I was falling asleep when the scorpion climbed onto my shoulder. Clicking his armor with mincing little steps, he made his way down and across the length of me, from my left shoulder to my right ankle. I stayed still, barely breathing. I watched the light from the bedside lamp play against gunmetal blue claws and finally closed my eyes as I slipped under water, leaving the scorpion to drown or be saved alone.
Swimming upriver effortlessly, like when I was a kid, I saw branches lifting out of my way and there was James and we were no children. We dove under fallen trees and swam through a flood. Under the roiling waves, the water was still and calm. The flood was only dangerous on the surface, so we stayed underwater as long as we could. When we came up, there was a house on the riverbank, perched like a cliff made of bricks. I climbed up the side, alone again, but I was too big to crawl through the little windows, so I clung to the wall like a tree frog, waiting for someone to help me. An old man inside the house saw me and came to the window. I told him I was too big, the windows were too small, and he smiled and held out a gnarled hand like a claw, two arthritic fingers for me to hold. His eyes were faded gunmetal blue, like an old dusty scorpion. He wore overalls and his feet were bare. He told me to close my eyes. I grabbed his hand and held my breath while he pulled me through the wall into the house.
I opened my eyes to room filled with sunlight. The old man was gone and scenes passed in front of me like a slideshow. I heard my own voice describing the rooms. James’s parents’ house, but as soon as I recognized it, it slipped away. My own apartment emerged in the sunlight and Loki came galloping toward me, fatter than he was when I left him with my mom. I turned to her accusingly and she laughed. One can of food, she said. He liked it so much, it was so cute.
Look at his round little belly, Mom! You’ve turned my kitten into a little fat boy!
He needed some fattening up. He’s just a baby.
I scowled as I picked up Loki, but there didn’t seem to be any real harm done. I set him down and he galloped thumping across the floor, then thumped back. He thumped on my bedroom door and I woke up, for real this time. It would have been nice to have a little more time with my mom, but she’s awfully busy being dead.
I had to make a note of this one -- I know, other people's dreams are SOOO boring. But see, this is important. This is the first time I can recall ever seeing my mom in a dream and not waking up distraught. I was just really glad to see her again. She seemed happy. I miss her terribly, and I always will, but I'm happy to see some nontraumatic grief happening. No evisceration, no unbearable pain. Just a little sad. But I'm going to quit talking about it, because if I keep this up, I'll get to bawling because I miss my mom and that's no way to spend a Saturday.