Sunday, February 9, 2014


Today Mama would have been 87 years old.

Last night I dreamed I was a child again, living with my little brother Bill, Mama, and a man who was either my father or a stepfather. The father figure had short white hair but no facial features and no voice.

My parents lived in a ramshackle, unpainted house on the shore of a lake or small sea. A few hundred yards out was a small bare island, and on it was a one-room, lopsided shack with rusting roof that was my and Bill’s bedroom. Access to the mainland was via a cobbled-together wooden walkway. The shack was unheated, with drafty windows that let in glorious light, bare wooden floors, a double iron bedstead, and a stack of boxes that held our clothes. Not actually dissimilar to some places we lived when I was little. Bill was around 5 or 6, and had the round buzzed hair shown in this photo.

It was the night before Mama’s birthday, and he and I were planning what to give her for her birthday. We had no money and no materials from which to make a gift, but we were undeterred. I created an elaborate plan of making breakfast, cleaning the house, singing her a song, etc, and I coached us in the details until bedtime. We were both wired with anticipation at the happiness we’d see on her face.

When we went to bed, Bill spooned back into me for warmth. In the dream, I once again felt his thin small frame, the fuzz of his head, and his little boy smell that was once so familiar to me. Instead of filling me with sadness. I simply felt joy that I had ever known him and had him as a brother: Two eggs which once floated together in our mother.

No comments: