22 March, 2006

Night Sweat

...nocturnal vacation/ unnecessary sedation/ you want to feel at home 'cause you belong....


We are at the Renaissance Festival, near the Joust field. The children wander off on their stilts, costumed and brightly colored. I gaze after them fondly, then head in a different direction. From the Boardwalk, I turn back and look at the Ferris Wheel as it climbs higher and higher into the air. Another stiltwalker in a large costume, like the old Bob the Giant, climbs on the outside of the rising Ferris Wheel. I know who is inside the costume; it is my ex-partner J., and I think what he’s doing is dangerous, but he often does risky things. I stare at the sky, and the giant rotating wheel that was on the ground moments ago. Suddenly, there is a puff of fire on one of the cars. Soon, the wheel is consumed, and the costumed stiltwalker falls from the wheel, burning in the sky. The wheel explodes, and pieces of it fall as flaming rain onto the site. I stop to say a prayer for everyone aboard the wheel, especially for J., knowing he wouldn't thank me.There is screaming everywhere, and people panic and run around.

I realize that I do not know where my children are.

I begin to look for them. My efforts are hampered by tents that have sprung up, giving out bottled water and sweatshirts, assisting the emergency crews, none of whom seem interested in helping me find my children. In fact, one patron has a daughter who wants to learn stiltwalking, and insists that I give lessons, right now. The Boardwalk at the Festival has changed to the Boardwalk at the beach, but the Smiths are there, as though the whole Festival has been transported to the beach. I abandon the patron woman and her stiltwalking daughter and begin to search the beaches for my babies, whom I am sure are together, but the beaches are crowded, crowded, and I can’t find them. J. appears on the Boardwalk, amidst a crowd of emergency workers, and I embrace him. He pats me gently as I sob, and I tell him I can’t find the kids. He does not offer to help.

I return to my search, alone. I have my cell phone, but I cannot call my husband and worry him with this. He can't help, and it would upset him. I do not call.

I wake, crying.

(Welcome to My Nightmare; Alice Cooper)

2 comments:

Inanna said...

Wow.

Robert said...

Wow indeed! You had me frightened as I was reading this... till I got to the end.