For a time, I could close my eyes and see the future. Now I’m not so sure, though I still trust those moments implicitly. I’ve discovered tonight that I’m not the only one. The odds were against it, true. There are too many variables to ever be unique, but suddenly I’m justified. Pure of impracticalities and free to delight in it again. I shake in my heart of previous associations. The one I remember deepest is the most tragic. I was young, in the back of my mothers van. We were on our way to a camping trip, I’d forgotten my toothbrush, and Brenda was with us. I remember her hair, golden and brown and beautiful. It went past her shoulders then, she was the shining wind, my mothers best friends, the woman who mid-wifed my youngest brother in the driveway. Nothing stood between us, she was a granola angel, spun of Commercial Drive Bicycle people. I could flood the page with details, the chip of her tooth. Guy danced with her once in a purple shirt, the night he danced with me. I think they were in love, but briefly. She’s dead now, I miss her with blood-stained tears. She wasn’t murdered but close as. Hit by a semi-truck on her way home, struck after a day of delivering organic vegetables on her bicycle a block from her bed. There was no way of knowing when we said goodbye that it was the last time we’d see her.
I remember that too, but not as an Echo. She told me she was trying to have a baby.
The trip was years before. Not Denman Island, but the other place we would go to. We had to cross the border to get there and drive along the edges of mountains. The match-up to dream was a domestic thing. She was making us sandwiches, on her knees in the back of the van with us children, blue pants and a silver butterknife. “Come on”, she said, “Tell me what you’d like.” and I started to cry. It was perfect. The angle of her head, the freckles she’d gotten just that summer. Magic, wholeness. Quietly, and no-one saw. I remember the flash of light on the knife, the way she closed the red cap lid of the jar, spilling a drop of jam on the formica table. I’d dreamed this years ago, not expecting to be face-to-face with such a reality. I’d grown up, I didn’t believe in such things anymore. I was broken, I lost my heart to the burning sand of a foster-home encounter, but this moment was beautiful. It was match, set, and there. I still knew things. That boy hadn’t taken that away from me.
Soldiers walked across the mulching, the gardeners work unheeded. He had gone insane the previous year, the penguins finally taking out their mark with default weeds. They would blame it on Dorchester anyway, and march to war. Blue skies looked down on shoes pounding in time to the cobblestone beat, a young boy history flowing by, building the empire for daddy to fall back on. Wretched boys, pretending they liked to be soldiers. Wretched girls, opening their thighs for freedom. The needle in the haystack gave you a baby boy, it’s time like these you need to count your blessings. Grab the firefly chemical composition and drink it, the blood turning to bled. Never drink beforehand, they warned, you’ll only die of the heat.
The moon looked down laughing.