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I'd left my family and friends to go and live the kind of life I'd always wanted to live, up in high mountain country with Lindsay where the air was clean and time wasn't so important any more. But it seemed like it wasn't so easy to leave that life behind, because they all followed me - my mother and sister, grandparents and uncles and aunts, in a convoy up from the city for reasons best known to themselves.

I was trying to find Lindsay so that we could leave, but my uncle Terry cornered me in a small room and told me that he had found a passage in the Guru Granth that would make me have visions. I stayed to listen, and he read from the book with high drama, making me kneel down at one point. I really wanted to have visions, so I started to sway back and forth, trying to get into it even though I didn't understand the words he was saying. My mother and sister were trying to get my attention but I ignored them. Eventually Terry finished the invocation and nothing in particular had happened so I got up and went to look for them.

To get out of the house I had to climb out of a large hallway window, and I got stuck, and a couple of my relatives tried to help me get down, but Terry came along and told me to stop looking for attention, so I screamed at him to fuck off, which he didn't like at all. When I finally got down I went up to him and yelled "I'm sorry I told you to fuck off! OK? I'M SORRY!!" and then ran off crying, because everyone was being such an asshole and no one understood me at all.

Especially my mother, who was getting into her car and driving away because I had ignored her earlier. I caught up with her and sat in the car and tried to explain to her that I loved her, but we were never going to be able to have a proper, adult relationship if she was going to keep on getting upset over stupid things like this.

I don't know if she understood. The next time I saw her she was playing Internet chess with a man who was pretending to be John Wayne Gacy, Jr., who kept sending her disturbing instant messages which were supposed to be erotic, like "Now I'm cutting off your little finger, slowly," or "I'm flaying the skin from the inside of your thigh." My mother would make her move on the chessboard, and reply with flirtatious, coy messages. I didn't understand what she was getting out of the whole interchange, and I know it's not just because it was a dream, because I so rarely understand what people get out of the things they spend their time doing.

The scene is all too familiar, a recurring nightmare from my grade school days when I could not begin to comprehend the mysteries and revelations of what a nuclear war could possibly mean to the fate of humanity. Most of the time my senses are hopelessly diluted in the state of lucid dreaming; touch, sound, and feel are all as distorted as the sense of being underwater. Why is it that my worst nightmares, my greatest fears, are the ones that ravage my mind in full blown Technicolor, in ear-splitting clarity?

I look up to see a familiar, hot Texas sun beating down directly overhead onto the parched, dry grass. The only difference? It is midnight instead of noon, a horror that has caused the populace of my quaint little town to gaze up, in wonderment, into the glare of what should have been daylight. A vague sense, a clairvoyant whisper in the back of my mind, tells me that the Earth has stopped its timeless rotation; time is frozen and the Apocalypse has found its right moment. The dull whir of helicopters, planes, comes in from the distance, the bodies of the dead splayed out onto dead-yet-perfectly-manicured lawns. Somehow this seems a normalcy, this is not even the beginning of my terror.

I see my mother as an old woman, my stepfather long since dead. Time should have dignified her features, giving her a stolid regality where beauty once stood, but they have done the opposite; weathering her skin and giving her the monotonous face of the world weary. She is thin, frail, holding me in the lawn. We sit there together, exchanging love amid the hopelessness, and it strikes me that I do this with no trace of unfamiliarity, as though we have done this for years. Sharing the pain.

And then, the frightening quietness. The eye of the hurricane, I think to myself. A silver, almost diaphanous plane overhead releases the bomb. My normally scientific, logical mind tells me that the godforsaken weapon in question is a fission bomb, but it does not matter when I see it drop overhead, almost surpassing the sun in brightness as it detonates. The blow actually reverbrates throughout my spine and I wake up, covered in sweat, still convinced that it is all real.

Every time I have this dream I have to run outside, hoping not to discover that what I had just experienced was reality. If I, supposedly 'sane', distort this fantasy after a few minutes of REM cycle... how does someone insane, unable to differentiate at any point in their lives, hold on to any hope in the world?

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