Shades of a Dream

by Laura Davy

I am bright blue. She is bright red. She is pitching to me, but it isn’t fair because I don’t have a baseball bat and the ball is the moon. And I know I’m dreaming, just as I know I will die, but I can’t prove that until I die.

       She says, you must pay attention or I will win.

       And I fly away from her, my skirt fluttering in the wind, but she throws the ball at me and I fall. I land in the backseat of a van. Dad is in the driver’s seat and he is just like the picture hanging on the living room wall, except he is smiling. I want to talk to him, but he is busy. He is fingering Mom, and Mom is looking at me, telling me that this is natural. Then she is bright red and I know I have been tricked. I yell at Dad to stop. He looks at me and says, this is how you were created.

       Not like that.

       I run away from them and I can hear laughter. She tells me that the brides have to sit on a statue of a God before the marriage. And the God has a giant erection.

       I am more than that, I yell. I have yelled a lot and my throat is sore. I stop at a lemonade stand and my five-year-old self sells me a cup. I tell her she is pretty and smart and perfect. She gives me a cup and sings.

       Kill them. Kill them. Kill them dead. Only then will you get-

       I throw my lemonade at her and she says she’s sorry. That she meant that I should kill myself. She offers to sell me a gun. I tell her to fuck herself.

       She starts crying and Mom appears. Mom hugs her and tells me she’s disappointed in me. That if I believed in Jesus I wouldn’t do this. Just as if Dad had believed he wouldn’t have killed himself.

       I tell her I go to church every week and I pray when I remember, then she grabs me and stabs me with her left hand.

       But I don’t die because the bright red girl is there and stops her. You are not a Judge, she says.

       And I hold her and Mom is gone. She tells me that the brides dress up like bears and go crazy in the woods. That this is the way it has been before. Times are not so different.

       I am holding her and then she is not there and I am holding myself.

       I am alone and I like it that way, no one can see me. I become the dirt. From the dirt sprouts a tree. I climb it and see Jesus below. I let myself fall down and Jesus is my Dad, and he says that he will go to dinner at my house. I have my own house that is not Mom’s house. I am wearing pure white and have tied my hair up with white roses. I cook and I am happy cooking. But I am stood up by Jesus and I cry until I drown the bugs at my feet.

       I go to a movie to cheer myself up and I watch the bright red girl as the protagonist in every film, and there is so much applause and I hate her.

       My mom tells me that I shouldn’t hate. She slaps me and tells me to like it. And I do. Then the substitute teacher from Calculus comes and gives me a spanking. He was only in class for a week and was just out of college. I pull down my pants so he can spank me harder and then I pull down his pants. I realize I’m going to lose it. And I am lying down on my Mom’s lap as he goes inside me and I don’t know whether it will hurt or be nice. Mom is telling me that she is proud of me. And the bright red girl is applauding me. And I look at the teacher, but he is no longer there. I ask Mom if this is what happened with Dad. But she is no longer there either. It is just me and the bright red girl.

       She says, I’m proud of you.

       No, I tell her, my Mom said that.

       I look around for my Dad, this is the only time I see him. But he is not here.

       The bright red girl tells me she can find the substitute again. Or perhaps Nicholas from Spanish. Maybe even John from Yearbook. She tells me to trust her, but I don’t. I watch as she eats and becomes skinnier with every bite.

       I tell her I have morals, that I’m good. That Mom loves me. And she does not say anything. She just looks at me. I pull out the gun my Dad had used and I think I’m going to shoot her, but instead I throw it to her. She looks at it and puts it in her mouth and starts sucking on it like I saw in a porno that I watched at a sleepover. She takes it out and looks at it. It is loaded and ready to go off.

       I may be destroying myself.

       I am not sure whether she or I said it.

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