Sunday, December 26, 2010

The Blizzard

Safe and warm at my dad's house, waiting and watching the exciting storm as it builds up outside. I can't hear the wind though... and the snow gently patches itself to the window panes, with no viciousness. It's a little dis-heartening.

My dad has been out twice tonight, to plow our driveway and the car lot, and he plans on going again at 3 a.m. This storm is supposed to keep steady on through 6 p.m. tomorrow! My boyfriend's Phish concert is around 7 in Worcester, and so far has not yet been cancelled. Most stores plan on remaining closed till late tomorrow, or even until Tuesday.

Originally, Boston was cited as getting 12-18", etc.; that turned into "up to 20" and now 18+, I guess. Wind gusts of up to 60 mph. I want to go to Salisbury Beach like crazy, to watch those waves whip on shore and tear the banks down, but dad says he doesn't have enough gas in the truck to make it that far AND plow all night, and my car wouldn't make it out of the driveway... so maybe tomorrow or something. It is a little windy, I guess, but I have no fear for our electricity. The lights on the tree are blinking just as much today as they were yesterday, and the pellet stove is on full-blast.

There have been something like 1,200 cancellations at three of the major New York airports, and New Jersey has been pretty heavily snowed on as well--I think their inches-count was something like 26" (the prediction). Not sure though, I've been paying too much attention to the Boston map. That's all for now. I plan on tagging along on the 3 a.m. plowing expedition, so I will check back after that. Keep warm, be prepared!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

The Wave

The wind is ferocious; a real living thing, ripping branches from trees and trash bins over into the street. It pushes my car sideways on the highway. The rain is tossed down on the body of my car like pebbles caught in the mud flap of the truck in front of me, so hard I’m afraid the window will break. When I’m safe at home, in the warm, it sounds like a freight train is rushing through my yard all around, and the flap on the pellet stove goes tap-tap against the outside pipe, like something is knocking to come it.

Nights like this remind me of my dreams. They remind me of the wave.

I had the dreams for as long as I can remember, but I don’t think I really started paying attention to them until I entered middle school. There, people talked about their dreams, and how they hardly ever saw color, and they had no control, and dreams were hard to remember. I quickly realized that my dreams were not ordinary. It was not normal to feel like a dream is real when you are in it and when you are out of it. My dreams were more like memories than regurgitations of my days—and always, there was water; usually a lot of water.

In my earlier dreams, it was my mom who was surrounded by lots of water, all the time. Sometimes she got stuck in it and couldn’t swim to shore. I was never a part of these dreams though, I could only watch. Men would swim out to her and drag her in. Then they’d do things to her, things I didn’t like, and I’d leave the scene for a little while. I could do that—leave and then come back whenever I wanted. When I woke up mom would talk obsessively about her new boyfriend, so I eventually learned that these dreams were good and mom was happy.

But some nights the dreams were violent: the man would rip the ring he’d given her off her finger, and push her down in the water. The water was cold, I could tell, because mom’s bare arms and legs had goosebumps all over. She would try to climb back out, but he would just push her deeper and deeper, until she was almost drowning. She never did though—drown, I mean. But in the morning she was quiet and sad-looking, and I knew the boyfriend was gone.

I didn’t tell anyone about my strange dreams. I felt like a freak, seeing these things, knowing what my mom was going through. But as I began to make friends, more dreams came to me, more water, and more emotions. I saw my best friend lock herself in her bedroom and scream in rage while the water on her floor rose from a trickle flowing under her door, until her bed was floating on it. Just before it swallowed her, though, she quieted down and the water drained. She lay on her bed, dry-eyed, until I got up.

I learned from her sister that her favorite aunt had been killed in an accident. I avoided her for days, afraid to confront the girl I’d seen go so hysterical in my dreams. I avoided her until our friendship was lost entirely, and she appeared no more in my dreams.

High school brought with it my first real crush. He was sexy and sweet and dirtily greekish. He played Dungeons and Dragons on Saturday nights with his friends while I studied Tarot cards. From my cards I learned the meanings of the elements, but the most important to me was water: It’s symbol was the cup, it’s meaning—emotions. It began to make more sense then, my dreams, the water rising, threatening to drown, but not quite getting that far.

There was a girl I met briefly once. She was the daughter of my mom’s friend. Her name was Denise. She had a happy face and long pink fingernails. She’d been to rehab several times, my mom told me, and I needed to be nice to her. I read her cards. We got some that Denise didn’t like—it basically all told her that she needed to sacrifice and love, and be alone for a little while. Denise wanted to stay with her boyfriend, she loved him. But I knew from the look on her face that whoever he was, he wasn’t what she needed.

That night I dreamt that Denise was in a dark place, like a cell, with a single concrete bed, no blankets. A boy came into the room—a boy without a face, and he hit her until she screamed for him to stop. He pulled her head back by the hair and stared down at her. She was wearing chains on her wrists, and I assumed that was the reason she didn’t try to stop him when he pushed her back and took his pants off. I left the room as the water began to trickle in.

Even though I didn’t see Denise again, didn’t even talk to her, I kept seeing her in my dreams. She was always with a different boy, mostly in the same room, although sometimes there were blankets on the bed, or sometimes she was singing. Then, in my final dream of her, she was sitting on the bed, far under the blankets, touching herself. No boys came to see her. No one wanted to see her. I heard a rush like a speeding train and felt the spray before I saw it—as the wave collapsed on top of Denise.

I woke up as though from a nightmare, my whole body awake with terror and the need to act. I paced my room frantically, then went to find my mom.

“I feel like something’s wrong,” I told her, “Call your friend? I’m worried about Denise.”

“Why? What’s wrong with you? Go back to sleep.” She rolled over.

“No mom! You have to call, now, I’m not kidding. Please, just do this for me.” She sighed, sat up, and called her friend.

The look on her face gave me shivers. I could hear loud, painful sobbing from the earpiece. Her mom must have heard the wave too. Denise was dead; she’d killed herself only a few hours ago.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Books I'm reading

Whenever I finish an exceptionally good book, I get a little sad. Or a lot sad. The latest all-I-can-think-about infatuation was with Suzanne Collins's "Hunger Games," the first in her trilogy.

I spent hours with characters Katniss and Peeta; the impending danger of being murdered by fellow tributes or by the Capitol, the people in charge. I learned so much about the characters: hearing their memories, laughing with them, running by their sides in fear. And now many of them are dead. And even for the ones that aren't--I'll try not to spoil it--I miss them terribly, like a boyfriend you love love love for days, and then he just up and walks out.

Every library has Collins's books signed out or on hold for another fanatic reader: these books are that good. I am stealing myself from buying the second book. I'll have nothing to look forward to if I read them all too fast. It will just leave me drained and unhappy. You dedicate hours of your life to something, you're going to want something in return for it. So I'm taking a break.

In the meantime, I have listened to a bunch of Ray Bradbury short stories. He is excellent at weaving deep emotions into a science fiction story. I got these audio tapes from the library and they were created in 1979; they're read by Bradbury himself! I also got "Fahrenheit 451" on tape. It's hard to find much else that I can play in my car's tape deck. I'm listening to a lot of traditional/classical stories of late. I just checked out Bradbury's "One More for the Road," a collection of short stories. I didn't care much for the first story--"First Day"--and I didn't really get it. A man who remembers that 50 years earlier he and his friends promised to meet at the flagpole back at school on the first day. Something weird happens--like his friends come back as ghosts maybe, although it seems more like a mirror-projection, and I think it's all in his head. Like I said, I didn't really get it. I hope the other stories are better.

Psycho that I am, I also started reading "Jane Eyre" by Charlotte Bronte, and I'm on pg. 92. There are 700 pages or so, and I'm not sure I'll make it that far. I like the main character and her bold defiance. I don't like how slow the story is moving, and I haven't seen an inkling of love. I'm hoping that it will come soon.

I have also been reading Seth Godin's "The Purple Cow," a book about business marketing, and how businesses need to really stand out to survive. I'm enjoying it: it reminds me of school: Everyone conforms, yet, "I'm special." Oh, and you can do anything you put your mind to. Ridiculous things we say, then take away immediately. "Oh, you want to be a musician? Well, the school doesn't think the music department is very important, so you're shit out of luck. Sorry. But if you think really hard... you can be whatever you want."

This afternoon I picked up "The Death and Life of the Great American School System," by Diane Ravitch. I really want to read it, but her writing is boring and hard for me to get through. I've only read a few pages, but in the middle of every paragraph I find myself drifting. I need the cliffnotes for this book. It's too long. She could have shortened her first chapter by half, I think. Most of it is just her repeating, "I changed my mind, people can change their minds..." So I will continue to try. But no promises. She supported the "No Child Left Behind" Act, and now regrets it, apparently.

After reading the first not-exciting short story in the Bradbury book, I decided to start reading "I Know this much is True," by Wally Lamb. It's a thick, heavy book; but I read his "She's Come Undone," and loved it, so I know I can get through this book. I should really be reading more copywriting stuff, and in reality I should be writing a lot more than reading; like, I should have typed up the school committee meeting notes already, but I'm so lazy, and anyway, I have work very soon. Delivery, here I come! More next time.