In a dark alley, I was attacked by three young women. I was too strong for them, and as I received the blows from their fists, I was able to grab them, one by one, and cut their throats with my long knife. That middle one had a knife of her own, the bitch, and she slashed me badly across the neck, missing the jugular, but leaving me all too open to leakage and the cold night wind.
Down the street to the left I saw the bright lights of the front of a hospital, and I ran there. The women had managed to pull my wallet out of my coat pocket, and since I had not a bit of identification or an insurance card, the emergency room personnel were reluctant to help me. "It ain't that bad," said a fat woman behind the counter. "You don't need a hospital."
I contemplated going over the counter after her to show her just how bad it could get, but instead I turned and stomped out the door, feeling very, very pissed.
Violence in my dreams again, strange battles with assailants who have no identity in waking life. Good ol' Kilton Stewart portrayed his Senoi dreamers as people who would apologize in waking time if they slighted or harmed their neighbors in dreams. I can't say that I find that feasible. I can see myself thinking, "Why was that person dreaming about me in the first place?" (I'm not totally open-minded) and I wouldn't want to have to explain the whole process to someone who had no knowledge of dream theory. More likely, the faceless combatants represent my fears of the day to come, or the days past, and battling nightmares will give me a little more confidence to deal with what the sunlight brings.
One morning my dear friends Bodie and Andersol Talles took off in their truck with all their camping gear and didn't ask me to go along. Bodie slung the tent into the back and slammed the door to the cap, Andersol locked the door of their house next door and put a cooler-bag into the front of the truck, they hopped in, and off they went, not even waving at me, even though I had just pulled my van halfway out the driveway on my way to work. Foolishly, I had a flash of Mom and Dad, and the thought, "So you're leaving me behind, too?"
Hadn't I been the one who was a bit withdrawn? How could I blame them for not including me in their lives when I was so dull with grief and guilt and confusion? But hadn't we been as close as family for nearly six years? Shouldn't I shut up and mind my own business?
Minding my own business, smarting with being left behind (is this what Jesse felt like when we were growing up?), I looked at the sorry state of my gardens and weeded under the bird feeder so vigorously that I strained a muscle in my shoulder, and then was not only a bore to friends, a failure as a wife, a disappointment to my mother, but was also a weakling who couldn't take care of herself.
My doctor had a look at my shoulder, and basically, said, "Does it hurt when you do this? Then don't do that!" Seeing my draggy features, he also was unkind enough to ask, "How are things at home?" Of course I cried, and he listened to what I was saying, sort of, and asked me if I wanted anti-depressants, or a psychologist, or a note to take time off work. I refused them all, for what I really wanted was a husband who had been gone longer than he'd been with me. Or was what I wanted just the feeling that I'd had when he was there and present, and not really him at all?
Mary LeMay was kind and cooked extra for a few days to feed me while my shoulder stopped throbbing, but even though she was a good friend and neighbor, too, Andersol and Bodie were on my mind constantly. Why were they still gone? Where did they go? What could be more interesting than small town life in Riverton, ha, ha?
After Gabe's daily walk, I would sit in my chair by the fireplace with my feet drawn up, knees as close to my chest as they could get anymore and -- well, we'll spare the charity -- sulk. Nobody likes me, everybody hates me ... A child's chant, a silly song, but that's what being depressed can feel like. I would look at my wrinkling hands, the fading resilience of my skin; I would feel the sag in my face and the ache of my lame shoulder: old bag, old bore, old bitch, old fool, old, old, old, old, old. All alone old.
Until the Talles returned, a week later, with swollen red eyes and heartbreak on their faces.