She showed up out of nowhere while I was trying to put out several fires. It seemed like there was a crisis happening down every hall; a throng of crying from adult-newborns in the outpatient palace nursery. We all want the same thing but for most of us it takes one of many traumatic awakenings to start us on the path of discovering we’re ultimately responsible for ourselves. The good mother dies in every fairy tale for a reason; to prepare us for the inevitable. Visitations never come when we’re ready but I welcomed the relief of distraction and the possibility of going somewhere.
Leaving the outpatient palace felt like a dream. One minute we were there and the next, we were in the foyer of my Brother’s house. Rather than a toy strewn mess, softly coated in tufts of hair from their bull mastiff, we entered a bright and open foyer flanked by elvishly carved wooden beams. My Brother entered from the arches across the room wearing a white pilot outfit; a winged pin sat across the top of the pocket over his heart. Despite the sullen but invisible baggage our Mother seemed to be carrying, nothing was going to stop our forward motion. I had no idea where we were going or why and felt preoccupied, wondering when I would eat and where I could sleep.
The cabin of the plane felt like a living room with a windshield, carpeting and successive rows of mini sofa seating. I took the row furthest from my Brother’s seat in the front. His, perhaps foolish, confidence together with our Mother’s anxious trepidation and being confined inside a flying tube, left me in a default state of surrender. I pulled a blanket over my shoulders and curled up in my private love-seat hoping to remain asleep until we got wherever it was we were going.
It’s your world Brother, Mother, Father, Sister, Sun. Wake me up when it’s over.
The flight crew woke me gently. Their detached smiles informed me I wasn’t allowed to listen to meditations on my phone or use my phone at all. I’d have to sit or lay there in at least a semi state of consciousness throughout the duration of our trip. Not what I had in mind.
I pulled my body off the seats and swung my head to peek out the oval window on my left. It looked like we’d entered a fueling station and were rolling on solid ground towards a large body of water. My Brother threw a cheerful grin over his shoulder as he down-shifted, lurching our mysterious vessel forward.
We weren’t a car, bird or plane, a submarine, cigar or boat. We were something else entirely, a new thing with a bank of forgotten memories, the answers, we looked for in the unlikeliest of places; Amazon, Mango, Zara, Urban Jungle Outfitters, the chest hair or cleavage of strangers on Tinder, the bottom of a Wendy’s bag, chicken wing bucket or pints of ice cream. We won’t find it there.
I could feel our descent through warm clouds towards a frozen ocean of glaciers dotted with with the roof tops of a small city, crowed by a silver Ferris wheel. The glaciers were uniform and stacked like rounded ice cubes; the kind you might see in a whiskey glass or contemporary art museum. Rough huts stuffed with straw emerged from the foot of the cubes and were connected by cold, hard, winding dirt paths. I was afraid to walk too far from our vessel; a container that gave me almost as much question and pause as the odd reality I was suddenly facing.
Where the hell are we?
There was no one to ask and no sound to speak with. As soon I was transported away from the palace and tucked under my Brother’s wing, it seemed I was the only one who didn’t know what was happening and those around me were equally confused about who or what I was. I was no one, going nowhere, bound for something.
At first, I thought they were other people because they were wearing, albeit ripped and torn, clothes. As heads lifted from under red, green and yellow Paige caps, I saw their snouts, whiskers and fangs. Clawed paws reached out from inside the pockets of their vests. As they slowly lumbered forward, I saw their hairy bellies, swollen but hungry and realized I was alone.
It took several minutes before their intent registered: they’re coming for you.
I ran towards the city over the wall of ice cubes, slipping on melting mud and tufts of defrosting grass, looking back too often.
Where’s the plane?!
No sooner did I wonder if this is where I’d die, before I’d barely lived, having had no control over where I was or how I’d gotten there, I spotted my ride.
Safe inside, I thought loud about how much I just wanted to go home, wherever that was.
We landed on the roof, climbing back into the outpatient palace through a ladder. Everything that had seemed like an important disaster before I’d left had either resolved itself or now stood in a different light; the borrowed light of time and space which bends everything into a new shape. There was nothing to worry about after all.
Apparently Mercury’s in Retrograde, again. I’ve been dreaming hard for over a week now and while the nightmares have tapered off, the detail and imagery have me confirming why I’ve never really had a thing for drugs. Dear S, that’s two Easter eggs just for you.
The gold-tipped feather fan was a transitional gift for a dear colleague who’s currently on a beach contemplating what comes next. Aren’t we all?
ps: Here’s my favorite piece about Leaving the Palace, a metaphor for enlightenment, birth, life, evolution and basically everything.