For the longest time I sat content to view the passing scenery from the car window. I sometimes rolled the window down a little, and other times I turned my eyes from the landscape, the road whirring by too fast. When the colors blurred to gray and I couldn’t make sense of what I was seeing I’d beg to stop or to at least turn around and head back to the comfort of where I had once been. It was all to no avail…I was the driver and I was out of control. My journey, entirely my own, seems to have no map and no brake peddle.
I have encountered other tourists along the way, travelers striding along with me for awhile before veering off onto courses and destinations of their own. Some of these fellow wanderers I have loved, hanging onto them for as long as possible before our ways were forced to part, the roads feeding us into separate lanes and eventually into separate byways and cities. My sister, Lark, 2 years younger, was one of those dear tourists traveling with me over the fast moving highways of our youth. For a time our journey was side by side and we hung on to each other over the hills and valleys of the road rushing us right along over the course of the years. And then came the dreadful red car; a wreck we didn’t see coming.
The red car appeared in our dreams. It very literally appeared to us both in our separate, but somehow inexplicably conjoined dream. Lark and I were both in our early teens when we shared this ethereal experience. We shared a bedroom along with our younger sister, Kadee. We were a bit crowded, but hardly noticed the inconvenience. It had always been this way and it felt comfortable and familiar, even through the squabbles and upsets that come with sisterhood and the need to share. We quarreled sometimes, and got fuming mad on occasion, but always, through it all, we remained friends, loving each other and laughing with each other during our time together. We had late night secrets and felt sisterly pride in each other’s strengths and accomplishments. I have loved my sisters well and love them still.
The dream came to Lark and me on a night no different in its ordinary darkness than any other. We slept and we awoke. We stretched in our respective beds and I, remembering the strange dream I had had, began telling my sisters about my singularly odd dream visit to Aunt Vera and Uncle Rob’s house as I slept. I only got a few sentences into the tale when Lark interrupted me with a surprised cry that she had had the same dream! She continued the dream from where I had left off until I interrupted her, hardly believing what we were sharing. From that point on and through to the end of the dream she and I took turns telling the dream aloud, with Kadee looking questioningly at the two of us. How could such a thing as this be? I still don’t have an explanation, but I will attest to it until the day I die. We, my sister Lark and me, shared the same dream one night. Somewhere while we two traveled through the dark, we found each other’s hands and we held on. We rode through the course of the dream where we witnessed a terribly bright, long red car standing in full display and turning on an orange dais in the middle of our Aunt and Uncle’s front room, now turned showcase. No one was around, the house empty except for the car twirling, twirling, twirling. There was nondescript music playing and a feeling of confusion and fear of something pending, something scary and out of our control. We turned to leave, but glass walls surrounded us and we couldn’t find the way out, even though we could see the door. It was morning before we got to the door and waking became our way out.
I use the words we and us in describing the dream encounter, but that is only in the telling of what happened as experienced by the two of us. In each of our individual dreams we were alone. I didn’t see Lark and she didn’t see me in the dream. Only on waking and sharing did she and I become ‘we’. Sometimes in remembering it’s hard for me to recall the fact that I was alone. In my mind’s eye my sister is standing beside me through the fear and that somehow brings me comfort.
Neither of us could possibly have known then the metaphorical nature of our dream. The symbolism of the red car and orange dais, of the showcase and the door beyond reach. We didn’t even contemplate a deeper meaning. We were caught up in the strangeness, the eerie fact that our minds had somehow melded and made a dream. Our wonder was that we had traveled together through the wasteland of the dream world and had come out on the other side together, with not a thought then to the fact that all of this took place in the morphed and misshaped home of Uncle Rob whose garage held his much prized antique Ford car. It wasn’t red, but the Blood Orange I found when I was six years old had been housed in its back seat. I had to deal with that hideous Blood Orange as an adult. It took me three years of intense therapy to finally leave it behind in a dumpster on the outskirts of the little cemetery in Greendale, Utah.
Today’s word was tourist: