Saturday, January 24, 2015

mustard seeds

In my dream I had had enough.

Three white middle-aged men stood just inside the rear entrance to the rural supermarket harassing me. Instead of walking by I stopped beside them. "Please don't speak to me that way." I said. Their heckling grew louder, their laughter too, and I repeated myself, at least four times. Please don't speak to me that way. As I spoke I straightened my spine, pushing from my heels up toward the ceiling, teeth gritted, willing myself to project confidence, strength, poise. To emphasize, through my physicality, that I am also human. Please don't speak to me that way. Then one of the men picked up a ketchup bottle from a table behind him, one of those label-less, all-red entities sitting unwashed-for-years-probably on pizza parlors' grimy tabletops. Without warning he squirted me with it, sticky red ketchup shooting all over my face, its viscosity dripping from my hair onto my chest while the other men laughed. Like some low-budget attempt at a re-gendering of the Passion of the Christ.

I can't really describe how awful it was, standing there as this man evacuated a bottle of ketchup onto me, and instead of coming to my aid the other shoppers laughed. I don't think I said anything after that, just walked away, lurching my way past dimly lit aisles of seltzer and canned goods, still trying to look composed. I sat myself in the passenger seat of the black Honda CR-V, touched a hand to my matted red hair, mostly numb but thinking, listlessly, if anything I might have done or said would have made any kind of difference.

Earlier we were at his grandparents' house, of course they weren't really his grandparents nor was it really their house, but you know how dreams work. We kneeled in the flattened earth where a garden could be, fantasized about a barn, some chickens, pigs, a few goats--our little dream farmette. I looked worriedly at the development already encroaching on the fields around the cabin. There's a good chance, I pointed out, that it will all be gone before we have a chance to inherit it.

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