Today tastes like marigolds, poppies, and tears. Green, bitter, salty. October is going to be especially long this year. I think perhaps I should make that crown of marigolds, and wear it with black ribbons in my hair.
Last night I dreamed about my honored dead, family and friends alike.
In the first series, my family was holding a reunion. And that, boys and girls, should tell you right off that this was a dream, since my family doing the big reunification group grope is as likely as jumping off a cliff and having your parachute turn into a scoop of strawberry ice cream. With jimmies.
But no, there we were--grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. From both mother's and father's sides of the family. We were in an enormous house in the high desert mountains--I get the impression it was Taos or Santa Fe. Wood floors, rugs on the walls, lots of exposed beams and windows, so we had light, light, light everywhere.
It was good seeing my grandmothers again. We talked about needlework-- knitting, crochet, embroidery. The grandfather I knew told stories of his time in the war, and compared it to the PBS documentary mini-series. The grandfather who died before I was born (so he was in black and white, grainy and a little off-focus) told about watching the southwest grow, what he'd seen of the towns. I told him about Phoenix, and showed him pictures on my cell phone.
And this time I kept my big mouth shut and didn't commit the faux pas of announcing, "But you're dead!" The first time I dreamed of a dead friend, I dreamed we were riding our bicycles down to the university campus, as we did often during the summers in middle school. Twenty miles as the bike path rides will take a lot of pre-teen starch out of you, and the long lazy warm summer days were just right to fit the trip in between dawn and dusk.
We wove in and out of the tunnels that surround many of the buildings on the main campus, laughing in the lengthening dusk. She turned back to look at me, hands off the handlebars, mouth open and laughing, and then I said it. The unforgivable words.
Her face fell, and she melted away. The dream ended. I woke up missing her all over again.
But not last night. I woke up feeling as though I had visted one last time as an adult with those who had moved on before. I'm the next to last of my generation in the family, born to the youngest daughter on my mother's side, born to the middle child (who was the issue of a second, later marriage) on my father's side. The youngest of the grandchildren is my younger brother.
So most of what I knew of my grandparents were the older, frailer people whose health was beginning to splinter. We did things together, but they were quieter things, not games of tag or ball. And most of my memories are those of a child relating to adults, not as an adult relating to elders. I have a handful of recollections of talking with my father's mother as one needlewoman to another, like pressed pansies--faded and brittle. I handle them carefully, scarcely breathing.
The second dream was of fallen friends. I saw them as I often do, at a science fiction convention, which was taking place at a hotel that doesn't exist any more. This time, we were hanging out on the grass of the hotel near the pool, swilling various concoctions of alcohol potent enough to light ablaze, but sweet enough to cover the taste. Until you stand up, that is. Then you dishcover that shomeone shtole your kneesh while you were shitting--I mean, SITTING there. Minding your own bushinesh. Shomebody shtop him!!! Thief! Thief!!
Larry Lard, and Ozymandius, and Roderick the Sly . . . the whole crew. Capitan Benito Gato dropped in, and said he couldn't stay long, but he wanted to say hello. Which is interesting. Cap'n Gato is not well, I know. I may see him at Dead Man's Party in a couple of weeks--and I may not.
I woke up thinking of a story I've been meaning to write for years, now.
I think perhaps I shouldn't put it off any longer.