Monday, October 29, 2012

plastic plates piled with grains

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With time to spare before class began, a high school science class it seems, I don't know why it's always science, though sometimes it's pre-algebra, and never English where I wouldn't have had to study much, but that's the point of these in-school-again dreams isn't it? The torture of being unprepared and failing, in these tiny desks, and it always feels as though I've skipped most of the semester already.

I decide to use the restroom which is conveniently located across the hall. I find an unoccupied stall, and the stalls never have a lock, are always incredibly filthy and then the door becomes invisible putting me on display, whoever walking by or point blank standing there, watching me awkwardly hover above a dirty toilet, and what usually kicks in at this point is a mental message I've left myself, written in childhood perhaps, telling me: do not urinate--this a dream and that toilet is not real.

When I look up there is cold-faced late teen black boy standing in front of me, but I don't have his attention. Instead he's looking behind me to the left at a larger late teen black boy who appears to be a dealer of drugs, sitting on the toilet like a throne, doling out some thing I can't see to girls and boys, all black whose faces look tired and angry. I leave the restroom terrified.

When I get back to the classroom, I immediately tell my teacher about the drug dealer, thinking: I can save this school from these drugs by getting at the source. The teacher summons the principle, vice principle and as they are outside the classroom waiting for me to explain what I saw, a few of the cold-faced black kids are walking by waiting to hear what I am about to say. I tell the men I will not talk where we are, that it's unsafe, that we need to go elsewhere.

The men take me across campus, to an open area on a green lawn dimly lit by the sun's diminishing state, though it's still very early in the morning. There's a gloom, people walking around us, ghosts, slow accessories of a setting. We walk inside a building. They tell me to wait at a long table, in a plastic orange chair with metal legs. They say it's time for lunch. Others soon join me at the table. When we are gathered accordingly, we set off to an outdoor area.

There are around twenty of us sitting in desks outside in a basketball court. A thick woman with a Caribbean accent tells her assistant to give us plastic plates piled with grains and tops our them off with a ladleful of creamy sauce. I'm about to dig into the plate of food when an attractive boy with dreadlocks next to me gives me a warning. He says: don't start until the others start. Then: This food will bind you with the dead; if you have sadness or malice involved with any dead members in your life, you will become a vessel for their return.

I do not eat the food. I watch others eat the grains and sauce and some look heavy lidded in ecstasy. Others dance and sway. The Caribbean woman chants something in the center of the circle. I watch an attractive boy sit calmly and wonder if he is afraid of resurrecting ghosts unto himself as well.  
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