Colored Light

Copyright Gary R. Johnson Photography

There was nothing stopping the  dreams from creeping in, even in June when the light crept around the corners of the thick curtains he had special ordered in a catalog for factory workers. The dreams chased the midnight light away and ushered in the glittering stars and fireflies of Ohio summer nights, raising their heavy curtains and whooshing in humidity, cicadas, metal fans, and the smell of old wood. Adam hadn’t smelled an old building in five years, up here everything still had a faint twinge of new timber about it. His dreams grew even more vivid after the day of the earthquake, the day that Blake’s wife and daughter arrived at the Valley, but before his mind was shaken with those events he was usually just visited by those who couldn’t travel the 4,000 miles to see him: his mother, his sister, the spinster aunts. The mine and the Valley might as well have been a parallel universe tripping on the cusp of a quantum physics professor’s shirt lapel, as remote as this flickering green, misty and jagged place was.

What was in his dreams? Usually they were banal; Adam sitting at his mother’s butcher block table at breakfast, the morning light pouring in with a rainbow of colors –  his mother collected colored glass and arranged red, cobalt blue, jade bottles on every windowwill. When the sun shone through them the colors flickered throughout her tiny house, the house Adam lived in until college. This  vivid array of colored light is what he saw in his dreams before the earthquake.  Just rainbows on pancakes and bottles of cold milk.

Now after the earthquake, after she arrived the dreams were woven with a heat that stayed with him for hours after he woke. Sometimes they were so lucid he prayed for their return the following night, in the jumbled thoughts right before that transition into deep sleep. Please let the dream come again. He thought maybe if he thought of her right before he rolled into his dreams that the chances of meeting her again would be greater. He tried thinking of her yellow dress, of her cloud of black hair, of the way her eyes shone as cobalt blue as his mother’s glass even on the days when the fog didn’t lift from the Valley at all. Sometimes it worked, sometimes she visited him, just him. And  sometimes it was just the colored light and his mother’s kitchen table again.

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"... all my lovers were there with me, all my past and futures."

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