Perspectives In Motion

If you stare at an object long enough it becomes something else entirely. When you glance from the corner of your eye to the edge of your vision, to your right is a bear! Or a station wagon. To your left is disaster! Or a group of kids milling about. In a moving vehicle, trees run alongside of you, matching your speed all the way north. A fire will hypnotize you. As a child of five, I believed my Grandpa when he told me that I would go blind if I stared long enough at a campfire. Grandfathers tell grand stories. A scar along the stomach becomes a wound from a bayonet earned while in France, in World War II. When you’re a kid, and your grandpa tells you this, you believe it. A second scar, on the back, was where the tip of the bayonet came out. Years later, as an adult, you learn about appendicitis, and laugh at your younger self. You miss your naivety, and crave a return to innocence. Now, when you believe stories, when you imagine alternatives to reality, you are gullible, not innocent. Not young. You’ve put to bed all your playthings, and stuffed them into boxes tucked into corners of the attic. If, years later, you have your own children, you can unearth toys, dolls, and games and create your own stories, all while you relive your childhood through their wide eyes. But as an adult, you must alter your perspective to become grounded. You are unable to float off the ground and fly, save for one exception. Your dreams.

My dreams are always vivid. I wake up believing they are real. For a solid thirty seconds upon awakening, I believe that I flew. I really did save the dragon. I fought the bad guys. I ran on the lake. I escaped the demons. I kissed the man. I sung onstage, without clothes on. In my favorite dream, I was five inches taller. It can happen. This time I was with Henry and he was kissing my back as I lay on my stomach. We were lost in the dark, whispering until I woke up. Henry Dreams are usually a sign that he’s about to resurface. I haven’t had one of those in a long time. It leaves me edgy, as I roll out of bed and make my way to the kitchen.

Anne is there and ready with coffee. I shake him off my mind and take the cup that Anne hands me. We work on nursing well-earned hangovers, and munch slowly on Cheerios and bananas.

We have an entire day to spend together and decide to invest in quality time instead of too many tourist attractions. Which means we go shopping instead. She needs shoes and I need dresses, if wanting can mean needing. Ben wisely disappears again until lunch. Armed with bags full of rainbow colored treasures, we sit outside of a cafe, where we sip on lemonade and trade family war stories with each other. Ben’s family is something of a mystery to me. I do not know them, and cannot understand how he managed to grow up in Georgia without becoming Southern. He is such a Yankee, like Anne and I. He feels more like an East Coaster to me. When I meet his family in October, I’ll be able to see the similarities, and draw better comparisons.

An old man from the street asks me for a quarter, as we move towards National Mall. Anne and I are determined to earn some sunshine today. Our skin is starving for it. I give the man a dollar. He gives me a tired smile and calls me beautiful. I wink at him in return. Shifting eyes from left to right as we cross the street, I whistle a Tom Petty tune, and sing the words to “I Won’t Back Down” off-key, making Anne laugh and Ben grimace comically. We mosey over to the Mall. Our happy trio does not feel the tension that the guards and tanks lining the Capitol’s gates and fences have created.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: