A Memory

It was right around 4 am when I woke up startled from the haze of the bad dream.  From my open window, I smelled bagels cooking from the bakery distributor a couple of blocks down.  I made out the smell of cinnamon raisin braided in with the onion and garlic that overpowered all the smells.  It was early September.  The afternoon before it had been pouring rain.  On the ride home from Manhattan on the Express bus into the Bronx I wondered if we were even going to make it home.  Rivers had formed on the Bruckner Expressway making our bus driver weave and swerve to get around it and get us home.  I got home an hour later than usual, but by then the rain had tapered off.

I did my usual routine of Chinese take out from the restaurant across from the bus stop and walked the two long blocks home to my apartment.  I watched the evening news.  Primaries were tomorrow, some schools had their first day of school and the weather was supposed to be much better – cooler and sunny.

Now here at 4 am with a nice cool breeze mixed in with the smell of bagels.  I tried to remember why I woke up so startled.  

I dreamt I was back in PR in our old house on the family compound.  But the house was huge this time, a few stories tall.  We were on one of the other floors, second floor maybe, and were told we had to leave.  The house was on fire and the floor was starting to crack.  I’ve always had vivid, odd and disturbing dreams, this was no different.  Other than the house burning everything else in the dream seemed so perfect.  The air was warm, the rooms in the house were bright from the sunlight entering through the large windows.  The light gave everything a yellow tinge.  It was a surprise when someone said there was a fire.  The only indication of trouble was the cracking sound from the floor.

I tried going back to sleep but it took almost 2 hours.  My alarm went off 20 minutes later. I hit the snooze button a few times up until 7:20.  Finally had to drag my butt out of bed and get to work.  It was cool out but not chilly.  I had the TV on and Al Roker said it was going to be a beautiful day.  I put on my sandals and wore a knit light purple top.  Quite the combo.  Eh, I wasn’t trying to impress anyone.

I decided to take the Subway in.  The Express Bus at this hour was going to take longer in peak rush hour traffic.  At least the train would be easier.  I always got a seat since I lived at the second to last stop and could take it all the way to work.  I stood by the back part of the platform and looked over the railing to the street below.  The light this time of year always bought me back to childhood and the first few days of school.  I remember the smell of the new school supplies — new book bags and pencil cases have a distinct rubbery smell.  I remembered walking to school eager for a new beginning.  The yellow light of that morning vaguely reminded me of my dream from the night before. It glowed against the buildings and the reflected off of windows, bright but warm.

My train pulled in and I sat towards the back of the car.  We made our way through the North East Bronx.  We paused in Parkchester, as usual, it was the switch over for those that wanted to take the local train through the South Bronx.  We were going express into Manhattan from here.  There was an announcement on the PA, something about an incident in lower Manhattan and our train’s final stop being somewhere before Wall Street.  It didn’t matter to me.  My stop was in mid-town.  We finally got moving again.  We pulled up and over the curve before going underground for the duration of the ride.  

It was such a perfectly blue and cloudless sky.

A wish for the future (for my son)

A wish for the future (for my son)

I hope that someone’s ethnicity and race don’t matter – where people are blind to skin color and everyone gets a chance to be known for who they are.

A world where all religions are respected equally and it doesn’t matter what someone believes, but that they are judged by their actions, deeds, and compassion.

That he gets to be surrounded by people of integrity.  Where people mean what they say, do what they say and live up to the same standards that they place on others.

A place where people are no longer judged by who they love.  Where everyone understands that, just as they haven’t chosen who they fell in love with, it’s also the same for everyone else.

That he gets to live in a place where everyone understands that we all want the same: to feel secure; to give and get love; to laugh and experience joy; to express ourselves; to be heard and respected — and that everyone deserves the opportunity to experience these things.

Above all else, to live in a world where everyone really, truly, deeply gets what a gift this life is.