Monday, August 30, 2010

Why didn't we take a picture together?

I don't tend to have specific recurring dreams. I do, however, occasionally have dreams that occur in the same places. The house in Ravensdale where I spent my adolescence. The streets I used to ride my bike on in Shoreline (of course then it was Seattle). My house on 3rd Ave with the apple and plum trees and the rockery my cousins and I spend hours climbing on. I also have dreams about the house across the street. The Emery's had two little girls, one a year older then me and one a year younger. Naturally, we ended up spending a significant portion of our childhood together. Mary was shyer then Kylene and I but we always seemed to get along. Kylene was, unbelievably, more bossy and outgoing then I. We butted heads constantly but that didn't keep us from interacting any less. We spent hours upon hours playing in their yard, in the basement, their rooms. These are the times I dream of. I moved away from 3rd Ave when I was 10. I kept in touch with both girls for awhile but eventually, without the pressure from our parents to interact, Kylene and I drifted apart relatively soon. Mary and I managed to maintain a fairly good relationship until the end of high school when it became apparent we ran in too different of circles. Later I learned that Kylene got pregnant her senior year and Mary started having kids a few years later. It had been years since I'd seen either of them.

During my trip home I told my grandma about my dreams of the old neighborhood. A few years after we moved out of the city, she moved into our old house. So she took me on an impromptu visit to the neighborhood. My grandma had kept in touch with Carolyn, the girls' mom and she thought she might like to see me. Maa sent me to the door to surprise her but instead of Carolyn I found a small girl who looked exactly like Kylene and Mary. I was so nervous I tried to get Maa to let us go but instead Maa took me to the door and asked the little girl if her mother was home. The girl called for her mom and Kylene appeared. Both of them were home. We talked awkwardly about life and the past and my dreams. Kylene talked about her daughter going to our old elementary school and the teachers that we'd had that were still there. We talked about my old stuffed animal collection. Her daughter brought me a few of her stuffed animals. Kylene said she wants to be a marine scientist and about a whale watching trip she took her on, even though it scared her to death. Mary called her mom and said she wanted us all to take a picture together. No one made the move to do it. We hugged and left. Maa called me on Saturday to tell me Carolyn found Kylene dead of an overdose in the basement a few days ago.

I hate that life is like this. I hate that every single moment of everyday, someone, somewhere is getting the news that someone they loved is gone. I can't tell if that comforts me in that no one is alone in their grief or if it angers me because it somehow lessens the tragedy of each loss. I can't help but look at the passing people and see a tiny label hovering just over their heads that declares their demise. Car accident. Suicide. Heart failure. Building collapse. It's the ever present elephant in the room for me. Mortality is a bitch.

Also, I love you all. Everyone.

Good night.

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