“Scotty has a new venture.” Dad peered over his paper, clearly reliving nightmares of Scotty’s entrepreneurial spirit.
“Is it … What is it?”
I was five when Scotty roped me into a lemonade business. It may have worked but he got the sugar mixed up with salt. His grilled cheese emporium went under after a rare virus ravaged most of his customers. Only the neighbors two dogs escaped but I’ve never been convinced they ate the discarded sandwiches. His t-shirt business never took off. We have t-shirts for days stashed in the garage.
All of this flashed through dad’s mind, I could read it on his face.
“Honey, should we continue supporting these things? He’s insanely smart, he’s going to go far but …” Mom held her hand up silencing the criticism.
“Do you want to kill his spirit?”
As his snot nosed kid sister, I would call that an ok idea.
Dad sighed and set his paper to the side. “Fine. Let’s go see.”
Scotty stood proudly in the street, a tugboat with fresh blue letters bleeding down the side sat behind him.
“Son, you’ve never been on a boat. We don’t live anywhere near water.”
I’d heard of the yellow brick road. I saw The Wizard of Oz when it first came out. I never thought I’d find myself standing here. The bricks aren’t yellow, more of a grey, and the air hangs heavy and full of electricity.
Trees aren’t the same. They’re monstrous and dead. Orbs of fruitful memories drop to land. They scatter, running from the light, but I catch a few. And what delight! They’re flexible and sticky. They play back cherished memories.
But what of the ones that run? They roll from the path, away from the sun, into the trees, obscured by dead leaves.
I chase them down, determined to know.
What is it these scared orbs hold?
In the darkness they reveal things unknown. Small strings which take hold. They pull me farther, abandoning the path, as they trap me under a forest wrath.
These memories aren’t cherished. Forgotten and unloved, they demand immediate resolve. I find one after the other, a path none should take.
I abandon handfuls of the light and cling to the dark. They pull at my strings, they break my heart.
Then I jerk awake, just an old woman in a bed. Little memory of the dreams I’ve had. Nothing rushes back, nothing remains. It’s just me and a window and brick wall company.
When I’m stressed I don’t really sleep. It’s not that I don’t want to but I just can’t, not when I’m coiled like a rocket. One slight trigger, a breeze that feels a little malicious, and I’m off towards the stars.
My dreams, in an effort to help, mill around my room.
Bernie, my oldest apparition, is the most sensible of them all. He peaks in through my door and offers milk and cookies. He pads along the halls in a robe errantly open. He pats my arm in efforts to talk me down.
Reasonable is seldom what I want.
Harry has a devilish grin and hair molded into flaming tufts. He’s the demon on my shoulder pushing me to indulge. He slips his fingers along my skin, careful not to scratch. He whispers in my ear, oh the things he says. But when I slip back to consciousness he’s never there.
Hilda is my warrior princess, my inner child gone sideways. She sits at the end of my bed, broad back and silken hair framed by her tri horned helmet. In a flagrant disregard for the boys, she tells me how she ransacked a town killing all the men and picking them apart piece by piece. It’s the same story every time but I wouldn’t dare remind her.
I’m going to write a story called “the great interrupted life”. It’s going to be a mom trying to say 1 sentence throughout and never finishing it.