiles that weren’t. I’d known him closely when the smiles were a forced facade. I knew them well because they were a reflection of my own. We’d spent years leaning on each other when faking it was too hard. Now as I stared at him from across the table over a long overdue beer I could see him clearly. I fought back the hot tears behind my eyes. He seemed to glow as he told me about his husband and the life that they had formed together. And for the first time his smiled didn’t reflect mine. I should have excused myself to the bathroom but I couldn’t face myself in a mirror. I knew that my smile wouldn’t look like his in the fluorescent glow of a bar bathroom.

I cried. In a small dark corner of a dive bar in Charleston, I cried. I cried as an old friend lay his hand over mine and cried too. We cried as the cheers from the Thursday night crowd cast over us like a blanket. We cried silently together over the years that had grown between us and the directions our lives had gone. We cried together but for different reasons. And inexplicably, it was the most beautiful thing I’d ever seen.

 

 

 

 

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The soul within me gets a visitor

I’m suppose to write about my life like it’s interesting. Like vivid imagery and captive stories about working in bars and watching boundless amounts of Netflix will change the world. I’m not naive to think that this blog will have any impact on a single other soul in the world. But it hopefully will have an impact on the soul within me. And for now, I believe that is enough. And if there happens to be another independent being out in the world that can have a laugh or relate to anything that I am saying then well…

Recently, a close friend of mine came to visit me. This wasn’t her first time visiting my home town and it probably won’t be her last. 10562926_10205299337751535_7381493057789479274_nHer presence is an always-welcome change of pace to my own life. Mainly because she makes me ‘lol’ like never before and also because we remind each other of such a simpler time. We met when we lived in a tiny town on the west coast of France. Life then had no end or boundary, all of it was attainable and boy were we going places. Now that both of us have been state-side for several years, we have found ourselves stuck in that seemingly never-ending rut after college. She’s working like a dog at a job that she despises so she can live debt free and go after what she really wants. Admirable right? It is, however her current life is at a stand-still until she can start doing what she really enjoys.

I can relate to this. If you’d asked me 6 years ago what I wanted to do after college. I would have told you that I wanted to be a kick-ass marine biologist working for some fancy marine research institute and ultimately setting the world of environmental studies on fire. Honestly, had you asked me even a mere 3 years ago and this would’ve undoubtedly been my answer. Only I would have answered the question immediately to avoid acknowledging the developing doubt in my brain. School had begun to drain everything from me and I hadn’t yet noticed how much sadness it was creating. Today, I’m about as far from being a world-famous marine biologist as I ever thought I would be. I did (barely) graduate from a university with a BS in Marine Biology but the only proof I have of it is overwhelming nausea from the experience and a really expensive piece of paper. To add insult to injury it just hangs on my wall mocking me.

Ask me today that same question. Where do you want to be? The easiest answer is anywhere but here. I am that girl that wants to constantly be out of her head and out of her skin. Just recently while backpacking in South East Asia I found myself often fantasizing about my next trip. I have to remind myself constantly to enjoy where I am now. Take it in. This is oh! so difficult to do when where I am currently is flat, habitual, and lifeless. There is no difficulty in my day, other than getting out of bed and actually beginning it. I’m not here to write a 500 word post complaining about how my life sucks. I’m here to remind myself and encourage others to get out of that rut. That’s currently what I am trying to do. I want to write. I want to travel. Most importantly I want to get up everyday looking forward to what the day could possibly bring. Even if what it brings is chaos and destruction. The way I see it my life could use a little excitement.

So this is your sign. Go after whatever it is that has been nipping at your heels.

Nice to meet you, Stranger

I said something to myself the other day that I had never uttered to a soul: I want to be a writer. I had never even realized it myself. It tripped me up, as if by suddenly saying it aloud I created a physical idea in front of me. It appeared abruptly and unfamiliar; it loomed above me so surprisingly that I slammed right into it. In the cartoon version my legs and arms wrap around it, freezing in shock as my body slowly peels off of it and flops to the floor. The idea was undeterred by the impact it had on me. What I found the most irritating about the whole experience was as surprised as I was to meet this idea of mine, it was not at all impressed to meet me. It stared at me with eyes unblinking like it had been staring at me for years waiting for me to see it. How unnerving it was to slam into something that had been following me for years. It’s maddening to learn something about yourself after twenty-something years of believing you had it figured out. I have no clue what I am doing with my life but I like to think I have who I am pretty decided. And yet, the universe continues to laugh at me every day. Perhaps you can never really know who you are or what you truly want. Or perhaps you always know those things but your head and heart choose not to reveal them to you until you’re ready. So the new ultimate question is: am I ready? Am I ready to throw out everything I thought I had pinned down and start looking for something totally new? We are going to find out.