At the edge of a world afraid,
there rests a place
where the sea collects gems,
weaves them into jewelry,
and adorns them on her beaches
like lives to a bookcase.
A safe space for folk of all kinds
to come together and meet their end,
I found myself there with her,
sealed in amber and stolen from the blue,
surrounded by natives, the sort that you
smile at and pretend to comprehend.
Among the jade and the turquoise,
they blend her into a sand grotto
stretching below and through
where she’ll spend the rest of her days
as one hue become two
on this beach made of rainbow.
(Sorry for the delay on this one. I got sick last week and any sort of sickness usually renders me incapable of doing anything creative. I can sometimes “force” an interesting dream out, just not when I’m sick apparently.)
My mom and I were living on the east coast in some alternate version of America. Somehow the government had installed these huge blast shield zones around the entire country and around each state. If you wanted to visit another state, there would be a short window of time each week in which you could travel to the top of the blast shield to head over to the next zone. We were coming back from a family visit when that short window of time closed during our trek. Security closed off the safe way to descend back home and the only other way down was this gigantic ladder that runs up the side of the shield. It sorta resembled a cell phone tower leaned up against the shield, only way less appealing.
Regardless, it was the only way down, or else sit up there for a week. So, much to my surprise, my mom was like “alright let’s go.” She didn’t appear afraid or worried, but didn’t exactly exude confidence either. I, on the other hand, was very concerned for her wellbeing. She tripped a couple times before she even got to the ladder. But once she got on the ladder, she seemed to be handling the descent fairly well. She complained about the coloring of the shield and how ugly it looked. It had thick horizontal stripes of white and a faded lilac, and her main issue with it was that the purple color was so dim that you could barely even see it. Which, ya know, that makes sense. She then went on to say how much she disliked the color purple, which happens to be my favorite color. You know, casual conversation and such.
Just when I was starting to stop worrying about her, that’s when she fell off the damn thing, naturally. First instinct? Jump after her. Didn’t do that. I just watched her fall and there was this solemn look on her face. She wasn’t terrified like everyone would be. It was more like it was a minor inconvenience. Like there were worse things than dying like this or dying at all. I watched this all while my head was nearing the point of exploding from the sound of my own screaming, of course. So I scrambled down the ladder to the bottom and jumped about 100 feet into the water, crying the whole time. And I surprised myself that I was even able to swim. But I did. I punched through the water, right up to her body, and wrapped myself around her.
Next thing I knew, I was coming ashore with her. Only she wasn’t a corpse anymore, but rather an assortment of yellow boxes. Not sure how or why, but I knew these boxes were her. I knew I still had my mother in my arms. So I got up on dry land and suddenly I was surrounded by people speaking Spanish and dressed up like they came straight out of Moana. They were yelling and dancing, seeming to be chanting something. And it’s sorta weird. When you’re talking to someone who doesn’t speak your language, you find like one word you’re pretty sure they know and you just say it over and over. So I just kept yelling back “mom” back to the beat of their chant. And later “madre.” And they chanted it back.
So a few of them helped me bring the boxes up the beach (boxes that I’m now affectionately referring to as jewelry boxes). We came to a sort of circular clay hut dug straight into the beach where some others tried to take the boxes away from me. I threw myself on top of them but it didn’t take long for them to wrestle me back. They lined the boxes up against the walls of the interior along with others boxes of different colors, including greens and blues and even more yellows. And that was just infuriating because how would I ever be able to tell my mom from the others?
Then, as if it couldn’t get anymore bizarre, the boxes melded into the walls and this sand-colored hut came to life with color. And down the beach, there were more and more huts, bursting in a rainbow of fluorescence. It finally hit me that my mom and I, in this world, weren’t special. This sort of thing had happened thousands of times and it was sure to happen again as a result of a world decidedly unbothered by the peril of its residents and more concerned with its own selfish preservation. She could’ve been any one of these colors so, in a way, she was all of them. And it was probably the single most beautiful way to have her memorialized.