Finally I've finished the long, wordy story in several posts of my May 2013 trip to Shawnee National Forest and the Cache River, starting here. Next I'll tackle the July trip to the Upper Midwest, but I'm going to scale it way back, luckily for anyone who happens to come across these posts.
Shawnee National Forest — Garden of the Gods
Bald cypress with many knees in the Lower Cache River
I went for a walk, but then I couldn’t find my way home. I didn’t remember where it was or what it looked like, inside or out, although I had a vague idea about the intersection of streets.
Along the way I checked out many buildings, but each was high off the ground and didn’t have steps. I didn’t know how the residents got into it.
Suddenly I found wasn’t wearing a top or bra, so I covered myself with my arms. I wondered how this had happened; it seemed so odd. I wouldn’t have left home like that.
In the street I saw a small primate and tried to catch it, thinking to return it to the zoo, but when I caught up to it, it turned on me and snarled. I showed it a stuffed animal to calm it, but it tried to steal the toy while saying, “This should be mine.” It seemed to hate me, which puzzled me as most animals react well to me.
I found a place I could get into and for some reason showed someone my cleavage, but then noticed there was a child in the room and so ran out. I didn’t understand what was happening to me.
While still trying to figure out where I was, I saw a diagram of an airport and assumed it must be O’Hare. It seemed awfully small and too close to the neighborhoods around it, as though there were no boundary areas.
I was lying on a stoop when I heard a plane faltering overhead and watched in horror as it dove nose first into the ground. A team of football players ran off the plane toward me. By then I had a blanket, which I pulled up over me as the plane exploded and debris landed on me.
Two cowboys were sitting on either side of me. I hoped one of them would take my hand, even out of sympathy. Finally, one of them did.
I found another place. Walking through, I saw various people cooking in various kitchens that were in the hallway. I sat down in a living room, hoping no one would realize I didn’t belong there. They handed out white pipes and started to smoke something green. I told them I have never smoked pot so they covered me in it.
I said, “Are you hoping I’ll be arrested, too?”
“Yes.” They wanted me to burn for being an uptight prude.
I told them that it was for health reasons, that my lungs were bad. They accepted that and me.
I tried to leave but there was no way I could jump down to the ground from the high doorway.
I marveled that I had gotten into all these different places.
I wondered that I couldn’t get out of this one.
I worried why I couldn’t remember where exactly my place was and what it looked like, inside or out, and about my odd behavior. Am I suffering from dementia? I wondered.
I found myself living in an enormous, open space, arranged in a long row like a hotel floor or a ship deck and was excited by the potential — all that room.
The entire family appeared, having driven hundreds of miles to see me. I was surprised, then horrified to find water leaking in through the ceiling in one room. As I walked around, I noticed garbage strewn everywhere. I had no idea how that had happened. I knew only that my interesting, spacious home mysteriously had become a sodden, smelly, uninhabitable mess. I was embarrassed and ashamed.
I wanted to call for help about the leak before it became worse or spread, but the family wouldn’t lend me a phone. Meanwhile, I found out Hodge had attacked V. Her inner forearm had been ripped open, and I could see that she needed stitches right away. She refused, however, even as she kept trying to make the torn edges meet. I apologized and could not imagine how he had done that kind of damage or what could have provoked him.
E. tried to persuade me to help a high school classmate, but for some reason I declined. As suddenly as the family had appeared, they disappeared. The leak stopped. I was left to clean up all the garbage that had proliferated out of control.
Even as I was swooping it up by the armfuls to get rid of it, I found that kids had thrown out many useful items and that I was going to have to sort through the smelly, decaying mess piece by piece. I was horrified and sickened by this turn my life had taken.
Next thing I knew, an infomercial was being taped in my apartment in one area, while I was in a play that involved my being swung around — until the electricity failed.
As suddenly as the family had appeared, I met two of my classmates, including TB, who as usual didn’t see me or know me or acknowledge me in any way. He’s never snobbish, just oblivious.
I found out the show was to continue in New Mexico, but I lost both classmates as the one who at least knew me had tired of me. I also learned that the apartment building manager had decided to use my apartment for public works, for example, large parts of it had been converted to soup kitchens. I wanted to say something to the manager but was still fixated on how I could be so invisible to the one human being I would like to see me. And on how V.’s arm could be saved without stitches.