One Rainy Night

 

The funny thing about writing is that I often wind up saying something I didn’t even know I thought before it spilled out onto the page. It’s an interesting thing, to explore that stream of consciousness while leaving a permanent trail behind you to analyze.

When I was 16 I had this friend, April. Her mom was really into metaphysics and all sorts of trippy stuff, and one rainy night things got sort of weird. I’ll leave out the part where we sneaked Zimas from the fridge and had a secret buzz going, that’s not going to matter to the story.

April’s mom was a formidable lady. She seemed to be fueled by this inner rage that somehow translated to all her words booming out of her like thunder, even if she was just offering you a glass of water or asking how your day was. She always gave me the sense that her words were definitive, carefully chosen and not to be avoided.

That night she was eyeballing us in our giggly teenage gossip-mode. She quenched her cigarette in the overflowing ashtray and commanded/asked us to play a little game with her. She had us lie down on the rug while she counted back slowly from ten, describing the tunnel of light we were sliding down toward our subconscious minds. Our bodies were too heavy and distant to move, our minds were a whole world of truth waiting to be explored. I felt it happening, like sinking through oblivion into a sudden feeling of being lighter than air.

She asked us to describe everything we saw. April was in a building with hundreds of rooms. I was in a forest by a foggy lake. April was searching for something, going room to room. I was tired, so incredibly tired, and I laid down in the thick moss between the giant tree’s roots. She asked us who we were. April was the child of an aristocratic family, she had lost something she wasn’t supposed to play with, and she had to find it and put it back or she’d get in trouble. I was a runaway, trying to escape an arranged marriage and a life I didn’t want. I was alone, starving, dying.

She brought us back out of the visualization and lit another cigarette, staring at the wall for a long time. I felt disoriented and giddy, like somewhere in that odd journey of imagination there was a deep truth. April said that hers might be a past life memory. I agreed, but felt that twist in my gut that told me that wasn’t quite it…it was more like a dream that meant something symbolic about where I was inside.

April’s mom turned to me and said she was going to read my cards now. As she shuffled and flipped them out onto the coffee table I leaned forward, dilated. “You need to step out of your life; you’re going down a bad road blind. It’s very important that you get away from the dangers around you without cutting off the things you really need. And you should start writing or you’re going to go insane.” She scooped the cards back up and smacked the end on the table to square the deck, leaving me to the echoes, and 20 years of writing that has illuminated and saved me in so many ways.

 

Managing Editor for Synthesis Weekly. Amy likes to make clothes, plant flowers, and chase butterflies.