I am unsure exactly when the wish for myself as a child to meet my parents as children began. But the desire has only grown stronger as I have grown, and they have drifted apart. Maybe since their love no longer manifests itself in the world, the only traces must live within me. Maybe if or once I have children, and the doubling is solidified in carbon, no longer a film behind my eyes, this dream, too, will disappear. Or perhaps this dream, a meeting on the common ground of the age of six or seven, will only become stronger underneath the pressure of the threat of replacement.
Over the course, and as the desire continues unfulfilled, I have implanted them into a memory in which they never existed. But instead of images I have collaged, cut out from their own lives’ debris—my mother with two long braids down her chest, smiling with her sister in front of a Scotty camper; my father, hair mussed and pajamaed legs crossed, holding up the toy caboose of a train—their presence in the dream is more a presence of body, a feeling or knowledge of the space that they used to inhabit in the world, an energy. They shimmer at the periphery, misplaced figures plucked, resonating in a way reality never could.
In this memory of my childhood, never theirs, I have taken a walk by myself as I often did. I am skirting the edge of a wood, toeing the dirt, picking up sticks, and discovering stones. The change in the day is instant. As if somewhere a gate has been opened, the air turns heavy, grey, and insistent. The leaves of the trees overturn, expose their bellies, flash the silver underneath, and the only thing that can be heard is their fluttering in the wind. The world vibrates with anger and violence, and I am suddenly sure that it wishes to destroy me. A lightning bolt cracks across the sky and strikes a great oak tree one hundred yards away.
In truth, I ran.
But within the haven of my imagination, we run. Our feet fly through a field of timothy and clover as the shadow of the storm reaches over us. We hold hands and laugh as the first fat raindrops hit our backs, soak our shirts, and dampen our shoes. Yes, we were on the verge of destruction but were not destroyed. We are survivors who will protect one another. We are not alone.
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