Monday, September 27, 2010

"I'll Be Safe Once I Wake Up"

All I want is a leisurely day on the shore. Lakes were never my favorite, they aren't now, but I'll do anything to dip my toes in the cool, clear water. And I'll take whatever I can get. Lazily, I walk to the shore. I can see a man less than 15 feet away with his line carelessly cast. It seems that today will be a lazy day for everyone.

We exchange niceties and he laughs when I sigh at the water's warmth. I ask him what's with all of these strings. There are at least a dozen of them - white, green, and blue - all tied together in a knot and secured to a rock. He doesn't have a clue, "they've been there all day", he says. I tug on a white one and I can see that it stretches far into the water.

I know that having it tied to all of the other strings will make this harder but I don't really have an option; that knot is not coming out. I pull and pull. Finally, I can feel the object on the other end give way and start to slowly pull toward me. The pulling gets easier as the objects gets closer. My arms want me to stop but my curiosity has been peaked. There's no way I'm gonna stop now. Whatever I pull outta here is mine and it could be gold!

But it's not gold. As I'm heaving and tugging I see something dark pop up. It's way too late to turn back now so I continue pulling. I've got an audience now and I can hear them cheering me on. Then a head arises from the water. I can see the look of pure torment on this man's face, his hand is clutching the noose on which I pull. I panic. The cheering has stopped and everyone has fallen silent. I drop the rope. I can't even scream. The only thing I can think to do is run.

I run from the shore and when I finally stop I'm in the city. A huge metropolis is all around me and instinctually I know where to go. I am cold and shivering from the night air. My feet are sore but not bleeding. My body is dirty, my hair is mangy, and I am scared. I see him and hope that he doesn't see me but he does. He calls my name and inside I'm begging him to stop. Doesn't he know that they're still after me? Doesn't he know that I'm not safe?

He wraps his arm around me like he used to. It's still unwelcome. I tell him that I'm running away and he offers to help. I tell him that I just want to go home. "I'll help you", he says. He only wants me to get there safely. There's an alley that we walk through. The buildings are so tall. I see the air conditioners in the windows and women are hanging clothes on the line while talking on their phones. I know this isn't my home... it's his. I ask about his wife and he assures me that they were never married, it was just a hoax. We can still be together - he and I - and I could have all of this if I would just stay.

I look up at him and I see the sincerity in his eyes. But the same fear that made me leave back then is coursing through my veins. So, I make the decision to run... again. This time I make it to the ferry but I have no money. I jump as it begins to pull away from the dock and make it on undetected. Quickly, I leap behind the chair of an overweight woman hoping that her girth will hide me. I see him pacing the ferry slowly and deliberately. He's wearing a grey suit and he's holding so many gifts.

As he gets closer, I am able to make out his cargo. My heart sinks at the sight of the purple roses. He's looking for me. I know that he will find me. The African has always known me too well. I can't explain why he's carrying two more bouquets - red and yellow roses - and a balloon. Maybe he's unsure? I just hoped to never find out. The seconds pass like minutes until he gathers confidence in his step. He's coming toward me like a heat-seeking missle. Suddenly, he's standing before me and offers his hand.

I feel the tears pricking my eyes. I don't want to go. But still I extend my hand to him and turning away from him I say, "I'll be safe once I wake up".


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