Category Archives: Stories

the Mandy Dream

Boxes of her childhood lay next to her in a line, neatly stuffed and organized to the max. She knelt on her knees next to each one as she went down the line and worked on securing the tops shut.

Her partner and family were nearby. They were frustrated she had taken so long. She seemed mightily unfazed by this though, and kept to her work as if it were a design, a pattern; she knew there was a method behind her madness, and all the timing would work out perfectly.

Her name was Mandy.

She was an artist, a writer too, struggling to find her way in the world. She loved her craft but too often became distracted and felt blindsided by the ways of this world. But here and now, this was the time – it finally seemed as though her culmination of efforts had achieved her a time – when it was all coming together. She focused on the task at hand and fastened her boxes, keeping her head down, but filled with pride and knowingness that this – was the time she’d been waiting for.

Later she lay on the floor face-to-face with her partner. They touched foreheads, curled toward each other. He seemed to be happy she knew him so well, and at once he asked her if she knew what he was thinking; she gave him the answer without being concerned with this psychic ability of hers, and without hesitation. His whole body filled with the sensation of thrill. She got up, and moved away to do something else.

She remembered a dream she’d had recently. She was standing in an open space somewhere, next to a fantastic, intriguing-looking house, which just so happened to be the brightest, most brilliant shade of turquoise she’d ever seen. The whole house. Turquoise. Next to her had been her Healer, a woman with short dark twists of hair and white clothing, an older woman with immense strength and calm, and so much history. They were both looking at the house from the outside when she’d turned to Regina and said, “I want to be a ghost writer.” At this point she’d woken herself up, barely, but enough to know what had just happened: she’d spoken what she wanted for herself for the first time, something she’d not even done in the waking world. She’d taken note, feeling excitement and fascination, then let herself descend back into dreamworld. As they stood facing each other in Mandy’s dream, outside next to the turquoise house, it was Mandy’s intention to convince Regina to let her story be told, and to let Mandy be the one to tell it. When she’d woken she’d thought about the turquoise again…. why was it so bright? And why that color?

Later her partner walked into the room and suddenly, she was terrified by his face. Had she mixed up realities? She wondered. Instead of himself, he looked like an older, disguised version of someone she used to know, an old partner. She was confused and didn’t trust this person in her present reality, and wondered if she was being fooled or taken advantage of. Had it been him the whole time? Had he been tricking her somehow? He saw the look on her face and tried to console her. It was difficult; she pushed him away and didn’t want to believe his words and couldn’t shake the similarities when she looked at his face.

“I’m not him,” he said. Gently but sternly trying to convince her. She was feeling betrayal, mixed with fear. Mandy wondered why she hadn’t seen it sooner. “I’m not him,” he said again.

Eventually, there was a second that broke through the fog and she realized he wasn’t lying. At once, she threw herself into his arms, apologetic and grateful, and he hugged her back. She cried the tears not only of relief for having her partner back, but also for knowing she’d just let go of the first person who’d ever terrified her: he had showed up in illusion form — dug out from a part of her that was deep and hidden — allowing her to finally fully expel him. He seemed a memory old as time, but, Mandy thought, if she was starting over she might as well start cleansing from the beginning. And so it all made sense. She held her lover, grateful she didn’t live in the past any more.

• • •

When It Was

It already makes me feel old to say I remember the world before instagram or hashtags, or even facebook (let alone the internet), even though I’ve spent the majority of my life so far without instagram or twitter or facebook, and even the internet – which makes me feel like Gandalf in this sentence. But I had the privilege of growing up in the 80’s/90’s as the last generation who remembers a world glorious as this one, where we managed one self and that was our physical one. To make things more horrifying, most of these things didn’t even exist seven years ago in 2008 (no instagram or twitter, no hashtags, and facebook was still in infantile stages and mostly for crazy social outcasts who didn’t have a myspace account); this is how the world was just seven short years and an eternity ago.  This was the distant past – when I picked up my life and moved it from Redwood trees to Raider Nation – when I began what I called “the city chapter” and found myself stumbling into a strange future.

I find myself longing these days, often, for a life before this time when we didnt carry the world in our pockets; where if we woke up alone, we were actually alone until we chose to make contact with the world – instead of reaching for a portal on the nightstand where the world impatiently begs our response; where there wasnt a separate identity hiding in the palm of everyone’s hand, a separate self needing to be managed; where I could disappear for a day without communication and not set loved ones into crisis mode. And here I go feeling old again, already – longing for good ol’ days.

How the world has changed in just seven years. And how strange it is.

Oakland, CA

(alternate title: Bullish)

A heavy bronze pendant drapes down from my neck; behind the glossy shine of its surface is the Oak tree – the symbol for my town – artistically drawn with its roots extending and its branches reaching, and it feels like a metaphor for me now more than ever. You see, my town is really a city – a bustling breathing lively city which I happen to love deeply, a place that taught me how to grow roots AND grow taller in my life – however it’s been tough love from the beginning. It’s been one of my hardest relationships, me and my city. It wasn’t easy to love – but I never cared. Since day one when I realized every single street sign came with an oak tree on it, I was smitten and hopelessly charmed; I surrendered to my new love with no qualms. It tried its best to eject me like a bucking bull – kicking in fits and spinning me in circles – but I only held tighter. What can I say, I’m stubborn. As all hell. But, the juiciness and slight thug-of-character it takes to survive here has infused my path with wisdom I needed, and given me the (painful) gift of transformation into the woman I needed to become. For the last seven years Oakland has been my home and my teacher and I’ve been grateful – even when all signs pointed to disaster. It’s been my grounding place and my launchpad. It was terrifying at times while also soothing. It could’ve been much easier on me but I couldn’t have loved it more. This is my home, my Oakland. So I wear this pendant like a proud warrior with her medallion: remembering the courage it took to get this far, while also honoring the source of the challenge.
I 💗 Oakland.