exitseraphim: [colourfaire] reading (Default)
[personal profile] exitseraphim posting in [community profile] dearcousin
Dear Ilyana,

I have so much homework, but I don't feel like doing any of it. I have a quiz this week in chem and a vocab quiz in German next week, but I can probably get still B's if I cram right before the quizzes so I'm writing to you instead.

This school year has been going pretty much the way all the others have. I go to class, I eat lunch in Ms. Fajans' classroom, I go to more classes, I walk home. I’ve been doodling some of the people and creatures you’ve mentioned in the margins of my notebooks. Christophe, dragonbats, gnomes... they all seem so fascinating. I can’t wait to hear more about them. What is Azra the Death Boy like? Do you converse much with him? He must have interesting stories from meeting all of the people who have died.

Today I just came back and dozed off as I was reading. Naps can be so restless and feverish when you sleep bathed in the tepid light of the afternoon sun. I drifted in and out of consciousness, one second hyper aware of my face pressed hotly against the backs of my hands, the next completely insensitive.

During one of the forays into unconsciousness, I dreamt about us, Ilyana. It’s been on my mind since I woke up.

I saw us as small children, five-years-old maybe, playing with toy cars at two worn wooden tables partially buried in desert sand. I saw us from a great distance. It was as if I were split into two physical bodies but my mind rested only with one while the other was a physical replica bereft of almost everything else that makes me who I am. Except I still felt – and therefore knew – that I was in both places at once. But that’s off topic.

The dunes extended in every direction. Nothing punctured the horizon, the burnished red of the sand meeting the saturated blue of the sky like two thick stripes on a flag. A gust of wind sent ripples through the sand (stirring the grains and scratching my face) and then the sand melted into water and then we were sinking in a lake, slowly, buffered by dream logic. The toy cars wriggled from our grasps and swam away from us. As they receded, the cars became coffins and then covers vanished and the coffins gaped in the water like the empty graves that you described.

You giggled. Bubbles escaped from your mouth but it didn't seem like you had any trouble breathing. I inhaled deeply to test it out for myself. I noticed that it wasn't irritating having our eyes open below water either. I became aware of the water's temperature against my skin. It wasn't the startling cold that greets you when you dip your toe into a pool, but the soothing coolness that surrounds you after you've been submerged inside for a while. I remember enjoying that feeling for a second when the coolness became excruciating heat and we weren't in a lake but instead, a fiery cyclone. I saw you grab my hand as we whirled around and the tables disintegrated. But I couldn't feel your palm at all: only the concentrated heat of the tip of a flame like the one that burns your palm when you let your hand hover above a candle. I remember the pungent smell of charred flesh, but it was faint, like white noise or a faded image. It emanated from our clasped hands. I know this with certainty, though I couldn't tell you how. Embers flared at the charred edges of the tables before they crumbled into imperceptible debris whirling around us and I opened my mouth to yell your name and I woke up, my hands tingling.

There are a few explanations I found for the dream. It could have something to do with how I scraped my hands in PE during field hockey. One of the guys pushed me. I don’t know him, but I heard people call him Jake. He probably had a reason, but I wasn't really paying attention to the game. I just assume that I was near someone with the puck. This was my biggest contribution to the team though, since the PE teacher saw and awarded my team a foul. Or is it called a penalty? I'm not sure, but Dana Larkin thanked me in the locker room for taking one for the team. I think she expected me to say "you're welcome" or express some other form of gratitude that she acknowledged my existence - nay, more than that - my unforeseen contribution to the Team, but I just looked at her and continued putting away my things. She muttered "freak" as she walked away. Leela Mehta saw our small exchange and gave me a sympathetic smile. I think I smiled back? I had geometry with her last year and this year we're in the same periods for PE, English, and world history. She’s okay, even though she participates a lot in class. Anyway, that explains the hands and the burning.

The cars, I think, are because I was helping Aunt Polina and Uncle Jeroen clean up your things and we ended up going through your collection of toy cars. We were going to donate all of them, but then there was enough space on the mantle in the living so I picked out your favorites and we lined them up around this photo of you. It was a little too much like a shrine for me and probably for you too, but I think it comforts your parents.

Finally, I saw a girl on fire in the supermarket. Dad and I were making a last-minute run to get chives. It didn't look like she was in pain; she wasn't screaming or anything. She was just lit up like a human torch. No one was paying any attention to her, so I didn't say anything and, in fact, I'm not even sure I saw her. But she had piercing eyes the color of seafoam. She was at the self check-out buying eggs and a pack of sponges. Then Dad said something to me and she was gone.

Oh, one more thing about the dream. It was completely silent.


P.S. Susan Le was at the funeral. She was a complete mess during the ceremony, sobbing louder than anyone. I overheard her on the phone in the bathroom though, and she was laughing and chatting normally until she saw me. Then she abruptly hung up and threw herself at me crying. I think she’ll be fine.

May 2015

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