There were four of us, would another have really made a difference? We were terrible, terribly even, yet not. The odds were never even. Odds had it that I was out, I thought. But it seems now, that we were all out, out in some way. Out of our minds, me, out of my body. It’s taken me this long to realize that I saved my mind by going out of my body, though some would argue that the body is the mind. Maybe the mind is not in the body at all, but like an egg, sometimes cracked with little seeping tendrils that get caught up in the swirl of the world.
When I was five I was on fire. I mean, I dreamed about fire in the morning every sunrise. Later, I discovered my little sister had the same dreams, though she described a city, which she believed to be Dresden. My dream felt primal, as if I was on a pyre, my bed the pyre, and the sun, through my eyelids, fiery tongue, fiery mouth engulfing me back to sleep. I saw nothing but fire.
And yet, I laid there. Opening my eyes, looking at the lions and giraffes my mother and grandmother carefully cut out and glued onto the wallpaper so that they made a pattern at the edge of the ceiling and the walls. The creatures looked like they were happily lazing in the grass – their cartoon faces benevolent and domesticated. I thought of Africa and wild places where animals were cute and free and fell back to half-sleep, lucidly dreaming of Luke Skywalker kissing me and forgetting all about Princess Leah. He held me in his arms and we leapt away from the fire across a vast cliff and ran to our favorite cuddly lion and buried our faces into his mane.
Looking back toward the cliff, ferocious flames turned into the deep red ball of the sun. And I held that ball in my mind until I had to get up, get out, go to school, forget about the sun, the day, the grass, the trees, the sky, the lions. Grew up and graduated to Han Solo. Dreamed about the moon instead of the sun. Blonde to brunette.
There were supposed to be five of us, my older sister had a twin who was born dead. My astrologer says the trouble between us is the missing fifth child that was not born. The missing sibling threw off the balance between us, therefore, I, the next born after the dead child, don’t belong where I am, and so, all anger and grief is mine to absorb. I, on the other hand, am so happy to be alive, that my happiness is my treasure, my compass, my North Star. It’s the misty light river of the Milky Way in the darkness, and it carries me to places beyond the order of things.