Really tired today. Sluggish. Wiped out from last night’s dreams. Arthritis weighing in too, damn weather. Kinda achy.

I dreamed I went to TO. I went to find my ex, it was like his sister had called me because she was worried about him. So I went. He wasn’t living in the same place. He was up north, on a farm, like a compound. People everywhere strung out on drugs. Young girls travelling around mostly naked right out of it. Lots of armed men. Like a gang or something. I don’t know how I even got into the house. I found him upstairs in a king-sized bed. There were a half dozen other people in the bed. Everyone stoned.

When he saw me he came to life, smiled, got up and came to me, gave me a hug. He smelled like a dirty ashtray. He seemed so helpless. Like a little boy. I took him into the bathroom and put him into a bath. All he could do was look at me and smile sadly. Touch my face like he thought I might disappear. Like I was a vision or a dream. I got him cleaned up and dressed in his cleanest dirty clothes. Then I took his hand and led him downstairs and outside.

We sat on the step in the autumn chill, the grass was dead, the trees bare, it was like late November when the world goes dull grey, before the snow sticks. We just sat there, holding hands, not saying anything. Then I asked him if he would come back to the city with me. When he turned to look at me his eyes were glossed with tears. His voice was hoarse when he spoke, like someone who hadn’t spoke for a long time. He told me that even if he wanted to leave he’d taken the vow and he would be killed if he tried to leave. We sat there again for a long while and he squeezed my hand rhythmically, like a pulse.

You could see our breath in the air as the afternoon turned into evening. I didn’t want to leave him there. He seemed so lost and alone. A convoy of 4×4 trucks spun into the drive and a bunch of young guys in mirrored sunglasses, ripped jeans, black t-shirts, leather vests, and scuffed boots leaped to the ground holding long guns. In seconds I had a bunch of rifles trained on me. Who is this? they demanded. He grinned and stood, introduced me as an old friend he had invited to visit. Apologized if he’d broken the rules. Swore to the men that I would be no trouble. To my surprise they believed him, lowered their guns and we all went inside.

That night we slept on the floor huddled together for warmth in an old sleeping bag. There were people sleeping all around us. Surrounded by snoring. In the dark he whispered that he would come with me. That we’d leave. It would be okay. Anyone who came to this place was not allowed to leave, and that included me. If I had tried to walk out of there on my own without him, I would be shot. He’d been instructed to drug me, to keep me drugged, until I no longer wanted to leave.

The next day after most of the men with guns had left for the day to carry out their business, we left and ran through a field next to the house. We came out on a shore where there was an old rowboat. We got into the water and tried to paddle but with the waves and the tide and our complete lack of sense of direction we ended up just a few feet away from where we had launched. We went again on foot, running into some trees, running through a dark forest until we broke at the edge of another field. There was an old red Ford half-ton parked in the lane. We sneaked over to it, slipped inside and he tried to get it going. There were people around, working the farm, sometimes passing the vehicle as they went from barn to house doing chores. Other vehicles pulled in beside us. But nobody saw us crouched on the floor and lying across the seat. Nobody looked inside. Nobody opened the door.

It was getting late. Soon the men would be back and realize we’d left. They’d go looking for us, and we’d only just gotten to the farm next door. Finally, when it got dark and all the people were inside having dinner, we got the truck started and sputtered out the lane and onto a dark highway. We headed south toward the city. The gas tank was nearly empty. I told him to stop at the nearest station. He was afraid. His group were powerful around here. We couldn’t count on anyone helping us. I opened my purse to see how much money I had for gas. They’d taken my wallet while I slept. They had all my ID. They knew who I was and where I lived. I couldn’t go home. He couldn’t go home. As this dawned on me, I looked at him. He grinned. It’s just me and you from now on, he said. All we’ve got is each other. We need to get as far away as we can.

I woke up and it was 4:45. I felt like I’d been through the wars. Exhausted. I rolled over and went back to sleep. In a few minutes I was back in the truck with him, on the dark highway, looking for a vehicle to cipher some gas from. We had to steal, couldn’t take a chance on anyone seeing us. Hours and hours of us on the road, driving. Talking. Every now and then having a close call with the bad guys. The same dream until I finally rolled over at 9:30 this morning and said, “Screw this!” And got up to face the day. It’s after lunch and I still feel like if I were to close my eyes I’d be right back there in the dream. My eyelids are droopy. I’m stifling yawns. There’s a buzzing in my brain. I feel like I haven’t slept at all.

God, I hate nights like that!

Mood: fuzzy, foggy, feeble
Drinking: coffee, black
Listening To: long walk home, bruce springsteen
Hair: curiously strong

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