Once Upon a Time…

She had been dreaming.  She was on a small island all alone which, at first, seemed nice.  But then the storm started.  Pouring rain compounded by roaring waves left her clinging desperately to anything she could find in an effort to not be washed out to sea.  Suddenly she noticed…pieces of her small island were being chiseled off and were floating out to sea.  Her small plot of safety got smaller and smaller by the minute.  With every wave, with every gust of wind, with every lightening strike until suddenly she was left perching precariously on a pillar of granite that had been the heart of her little island.  She clung to the top of this rock waiting for it to fall over…

And then she woke up.  She was in her bed although one might have thought her dream true because she was soaked head to toe.  In sweat.  That’s the sign of a well crafted nightmare…when it continues into real life.  

She ruffled the fur of the yellow dog in her bed enough to see the bright red digits on the clock to her left.  2:32…perfect.  She got up and shuffled to the bathroom.  She looked at herself in the mirror.  Tired face, falling smile, and the red patches that give away crying eyes.  She trudged back to her bed, moved the dog who had rearranged himself to be resting comfortably on her pillows, and fell in beside him.  They laid there for a while.  One full of thoughts with no ability to express them…one with many things needing expression but no thoughts to come.  

She awoke again at 7:00.  Her appointment was in an hour…she needed to leave in 20 minutes.  Perfect.  She threw on some clothes and ran out the door.  She was only seven minutes late.  Everything looks good.  Time to head home.  The only real thing to look forward to today is brunch with her sister.  11:45.  This time it really was perfect.  They talked about everything they needed to.  There was just something about their relationship that made her brave enough to be honest and honest enough to admit that she wasn’t as brave as everyone thought.  But all too soon, brunch is over and she is back to her normal life.  She cooks.  She cleans.  She does dishes.  She does laundry.  She laughs.  She cries.  She is happy.  She is mad.  She breaks the picture of the man that left her.  She glues it back together.  She throws it away.

Suddenly…it’s 9:51.  Perfect.  She climbs into her pajamas and lays down with the yellow dog.  He smiles at her, whether out of loyalty or gratitude for his new bone, she isn’t sure.  She also isn’t sure she cares.  She scratches his head as he chews and thinks about how bad she did today.  She criticizes herself.

Women get divorced every day.  Men leave women for other women every day.  And the other women survive.  You aren’t special or worse or different.  So why are you dealing with this so poorly?  You should be trying harder.

These are the thoughts she faces as she drifts back into sleep.  Back into her nightmare.

There she is. Still clinging tightly to her granite cornerstone.  But tonight, there is a ship.  It is coming toward her.  And the thing that catches her attention, is the man hanging off of the bowsprit.  His arms and legs are wrapped tightly around the spar as he yells above the waves.  “We’ve seen you!  We’re coming!  We started out to save you last night!  Hold on!”  Her eyes, filled with the salt of tears and sea water, drop to the figurehead.  A strong woman set on reaching the horizon she stares at with desire and determination.  She recognizes the face but not the attitude.  But then again…how could she not recognize herself?

She wakes up.  In the bathroom again, she looks in that mirror for a trace of the face she saw in the storm.  And the resolve isn’t quite there…but there is a change.  Because she realizes that in the dream…she was coming to save herself.  The woman she would become after this storm would make surviving it all worth while.  But mostly what she realizes is this…

She thought she wasn’t doing well.  She thought she was failing, and falling, and flailing all the way down.  But what she knows now…

is that she has held on for one.  More.  Day.

“Flood Waters” by Josh Garrells from the album Love & War & The Sea in Between.

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