Miles from Home

China Commentary– Youthful Musings on the Environment, Culture & Development


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We were standing on the roof, cold beers in hand.  Meat was on the grill.  Each cluster of people, each conversation pod carrying on while the dark afternoon shower clouds began to creep over the horizon like a dog peering atop the dinner table.

The sun was wallowing in a puddle of pale yellow, unfettered–for once– by the sunset-killing smog.  Reds and purples painted the rim of the sun splatter like one of Dad’s old tie-dyes.  It was cool, everything was cool; and not in the temperate sense.  Chilling with my friend Carlo, laughing, talking about his baby girl and raising a child, it was all logical.  It followed the path.  And here I was catching a sneak peak, a preview of things to come.

In the midst of some high jibberish, Carlo lost focus.  He glanced out at the looming darkness, the clouds coming like clockwork toward the thirsting afternoon Earth.  He looked like someone who just remembered he left the door unlocked at home.  He looked troubled.  “By the way,” he said, “I have to tell you something.”

“Yeah, sure.  Shoot, whatever it is, brother.”

“I had a dream the other night.  I meant to call you,” he paused.  “Look, man, I have some pretty powerful dreams.  Did I tell you about the dream I had of Jessie being pregnant?”  I shook my head, he had not.  “Man, right before Caitlin was born, I dreamed that I was in a pool swimming with a baby girl.  I remember being incredibly happy– overjoyed by the child’s presence.  Then, the little face turned to me– I’ll never forget– and said, ‘Daddy.’  I woke up immediately, in a panic.  I turned to Jessie and said, ‘Wake up! Wake up!  We have to go get you tested!  I think you’re pregnant!’  Man, she thought I was nuts.  But the next day I went to the store, still haunted by that little face in the dream.  I bought her a pregnancy test, and I asked her to take it.  She thought I was losin’ it, but I implored her.  Turns out, I was right.  And now here we are.  Two years later.  I am living in that same house, with the same pool downstairs.  And I tell you this– no shit, no lies– that little face I saw that night is the exact same face of my daughter today.  It was her, man, she was telling me she was coming.”

“Wow, Carlo.  Crazy story,” I said as I nursed another sip out of my warming beer.  Sure, lots of people, I thought, have these dreams or claim to.  But then, on second thought, Carlo had never planned for this child.  The pregnancy was a mistake.  Not now; just then, at that time.  He wasn’t some proud father looking back on his moment of glory with a highlighter.  This would have been a nightmare for him.  As I looked at the seriousness of his mannerisms, in contrast to all the bullshitting expressionism of the last two hours, I wanted to believe him.  “And so, what was it you wanted to tell me?”

“Miles, man.  I dreamed you died.”  Oooof, not what I was hoping for.  Win the lottery, that would have been a good one.  Death?  Not so hot.  “Yeah man,” he continued with a look of grim concern, “I was sitting in your apartment with Thomas and the police just barged in.  They were carrying your lifeless, mangled body by the arms and legs.  They dropped you in a heap on the floor and explained that we must find a way to get the body out of the country.”

Two days later, I am sitting on my couch, alive.  For now.  Prophecy is a funny game.  I’d like to believe Carlo in some sense, that he has powerful dreams.  I recall having moments of intense deja-vu at a very young age– as if I had seen that exact moment in time frozen in my dreams the night before.  Years this lasted, until finally I cast the dreams aside with the other cogs to my lunacy machine.  Dreams can be a powerful thing, I believe that.

Do I believe I am going to die?  Well, no.  It reminds me of a great book I read here which explored the balance of prophecy and chance.  I will die.  Shouldn’t really come as a shocker, should it?  Yet, it is the first time I have been told my death is imminent.  Though even that word has lost some of its edginess.  I mean, ‘Iraq is an imminent threat to America,’ wasn’t that the rhetoric a few years back?  And honestly, of all the stupid and dangerous events in my life, how could I escape them all only to fall like some Achillean hero halfway across the world?

I have found a rather moribund curiousity in all of this, in pondering a more immediate Lights Out.  I assure you, at my last look toward eternity, I would stretch a dry smile across my pallid face.  For in that last moment, I would chuckle to myself, “Shit, Carlo, you were right…”


Written by Miles

July 2, 2007 at 4:59 am

One Response

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  1. Not a good one for your Mom to read…I’m hoping this was one of his dreams that doesn’t come true!
    love you Neep


    July 17, 2007 at 7:02 pm

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