Ramming a Barrier

I’m in the army. I give out a few army shouts to show it. I’m wearing a uniform and a cap with a bill. I’m going on leave, and my dad has come in a truck (or van, maybe the blue, Dodge van we owned) to pick me up. I’m driving, but my dad’s big atlas keeps slipping down around my feet, knocking my foot off the accelerator, and I can’t get to the brake. I lean down and try to lift out the atlas while I drive. It’s frustrating as all hell, and we’re coming to a toll booth (or checkpoint). There’s a lightweight barricade between two booths, but the brake on the van won’t engage so I can’t stop, and I go cruising through. Security people are alerted. I’ve stopped accelerating (still no control over the brakes) and roll to a stop. Looking back, I see that I haven’t broken the wooden barrier, that it has swung back in place.

I’m pretty concerned about being confronted by the police and try to compose myself to explain about the brake. They get my dad out the passenger side. He’s friendly and smiling, as peaceful and kind as he always was, not a worry in the world. Waiting to be patted down for weapons, I have my back to the van. I hear that it’s now my husband (not my dad) who has been removed from the vehicle. I hear the officer (security or police of some organization) say something about my husband’s Beretta. Great, I think, he just had to get himself in more trouble than we’re already in. I really hope he has his license to carry on him.

I don’t see either the van, my husband or dad again. While foot traffic increases, I keep waiting to be frisked, but no one ever comes. They have left me alone. I think this is a poor way to secure a suspect that has just rammed a barricade. What if I had carried a weapon? I could have done some violence with all these people around. I don’t want to protest too loudly in case it makes anyone suspicious for I have no intention of doing violence. It was all an honest, frustrating accident.

Someone says to me that I look tired. I reply, “I’m in the Army; I always want a nap.” I found this extremely amusing at the time.

The light crowd and I are now in a restaurant, a metamorphosis of a gift shop that had been tacked onto the toll (checkpoint?) booths. There’s a waiter working his tables. He sees me and instantly recognizes me from somewhere. Excited, he rushes away (to the kitchens?) and returns with a small (3 1/2 in x 2 in?), fat (about 1 1/2 in) book. Still very excited, he flips through the pages, which are old and falling away from the binding. He finally finds the page he wants, a photo of three gravestones and some surrounding shrubbery and rocks. I’m now as excited as the waiter because I’ve seen this same photo of the three gravestones before! It was earlier while I was with my dad. Only our photo was larger, clearer, and there weren’t any obscuring shrubs around the three markers. In the larger photo, I could read the names, but not in this small, blurry photo, and I can’t remember what they were.

The waiter is enthusiastically flipping through the pages, showing me his family tree with pictures of his ancestors. They’re sepia photos of women mostly. He’s telling me their names. He tells me his name, which I repeat back to him as Martin, but he’s of Latin origin, and his name is Latinized. He corrects me, pronouncing the name something like Mahrtheen. I repeat the name, doing my best to say it properly. I finally realize we’re related, and I exclaim, “We’re cousins!” He embraces me. We hold each other a long time in the most profound bliss. <3 <3 <3

We're not first cousins, but whoever was buried in those graves were ancestors to us both. I want to read the names, but I can't. I try to figure it out with Mart(h)in. Maybe they say "Hume." That seems right to both of us, but we're not sure. I wish I had the larger photo with me to check and to show him. He has to go back to his work, but he leaves the little book with me. I'm surprised because it seems such a precious item, although he did not handle it with the care I thought it required. The pages were falling loose as he flipped through madly. I do my best to close the book intact.

I then wander to a verandah area of the restaurant. There's a young woman there with large dark eyes (Lisa Bonet) who knows me. She congratulates me on finding my cousin. She and others are waiting for me to go somewhere. At first I believe we’re going to board a bus, but we walk, instead, into a lecture hall. At the back of the hall, standing beside a woman, is a man I mistake for Mart(h)in, whom I would love to see again. A plastic produce bag has been swept over his face by a wind, obscuring his identity. I ask him something enigmatic (two words), something that could have been for almost anyone, and he answers as if its applicable to him. I don’t know it’s not Mart(h)in until the bag blows off his face, revealing an angular-cheeked older man with white hair, a British man, tall and thin. I go on, half hoping to find Mart(h)in, drawn on by the connection we shared, wanting to revive those feelings.

From the hall that seemed like a professional lecture room or conference, I walk into a more luxurious area. Here are a few women in gowns and some tables with finery. The room is narrow, a passage maybe to the hall. Going on, I find myself most definitely among the members of a ceremony, a wedding or graduation. From a side hallway, there walks a group of children, all girls, dressed as if for church for the ceremony. They are former students of mine, and we have some friendly conversation. Also a little girl about seven wiggles through the crowd to find me. It’s my granddaughter.

Then it seems I’m in another dream, naked at a 2nd story window. Below, there’s a boy shading his eyes, but I think he’s peeking at me. I turn to find some boys in the room, attracted to me through the window. Also, there are some small, squidgy alien forms that attach themselves to me or try to. I peel them off my skin with disgust, but they keep coming. I flee from the room to get away from the eroticized boys and the polyp-like aliens, and I launch myself from the 2nd story into the air. It’s quite easy, the movement through the air; I’m essentially without weight or substance. I fly low to scoop up some rough twigs and straw with which to brush my body thoroughly all over to remove the sticky, clinging residue of the aliens.

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