(This is a real dream I had. I was never sexually abused, although I was verbally, emotionally and on rare occasions, physically abused. I believe the dream is a representation of the violation to one’s most private being–the thing that makes us holy and unique. Not actual sex. No one talks about our hearts being penetrated.)
There are moments in this life where the entire world slows down for just a second. Noises are blurred, images are paused and focused. And for a brief, fluttering instant we can experience a perfect communion with the eternal; a recognition of the divine. This moment hangs on like a perfectly formed raindrop, clinging to the surface of the present, waiting for the next moment to be bumped forward and resume the electric pace of the ordinary.
It’s a wet, rainy day. Gray, cloudy and cold. I find myself on the street outside my grandmother’s house. Grandma Shark, the one with the droopy earlobes. This is the house where she lived when I was a child. It’s cluttered with distant, whispering voices and the rooms are hidden and dirty. The house is huge.
Mists of breath, I pace along the sidewalk, waiting just outside. Then he’s just there. A young boy. He’s only 8 or 9, with blonde hair and large, round eyes. When I look into his eyes, they flap. Huge, like a fish. His lids spasm with long lashes and the motion is slowed. The boy asks me to ride with him and his grandfather in a car. Then I see him for the first time. The grandfather. He’s intimidating and silent, never speaks. I can tell he is angry and expectant. What does he want? Danger fills the spaces between me, the boy and the man.
Cut to the car. We ride together in a huge car. It is dingy and cold inside. The seats are stiff, slick, stained and dusty. The edges are torn and rugged. We rock and lurch down the street. I use my numb fingers to wipe away the fog on the glass. I rip my hand open on some jagged rusty metal holding in the window. It’s bleeding and I’m breathing through my teeth. I am in the back seat with the boy to protect him.
The old man grabs my legs and holds them tightly from the front seat. He won’t let go and he tries to touch me. His hands grope my thigh. I struggle and push him away. He touches my…the tears come. My cheeks are on fire. He won’t let go. I fight. I hit his arms. He stops groping me and grabs my legs tight. I look over to the driver’s seat and no one is driving. I look at him in the rearview mirror and I ask without words.
“Are you gonna grab the wheel??”
He shakes his head.
And he looks away. He has resolved to die. The car crests a hill. It picks up speed. I can see houses at the end of the street. They’re dark, the sun is setting. There’s a lake just beyond the houses. We’re speeding towards the black water. The steering wheel begins to wobble. I think for an instant about diving for the floor, the brake, the wheel…I buckle the boy and then slide to the floorboard. We’re gonna crash.
Then I panic again inside. What if we hit the water? Can we escape before we drown? I’m not doing anything! I look at the boy.
I’m awake now. My heart is racing.

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