Dreaming Women

Red Solar Skywalker GAP 9.13.17

Baseer is seated cross-legged on a moss covered rock overlooking the expanse of blue sky. It is a clear day, though the air is heavy with damp residue from days of rain. The sky melds into dark blue and gray ridges, peaks undulating, dipping down and cresting high. A small speck soars, flying in spirals above us. I pace to and fro amidst drying milkweed, blue green pods bursting with silky down; their leaves have turned mottled yellow, stiff. The stars of Queen Anne’s Lace have closed into dry seedy nests. The chirping of crickets provides a rhythmic cadence to the quiet.

“Begin,” he states softly.

I settle down and cross my legs on the grass facing him. I enjoy watching his face when we speak. He has a steady gaze that is unwavering, not a flicker crosses his fac. The grooves and creases that mark his cheeks and brow are still as the rock he sits on, his complete attention is given to listening with his eyes shut. It is his eyes that interest me. Though closed and giving away nothing, from time to time a corner will twitch, a brow lift slightly, his tells.

“This is how it happened. I was at the Goodwill looking at a yellow bedcover; a beautiful sunny woven cloth with yellow tassels around the ages, plain yet simply cheerful. I was examining it for tears or holes when the old one came walking toward me. I could tell right away she wanted to speak with me; she had the look of one who was seeking eye contact from under her red brimmed hat. How old was she? I couldn’t say for sure, she had the air of age about her though her brown leathery face wasn’t nearly as lined as yours, nor were her black curls faded or streaked with silver. Still, she felt venerable, so I call her the old one . . . anyway, I smiled at her and she immediately sensed the opening, sliding in as agile as a lynx . . .

“Lovely color isn’t it? Like the sun shining brightly.”

I agreed with her and she went on.

“Do you believe in Jesus?” she asked.

I thought, Goodness another one of these ladies, then replied, “No, I don’t believe in Jesus.”

Bringing her face closer to mine, with a canny eye she asked, “Do you know Jesus?”

“I do,” I replied, “How about you, do you believe in Jesus or do you know him?”

“To know is to trust and I know Jesus, been travelling with him by my side a long while now, nothing to believe when you know and that’s the sworn truth,” she chuckled before continuing her probing, “How do you know Jesus chile?”
She was persistent and I was interested in discovering where she was going with this, if not to salvation, sermons, and church like all the others, so I told her the truth.

I said, “Jesus visited me in my dreaming. He stepped inside the dark room at the bottom of the stairs where I was sitting, waiting for him with a backpack ready to go when he entered the doorway and extended his hand. He didn’t speak or introduce himself, but I knew who he was, no doubt about it. I tucked my hand in his and we walked out into light together and I’ve known him ever since then . . . “

She was watching me intently though I hadn’t really said a whole lot, she was shaking her head up and down, so I asked, “Do you think that’s crazy then?”

“Oh no chile!” says she, “Oh no, not at all, for you see,” she says leaning in nose to nose and whispering in a hushed tone, “That’s exactly how I came to know Jesus myself.”

I must say I was surprised, and it must have shown on my face for she threw her head back and began laughing. The next thing I knew I was laughing too though I can’t say I know why other than it was contagious and something about how we both ‘knew’ Jesus through dreaming, I knew, bound us as kindred spirits.

That’s how the conversation began. After we wiped our eyes dry, she said, “Dreams. Them be made of power chile. Them hold before times, cast out ahead times, sometimes they bind time fast between ancestors and grandchildren, great grandchildren until there’s a reckonings got to come become to make undone . . . see here, me, I is what once was a slave chile, negro the white folk called us stolen from our land where we came from. Once upon a time I is speaking a click click language not like this one, old speak from long ago land, but there is no forgetting in the fields. Though I is whipped and lashed, blood on back dripping onto grasses, I is not then nor ever broken though the thieves be thinking they clever folk, thinking they be owning us, thinking they be masters, it is they who be slaves, shackled to their fancies and illusions, and I is now and then was one of the free people, you understand chile? Free inside, alive inside, no lash no whip no separation no tribulation no body steal away the live beating heart inside that knows and remembers the songs of freedom dreaming of liberation to come be visible in the language the white man understands, the one outside the inside. Dreams. They be the power that we braid into our locks, grease the cast iron pans with, feed them dreams as lullaby’s to the babies, white and black both, we work the power of dreams into our breeding so they carry forward from I to I to I and I and now here so, this old eye sees the turning coming where the old dreams coming to a close soon you hear, they be coming out to finish what we began in chains. The ancestors they screaming for restitution, the young ones they strain for freedom from old dreams they been forced to live, and the knowings in the blood, once the ancestors be at rest, their dreaming made true, the young ones be free to dream their own dreams. Hmm. Sankofa. She rising up rising to set her people free once and for all, hmm hmm, hmm.”

She closed her eyes then and began humming a tune, then she patted me on the cheek and said, “I be called Tallullah, you call on me when you want to be dreaming in the we, you call on me and we dream together with Jesus you hear, we be Dreaming Women, hmm.”

Then she turned around and shuffled away slowly, stopping once to look at me once more, and she said, “Trust, trust chile, but better keep your camel tied you hear.” After that she left the Goodwill and I bought the yellow bedcover to spread some sunlight on the bed. When I got home the bedcover was gone and a golden camel was outside our house, tied up under the apple tree, and that’s how it happened.”

Baseer seems as though he’s asleep, his breathing is deep and even, his jaw relaxed. I’m tempted to wave my hands infront of his eyes, see if they punctuate or flinch.

“Better not,” he says, “So, now you have a golden camel?”

“Yes, a golden camel, humped with long legs and frilly eyelashes.”

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