Brink of War

Brink of War

With news of escalating tensions with Iran, and Russia already being a worry for me, combined with my own personal life stressors – my anxiety is off the chain tonight. I haven’t been this anxious, or in what I like to refer to as “OMG I’m gonna die” mode, in a long time. So in an effort to feel better somehow, I thought to myself, if I never achieve all the things I wanted to achieve in life, you know, because of possibilities like war, what will I have left behind?

It was then that I decided to share a very vivid dream I had, days before I went to visit my mother in the hospital, and it truly hit me that she was going to die. This was three or four months before the fact, but until this day, I haven’t forgotten that dream.

I’ve decided that, if for some reason I don’t get to live out my life until I’m a sassy, salsa bopping, viejita, this was the story I wanted to share.

In the dream, I was in the city. It was Manhattan probably, and I was standing in the middle of the street during the day.

Just like an apocalyptic movie, the skyscrapers are collapsing around me, the ground beneath my feet, is cracking to inevitably swallow people and everyone is running for their lives. For me, the moment is in slow motion. I know there’s no point in running because there is nowhere safe to go.

A few feet ahead of me, both of my parents are holding onto each other and looking at me.

I glance at the buildings and know that I only have seconds to act before we all die. Surprisingly, my first thought isn’t that I’m scared, or that I don’t want to die. I don’t despair over the multitude of unanswered questions regarding the Christian faith I abandoned in my late teens and what that means now that this is the end.

Instead, I only have one thought. To get to my parents in time.

So I ran to them. And when I reached them, I grabbed both of their hands in mine. While breaking down in tears and trying to keep my eyes on them, probably even try to smile at them one last time, I only tell them this:

“I love you. Thank you for giving me life.”

I woke up after that.

I’ve always thought this dream was metaphorical – a bad omen of things to come. I don’t normally remember my dreams or nightmares, unless they really strike a cord. If I remember them, I feel like they must have a purpose.

At the time, I thought, well, my parents are my world and I am theirs. So seeing as I was in the process of losing one when I had this dream, this dream could’ve been a metaphor for how that felt to me.

Today, in my anxious state and the state of our country, this same dream could have a different meaning.

I feel like it shows how much I love my parents. I was their “miracle” baby, a premie born at seven months who was sickly ever since. Asthmatic, hearing loss, anemia – while I became stronger health wise as an adult, they always prayed and worried about me. While it’s just my father now, I’m sure he still does it just the same.

And despite that I have so many things on my mind now, with my anxiety shooting through the roof, remembering this dream gives me perspective.

In the end, nothing else really matters, except family and those we love.

I just want to be with my family. My heart has never been the same since I lost my mama, and I ache with worry that someday, my father will go meet her. I know it’s inevitable we all leave this life, whether it’s through aging, a freak accident, or God forbid, war. I don’t know what tomorrow will bring, or if I’ll ever get to do all the things I wanted to do.

But for tonight, I’m going to hold onto that dream. I’m going to remember that, when I thought that life was over, how grateful I was to have been given life. How blessed, as ironic as that word feels coming from me, I felt to have the parents that I did. How fortunate I was to be loved and to have parents to love in return.

The life I leave behind may not be the legacy I intended; Maybe due to my own procrastination, or events beyond my control.  However, regardless of what remains when I’m no longer of this world, know that I was a girl, who’s parents were her heart and home. A girl – who hopes that someday when her time comes, she can have them both again, and be together.

– Rachel R. Vasquez, June 2019

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The picture on this post is of me as a little girl, holding onto my mama and my daddy. Holding on always…

 

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A Country

Somewhere in me,
a country rises,
of cobble-stoned roads,
street lamps like raised eyes,
3 panel windows on brick,
of blown glass, wind chimes, and freshly baked bread.

Somewhere where it’s winter.
Somewhere I only find
when I’m taken from everything else.

A man I don’t know,
but is the type only I could ever truly know
on the other side of a barely cracked door split to show
heavy wooden furniture, sofas and curtains,
answers in a defeated tone to his cynical father,
“She’ll probably go back when the winter’s over anyway.”

I know he means me,
but I’m not sure where it is I’ve come from to return to.

He has dark hair that whips in the front the way beaters fold cake batter,
glasses, a long sleeve sweater on his long arms –
red.
I push the door open with my breath not being the only thing I leave behind.

Dusting a layer of snow from my red coat,
I tell him it’s cold outside
before inviting myself to his flank.
If he was surprised,
he only let it slip for a moment before he secures me against him with one arm.
Warm.

Does he know I heard?
A shop owner,
a woman I apparently know who knows us,
but only him individually,
asks him a favor to which
he answers with a grumble.

He looks at me look at him
and changes his mind.

“Let’s go.”

The kiss is as quick as the dot of an exclamation.
I’m not sure it happened,
But my face senses the intrusion and bares teeth.

She gives me that look.
The, “I know you’re staying whether or not it’s winter forever,” look.
Out in the winter,
my coat and his red scarf,
he reaches for my cold fingers
before country sinks again.

I open my eyes to the
winter that hasn’t gone,
but I’ve left against my will.

 

– Rachel R. Vasquez ?/?/2014

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.