In the dream I was trying to find my way back home. A recurring dream I have over the years, only each time structured just a bit differently I am supposed to know my way back home. It is easy. Just turn down road such-and-such and walk straight there. However, I am never able to find that road such-and-such, and proceed only to become lost down small, dark streets and lanes between ancient buildings with undesirable characters passing me by, looking me over. Inevitably I land up at a dead end, usually at a wild ocean sometimes even with a huge rising, dangerous wave forcing me to run as fast as I can in the opposite direction.
Early this morning the dream was similar. Only this time people kept disappearing over a ledge towards the sea startling me, as I thought they were jumping off a cliff. A shadow of a man, supposedly someone I knew, came to my aid and redirected me up a road towards the correct turn homeward, disappearing as soon as I tried to ask him a question. I soon found myself locked behind a gate, high up in a tight, narrow corner with a dangerous descent, impossible for me with my fear of heights. I started calling out, "Help!" in a tiny, scraping voice trying to make it louder. I seemed to have pulled a lever as I called out, panic rising in my chest, and somehow the step I was on started to descend gradually on its own. There were muffled voices of people down below and I awoke shaking with fear, not knowing where I was. I ran through the apartment looking for T. He had woken earlier and was sitting in the living room with his computer. He looked up calmly as I passed, watching me as if I was a mouse running through the house. "I had such a nightmare," I explained as I rushed by.
It occurs to me that I have had that feeling often throughout my life, since I was a very young child. Calling out for help high up and away as I am trying to find my way home, when there should be an easy route and I become lost in the shadows of some ancient land. And, always, there is no one out there. The sea is sure to engulf me at any time.
Remarrying does not make single parenting any less single. For I worry alone, celebrate alone, feel pride alone, call out for help alone. I think I have always been alone. Just getting on with it as best I could. Mostly not knowing what to do. Desperately watching those around me for hints and cues about how to do whatever it was I needed to do. Grasping at role models, strangers passing by. Trying to be a student, parent, wife, lover, teacher, friend, author, woman, sister, daughter. Always without a road map, it seems. Wandering through unknown avenues and down ominous paths. Never really finding my way back home.
Recently, when my son left, after a week’s stay with me, and for reasons I will not go into here, I cried as if my heart would break. I cried so hard and so much, that out of the congestion, the whole next day I could not hear in one ear and was completely hoarse. As I drove from the airport, tears poured down my cheeks like a thunderstorm.
I wonder, "Will I die alone too?" As Charlie did after we had all kissed him and told him that we loved him, alone in his hospice room that night? Or will someone be there to hold my hand and stroke my forehead with great love, or hold me in their arms as I did with Mar-Mar as she rose up to take her very last breath?
It occurs to me that for the past six years the leader of our country makes me feel even more alone than I have ever felt. Doing what he wants, thumbing his nose at everyone, lying, deceiving, joking and offending. I am terrorized by his abuse of power. Rendered help-less and alone time and again. Ashamed of his actions, statements, ideologies. Outraged, that as our elected leader he speaks for me and uses my hard earned monies in ghastly, abhorrent ways. Constantly, insidiously. His leadership permeates everything we do, accompanies us as we go about our daily lives. Every time I see his hideous, insincere smile or hear his cackling over some lie or other, it permeates my tender soul just a bit more. Come to think of it, have I ever lived under a political leader who I truly admired and felt proud to be a part of?
"Help!" I cry. It is squeaky and rasping, shrill and piercing. Perhaps, in my next recurring dream, I will fill my lungs with air, breathe in deeply and call out from the pit of my stomach with a loud, roaring voice, deep, strong and solid: "HELP!" – in such a way, that people will run from their homes, arms outstretched to greet me in a loving, compassionate embrace. And then, together, we will find my way home, arm in arm singing Kum Ba Yah as we go.