Nine Million Daylight Daughters

Margot is spring cleaning:

I am cleaning out my office and unearthed a forgotten card that has Maxfield Parrish’s painting The Reluctant Dragon, of a gentle dragon sitting with a peasant boy, a small fiefdom in the distance… I bought it years ago because it reminded me of a dream I’d had. Much to my surprise, I’d forgotten that I had written the dream inside the card. My dream more or less as follows: Once there were many dragons…There was a small dragon (I seem to recall the “littlest dragon” bandied back and forth) who was fond of humans, especially one child. When the time came for dragons to leave this realm, the little dragon wanted to stay behind be with the kid. An elder had compassion for the little dragon and told him that if he wanted to stay behind, he could, but he would be bound in another form. He bade the little dragon to sleep, and when the dragon opened his eyes, he saw that he was a cat, safe to watch over his boy.

When I woke from the dream, my cat was on the bed, licking an extended paw, as if to say, “Now you know.”

****************************************************************************
A light rain is falling outside tonight. She knows I seldom sleep. Margot knows my dreams are so vivid I wake up exhausted when I *do* sleep. My dreams have three different plots I won’t get into without a psychologist waving a prescription pad, but there’s one I will tell you. It’s so specific I hate to think about it.

In this dream, I am a tall, thin blond girl with very white skin. My ragged dress, filthy and smeared with something brown, is very light blue. Smoke is in the air. A crowd gathers. I am sick, so sick, with fear, but the thing I am sharply, painfully conscious of is that I am standing on raw wood, sticks and twigs. My feet – in the dream and in waking life – are used to being bare, used to the snap and give of the smallest bits of wood, but now this sensation comes with a flood of churning horror. It feels like it’s happening now; it doesn’t feel like a dream. I wake up gasping for breath.

It may come as no surprise that every person I tell this to averts his or her eyes and says, “I’m sorry.” You may find yourself doing it now. The Wiccans look fatigued. Christians make dubious faces but say sleeping pills really help, which is kind of telling. Catholics wince. Buddhists like Margot, who accept the idea of the past leaking into the present, nod. Eyes still averted, but they nod. Apparently, if you believe in reincarnation, you accept that you’ve been publicly murdered in brutal, disgusting ways at least a time or two. I don’t know. I have no way of knowing anything worthwhile in this life. Margot, well-adjusted and sanguine, dreams in lovely Japanese fairy tales, but I dream about being slowly burned alive.

Maybe this accounts for my lifelong belief that nothing bad will happen to me when it’s raining.

Let’s welcome our new Pope, shall we? His little red wagon, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, is the face of the Inquisition in our lifetime. I have the terrible feeling we’ve faced one another before.

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