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“That will be nine dollars and twenty-six cents with tax,” the saleslady said as she huddled in her sweater, its nappy edges covering her chapped knuckles. On the counter between us lay the coveted gray faux leather wallet, with plastic sleeves for pictures and a brass key chain on its side. Classmates in my new school had similar wallets; owning one would draw their friendship, so I had hoped.

Suddenly, my face blanched, my knees buckled. In my mittened hand, I clutched nine dollars and my ten-cent carfare home. I did not know about the tax. On a previous trip downtown, I’d noticed the wallet displayed in the store window of Three Sisters, checked its price, stole nine dollars from the pouch Dad had left for Mother’s household expenses, and planned my return to the store.

The saleslady caught my disappointment and thanked me for returning the wallet to the display shelf with the others. Still dismayed, I elbowed my way through other customers; their noise was deafening as I set down the wallet. But I could not leave. I had come so far and sorely needed my classmates’ attention on Monday when I climbed aboard the school bus. That was the way it was supposed to work.

It happened so fast: flash-flames scorched my body as I slipped the coveted wallet under my arm, buttoned my coat, and threaded my way to the door. I knew I was stealing, but it didn’t matter.

The following Monday morning, seated on the bus, I purposely placed the wallet on top of my books, but no one noticed.

Perhaps eleven years old at the time, I learned how easy it was steal, of little matter the guilt and shame. That I had sinned flew in the face of assuaging my emotional pain.

With this story, I plan to blog more on the topic, sin, so unpopular, in common parlance, yet so divisive of wholeness.

Around 7:30 A.M., I stirred with this corrective dream:

My anxiety mounted with meaningless background noise as I waited for my masseuse. I looked forward to her soothing touch, especially upon my spine. The door opened. She was ready for me. There, she stood, but drastically altered: her head unevenly shaved, her slit-like eyes trained upon me like a hawk’s, her gap teeth resembled a clown’s, her lanky body covered by a neck-to-floor soiled sheath. She repulsed me.

Within the depths of my psyche lives my drastically altered masseuse, eager to knead her powerful hands within the contours of my body/mind. So unlike her former Feminine self, she repulsed me. Only later did I realize her clever disguise as the Sacred. The dream ended without my taking action.

Given the hectic drift of my ego, it’s no wonder that she revealed her true self. I needed the correction to slow down, especially since daily walks in the air-conditioned YMCA have energized me, a tad. My body is still terminally ill, despite obsessing on more outings with my portable oxygen and mask—Even entertaining the notion of taking the Pfizer vaccine. Such is the meaningless background noise that annoys me like thousands of fleas on holiday.

I no longer need to be out in “the marketplace” as little appeals to me. No need to fudge around the edges of my daily routine that has kept me steadfast for almost two years of hospice palliative care. Certainly, more prayer and rest will help assuage my masseuse’s outrageous behavior. She’s got my attention, that’s for sure.

I’m uneasy with another corrective dream:

It is night. A former classmate hosts a lavish party. The commotion of music, chatter, shrill laughter, and tinkling glasses of bubbly wines unnerves me. In no way is significant conversation possible. Then, Rachelle, one of the guests, takes possession of the dance floor, with solo gyrations in sync with the music. Clown-like circles of rouge cover her pasty cheeks. A narrow black belt nips her waist like twine on the end of a sausage link, over which her red blouse and navy skirt jiggle in fleshy folds.

I cringe as I record this dream with its recurring theme: chronic noise of my own making that blocks significant learning from Higher Power, that plunges me in painful isolation.

As in other dreams incorporated in this blog, night suggests the culmination of the day’s activities, or on a deeper level, the end of time. With increased symptoms of my terminal illness an undeniable fact, such dreams warrant close attention.

The lavish party speaks of my being dressed to the nines, feigning smiles, and being miserably bored, not unlike attending such gatherings in younger years.

That there is a Rachelle in my psyche gives me great pause. Like the wildness of my obsessive thoughts under cheap carnival lights, Rachelle high steps, twists and twirls, claps ringed hands above her horsehair wig, yells piecemeal lyrics. There’s no stopping her. Her garish make-up, her tasteless attire, her aging body gone to seed, and her self-absorption—all revolt me. Yet, she reflects multiple shadow issues I’ve accumulated through decades of mindless living.

But Rachelle is also my teacher as I deal with the inevitable diminishment and death of my old body. It doesn’t take much to set off such protest-racket that further worsens my breathing.

Whenever Rachelle surfaces, I’ve work to do.


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