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The Dream

I walked past the slide
almost stepping on the boulder in a children’s marble game.
As I stopped at the swing set,
I heard two girls talking.
Slap bracelets, plastic purses, bows in their hair.
The blue-eyed blonde said to the brown-eyed brunette,
“If you dream that you die,
you will.”
Those brown eyes exploded with fear.

As I walked away,
I stopped and leaned against the jungle gym.
The memories bombarded me--
Why did I have that dream?
Why did I stop myself?
Why didn’t I die?

It was four years ago.
I was walking in a field
where the brown weeds stood a foot tall,
almost entirely covering the wretched, abandoned train tracks.
The pollution-grey sky
occasionally hurled its anger at the ground,
making rippling waves in the dead grass and straw.
I never asked why I was there.
Holding my denim jacket closed with one hand
I put my left hand in the coat pocket.
I felt the cold steel in my hands
and pulled the .22 pistol out into the light.
The polished silver-grey barrel
reflected my fingerprints.
I never asked why it was there.
I stopped walking,
switched off the safety,
turned the gun toward my stomach,
wrapped my finger around the trigger,
pressed my eyes shut, and fired twice.
But I opened my eyes
and stared at the waving weeds
as I felt the heat and the force radiate through me.
As I stood there, I began to hunch over
and all of my senses slowed down.
The weeds moved slowly, and as I started to walk,
my steps became shorter, yet longer to take.
Feeling dizzy, I couldn’t even think.
But I knew it should hurt, and I waited for the pain,
but I just wasn’t dying fast enough.
So I tried to keep walking,
but it felt like I was falling,
and I turned the revolver to my stomach again and fired.
I felt the jolt. I felt the force. I felt the heat.
But it just wasn’t working.
I just wasn’t dying.
So I moved the gun to the side of my head.
One shot rang out.
My ears were ringing --- slowly but violently.
Why wasn’t I dying?
I shot at the temple again, and once more.
Walking, slowly, now used to the heat
and only feeling tired.
Then a voice in my head told me to stop the dream
and I woke up.
Beads of sweat dripped down from my temple.
I tasted them
to make sure it wasn’t blood.

I pushed myself away from the jungle gym
as I watched the girls on the swing set.
The brunette stared at the blonde in innocent amazement.
They’re all just lies.
I turned around and walked away,
kicking the dead grass.

Copyright Janet Kuypers.
All rights reserved. No material
may be reprinted without express permission.

the book Hope Chest In The Attic the book Dreams the book Distinguished Writings the cc&d v170.5 issue release of Kuypers' writings in the 2006 book  Distinguished Writings the CD Dreams Chaotic Radio Week #03

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not yet rated (3:47) live at the Dreams show 02/03/04