This post begins Part Two of my small prose series entitled “The Colored Dreams”
Chapter One is a transition, a bridge between Part One and Part Two. I will list the six posts, or chapters, that make up the first part of this story. As it has a linear logic to the story-line’s progression, I recommend reading Part One first, before you begin to read Part Two which now begins in this post under the heading Chapter One Transition. The urls for Part One, in correct order are:
I want to thank my readers, thank you all for your wonderful comments and feedback. You are the major reason, I decided to write Part Two. I hope you will enjoy this second series as much as the first.
Chapter One ~Transition
My name is Ismara, and I am on vacation, a sort of forced vacation, promoted and sponsored by my family and close friends, as they all agreed I needed some time on my own, to get away and rest. I lost my twin sister to an endless coma, that was terminated by my family’s mutual agreement, to shut off her ventilator, and allow her to rest. I am sure losing any family member, any loved one might also be this painful, but my grief seems to self-perpetuate, and there is no getting over it and back to my life, as some suggest I should. I am really trying.
We were twins, so this is yet another factor, and I have seen a counselor who specializes in that, in consoling a twin who has been left behind by the death of the other. To say we were close is just a redundancy. We were twins. When Karima was in the head-on accident, and was hovering between life and death for days, and not stabilized, I did feel her at times, try to reach out to me. Not usually when I was at her bedside, but at night in my dreams I heard her voice faintly. I realize this could have been just small moments of my own wishful thinking, but it seemed she was struggling to survive and regain consciousness. At some point that I wasn’t aware of, there was a change, and it was as if she had moved away to some foreign land and forgotten everything and everybody. We all talked to her, much more at first, and there was a constant stream of sound, and love poured over her, by all who knew and cared for her. We played her favorite music and all of us, had hope that at any minute she might be returned, vital and eager to take her life back from the clutches of the coma that had snatched her away, like a kidnapper who takes a victim, and holds her without ransom.
A tropical paradise was prescribed for me by my best friend. She had come here last year and said it was as close as heaven ever gets to the earth, and rallied my family behind the idea, until one day they slipped an itinerary with a ticket into my hands, and said “Find your peace Ismara”
There is an expression my grandparents always used in Spanish, that goes,
“La calentura no está en las sábanas” which means “The fever is not in the sheets.” Lying in this hammock, staring out at a crystal-mirror of aqua blue, I brought my fever with me I’m afraid, as instead of feeling peace, I am still feeling loss and rolling anxiety. On one level, I see how beautiful my surroundings are, the tropical lushness, the cleansing waves, the star-filled nights, but on another level, all that I see that is beautiful, makes me wish I could share it with her. I lay in hammocks, going from one to another, and try to read, while the words start to form long strings of gray code and quickly do not make sense. I bought a variety of books, mostly self-help ones that were gifts, grief counseling suggestions, etc, but none of them seem to be making any difference, nor can I concentrate long enough to maybe give them a chance to.
None of the words were strong enough to break the fever I carried inside, no pampering, piña coladas, or deep natural massages, were astute enough to drop my temperature to normal. I wanted that, I wanted everything to go back to normal, but that was the one thing I had to accept would not happen. Normal was thinking of something at the same time with Karima, maybe thousands of miles apart and picking up the phone to call her, and find it busy, because later we would discover, she was doing the exact same thing and calling me. Every twin in a way, is always emotionally conjoined, sharing heart, head, liver, kidneys, all the vital organs, but not on a physical level, on some other level, that I am not even sure what to call it. I am like that Siamese twin, who barely survived the surgery to separate us, knowing my sister didn’t make it. It’s hard for me to put it into words, but something died years ago, when she left us to sleep in the deep crevices of the mind, where none of us, not even I, her twin, could reach her.
The water supports me in a way that nothing else can. I search it out many times a day. We were born under the water sign, and Karima said she felt the tides in her thinking, and that our emotions were as ruled by them as they were ruled by hormones, stress, love, fear, or our basic passions. To hear her voice in my head is to hear my own, and on a telephone, no one could tell us apart. The afternoon she finally was allowed to rest, and I say it this way, as I have come to accept that it was the only compassionate thing we could do, I could not see her. I was the only one, that didn’t go to see her, and I refused to see her again in her open casket. Everyone of course could understand to some degree, because except for our hair color , we were quite identical. Seeing her lying on a hospital gurney, or inside a tufted satin -lined, hardwood casket, would be too much for me, and too shockingly familiar, as it would be like peering into my own death, and mourning myself. In some ways I guess that is what I am still doing, and hopefully, all my family is right, here on this tropical island of tranquility and Nature, I will put it to rest.
I had the hope, even with her lying in the coffin, that she would get up at any point and join us all in the quiet living-room of the funeral parlor. It was this same hope that kept all of us going for nearly two years, until we finally lost it, after we had agreed to a radical and very experimental therapy to reach victims who had been declared brain dead. The doctor who was still testing it, used a type of rapid- frame color lite -laser and for periods of time, would bombard her retinas with these pure clear tones of various colors. The treatment went on for three months, and we all agreed, that if she showed no signs of improvement, we would let her go, as she would not be coming back. She never responded, and that moment was the last time I actually saw her face. I pleaded with her with all my internal power and thoughts, and voice and gestures to come back to me and just say my name, but there was no change, no miraculous awakening, and I walked out of her room sobbing and did not look at her again.
She was gone. I knew it at that moment. We all did. The decision was to be taken.
Now, a few months later, I am in paradise, where even the octopus is friendly and non- aggressive, so they say.
“Ismara take the boat ride, it will do you good”
“Ismara fishing could be just the right thing”
“Ismara, that nice looking man over there has asked about you.”
“Ismara we have a tango class, a turtle walk, a butterfly farm”…etc etc
I know everyone means well, and although I am in my own self locking cage, the scenery outside my bars, is very beautiful. In some ways, I am happy to be here.
Because we were born Pisces, neither of us feared water or almost anything that lived in it. I was my happiest under water, and perhaps it was the best choice for driving the fever from within me, and allowing me to float and think about what I was going to do. I was not here just to try to find peace and come back sun-tanned, with a smile on my face. No, I had something, a decision that I must make, and it was the kind I felt might define my life. I had to be sure about my choice, because it was one I had pondered and weighed for over two years now.
Karima began a diary a year before the accident. Of course I knew about it, because she told me. She had doodle pads, sketch pads, and a collection of drawings, and paintings, digitalized portfolios of all her work as she was an art student who was to graduate in the Fall. One day I asked her about it, out of curiosity, because I saw it was the only thing she did not share with me. We had an understanding and we both kept it, if something was not for anyone else’s eyes we would declare it “Level Three” Sometimes it was just a conversation not to be passed around, so when I asked her what she was writing in her little book, she said “Sorry, It’s Level Three” and that was the last I asked her of it. She used to write in it almost every morning, and I tried to imagine what she could be filling the pages with, as she had just awoken. Perhaps she waited to write down the last day, on the next morning. There really isn’t any “right way” you must keep a diary, so I let it go as it was just how she liked to do it. When she had the accident, no one touched one single thing in her room. Everything stayed the same, and in place, with linens changed weekly, curtains washed monthly, waiting for her return.
I am not sure why I took her diary maybe a week after she was hospitalized, but it was never to spy on her. I did it thinking, as I imagined she would have thought for me, if things were reversed. If she had not shared this little book with me, then it was certain she would not wish it to fall into other hands, of family or friends who might somehow stumble upon it. I knew where she kept it and I went in and I took it and brought it back to my own room. To this day, I feel a great guilt over having taken it, have struggled with myself for years, and I am even more plagued now, that I have brought it with me, still not knowing what I will finally do with it.
I never opened it. Not two years ago, when she had the accident, and not since she has been buried. It has remained bound and private with her “Level Three” being respected even beyond her death.
I seek the beach out at night, and walk along the shore, letting my pants cuffs catch the shoreline waves, and I consider I have only two choices, and everything tells me that one must be made right here on this beach, near this campfire. Tonight I will decide what is the correct thing to do.
Karima and I both believed in trusting our inner voices, and I laid back on a piece of drift wood and tried to listen to mine. The waves chanted in rhythm to my whispered words. Only two choices possible, and the beat sounded like this
“Burn it…or Read it”
I had done days of soul-searching, I prayed, and I tried to get some kind of sign, I begged her to come to me in any form, and tell me what she wished I would do.
“Burn it…or Read it” I had never once opened it, even though it had no locking device. It was bound in a red sash, so easily unwrapped, that I decided to hide it in a leather purse, zipped it into a back pocket where it stayed this whole time, until I took it out tonight to bring it with me on my walk.
“Burn it…or Read it”
I silently begged her forgiveness, if I were wrong in doing this, and I opened the diary to the middle and read, just one page by firelight and moonlight. Reading her words was like hearing her voice, and hearing my voice, in my head along with hers, was such a deep moment, a lump caught in my throat and stayed stuck there. I felt her close to me, oh… so close to me! I don’t mean, just in my head, I felt her on the wind, and she was present. You might think me crazy, and blame it on my grief, or my post traumatic stress as some have labeled this sadness, but in that moment when I read only a few words, I sensed her approval for what I had just done. It was almost like having her back, her voice, her thoughts her humor, I knew it was all in there. Inside she had captured the deepest part of herself, not in her paints and her drawings left behind, but in her words that described, her nightly journey’s into an amazing world of colors and mysteries. riddles, and transcendence, that opened its gates wide for her, every night when she slipped into her dreams. This was the diary of her dreams, and now I held it and I pressed her words to my heart.
July-5th “Tonight a red ball is placed in my hands, and I ask the ones who pass through my room, if this holds a special significance for me..or for them. The girl who has been coming and visiting regularly, just smiles. So far I have seen this ball on three different occasions, and always, when I ask about it, soon after I wake up…”
to be continued…
May, 5, 2011
© 2011 all rights reserved