I had the dream again, though it had a different feel to it. This time I wasn’t part of the dream; I was more of a spectator gazing out over the landscape from a height. I watched the wood turn from a place of sun to one of mist. I saw the fog tread over the trees like a fever over the forehead of a sick child. And like a fever, it seemed to play a dual role, inflicting suffering while burning out a disease.
The world turned under me and our pond came into view. Again, the setting sun emerged and illuminated the pond and again I thought —— dragon.
The dreams mean something; they must, don’t you think? I feel the connection is just out of the reach of
You are ~ you always are ~ kindness itself. Even with our long friendship, I don’t know how you tolerate my moods. I also don’t know I’d tolerate the world without you. You are the one person who will never sling my heart around.
Dr. Torres seems genuinely to want to help, but she is Sibyllic in her utterances. The riddle is in the parted ash? What might that mean? Are you as confused as
There was no letter from you today. The low-tending part of my brain says you have every reason to ignore me, that I am a weary, wearisome parasite sucking out your energy when most you need to conserve and hoard it for yourself.
But this line of thought is unfair to you. I have been several kinds of misfit in my life, and never have you made me feel
I have just awakened, and before I drift away again, I shall tell you what I had hoped to impart in yesterday’s epistle.
You never told me what you thought of the dream I had, but I don’t blame you; you have enough and more on your mind, and it seemed such a silly, sleeping story.
But, Bridie, I keep having the same dream — or versions of the same dream. One aspect is always the same: I walk alone, but you are with me, or I am you, or we are one. I’m never sure how it works, but in the dream it now seems quite natural. And now that I think of it, this odd fusion seems like what Dr. Torres described in your father, doesn’t it?
And, Bridie, I become more convinced that there is something to these dreams, some message I am missing. Perhaps it is a wish born of my frustration at being confined here when I want so urgently to be with you!
Last night, in the dream-world at least, everything was wild, wild, wild. The wood was wild; the tame trees of our childhood stared from their knots wildly; the mist swirled with a contained wildness, as if it took enormous will not to fling itself out and up through the treetops; the pond itself was wild, with waves flinging themselves on the shore like an ocean in miniature.
And I/you/we were wild ~ wild with a strange freedom, with a compelling seeking, with a desperate hope driving me/us along paths familiar and ways that were strange. It felt exhilarating, dangerous, right.
And then I woke, full of disappointment ~ no, anger, wrath even ~ at how useless in the real world I am to one who has stood by me so
I can just see you sifting through the ashes in your father’s fireplace ~ a desperate Cinderella with no ball to attend. How did you father take to your post-incendiary exploration?
I share your disappointment. The logical part of my brain told me ~ tells me still ~ that it was silly to look for answers in the ash. But the part of my mind that is both hopeful and worried harboured overgrown expectations that some sign or cure would be there waiting ~ some vial with a curative potion tempered by the fire.
I applaud your intention to visit Dr. Torres. After the way she departed so abruptly, I’m not sure I would have found the courage. I hope you can see her today. The weather is lovely, I see from window, and it will do you good to get out for a spell. I am, as you know,
I swear I heard your shriek before I finished slicing open the envelope! But I can’t blame you. You have had shock after shock, and there’s no way you could have seen this one coming.
I was so relieved when Dr. Morgan found a psychotherapist so quickly. You write that Dr. Morgan knew the — was she a psychologist or a psychiatrist? — counsellor was into some alternative practices, but that she had no idea the woman was a curandera! I suppose I wouldn’t have thought to ask that either.
You say that at first the examination seemed to go well, but when the new doctor looked at your father’s eyes, she turned pale, and — and here I am not sure, because your writing falters — I think you wrote that she rushed out, promising Dr. Morgan a report. Is that right? And that as she. Left, you heard her repeating, “The ash, the ash”? How strange!
Write me back and let me know if I have read your missive correctly. I am sitting here,
Please don’t cry. I can see the teardrops on your missive. Of course I have not forgotten your father’s antipathy towards psychiatrists, but don’t let his prejudices corrupt your thinking. I know your mother’s therapist couldn’t cure her, but sometimes mental illness resists treatment. And you know your mother’s depression played no part in her death.
You and Dr. Morgan needn’t tell your father that the counsellor is a psychiatrist. Merely tell your father that Dr. Morgan wishes to consult with a colleague for a second opinion.
Sometimes I think I can begins to discern a pattern to your father’s behaviour, but it’s more like a tapestry than a linear flow. Get the help you need, and do not allow your father’s illness to suffocate the beloved friend of
Your note urging me to relay my idea to you and emphasizing your father’s still-increasing requests for a sand-flower greeted me upon my rising today. Fortunately, my ideas coalesced as I slept, so I can give you a fairly coherent description of my thoughts.
I propose a test of sorts, a proffer of a partial truth to see how your father reacts. Perhaps it would be best if Dr. Morgan were around as witness and, if necessary, protection. My suggestion is that you set out on your walk, and head toward the woods, but go no further than the edge. Find a talisman of some sort: a rock, a leaf — break off a branch like the gardener’s boy in “The Twelve Dancing Princesses” — to bring your father. Return to the house with your token, and “confess” to your papa that you sense a fearful presence among the trees. Watch and listen closely for all the nuances of his reaction. Your father, in his usual state, might tease you a bit, but he would never attempt to persuade you to walk, especially not alone, anywhere you feel nervous or discomfortable.
I would that I could come, as you ask, Bridget. I am less enervated today — the absence of the wind helps — but fatigue continues to tether me at home. As soon as I can, I shall be
Your swiftly repairing, Hannah
P.S. I meant to add that feeling frail can lead people to be vicious. I hope your papa says nothing to hurt you.