Split the Night

23 Aug

In my dream we’re sitting in the belly of a plane, 6 or 8 random folk, seated, playing games, reading, sleeping, doing what passengers are willing themselves to occupy their time with. I look around, clouded, stunned really. The plane is moving-the slow languid roll of a waiting aircraft.

I know none of these people, but suddenly, they’ve stood up to speak with one another, an excited murmur smothers the windows and I stand myself, lowering my book to the seat as I crane my neck, out of place, concerned.

“Are you ready to DIE!” a woman standing on a small carry on screeches, her lovely navy suit aflutter as her excitement builds. “We are all about to die!”

The group surges to her, ecstatic, their eyes on heaven, or their pain, somewhere else entirely. I swallow panic and run to the nearest door, clawing at the handle, muttering through tears “I don’t want to die! I don’t want to die!” as hands begin to wrap around my wrists.

I wake up as the plane is smashing into a wall of old trees, about to erupt in dark flame. The ache of loss takes all morning to dissipate.


As I grow older, more at ease with living, with life, with the idea of having dreams and plans and wants, I realize there is one constant thing I want and will likely never have.

I want home.

My own home was stolen, ripped away by cancer, and neighbours and a grief so unspoken it seeped into the old wooden beams that held the house up. I left, I fled it seems somedays, the pain no match for the familiar quality, the sponge like safety of the place you grew up. Some growing is too fast and painful, shin splints of the soul.

I have a home, a solid, red brick built in 1957 which feels older and is subject to the many fond remembrances of some cabbies in the area. Inside it, my family lives, breaths, dirties the floor yet again, laughs. They fill the rooms with their being, their growth, their voices and sweat. But it’s not that I crave.

I crave the idea of home-the place you can return to. The small town which holds half your family, the aunts and uncles and cousins who know you, who just get you in that uncomplicated family way which frustrates for it’s stagnant nature. I want to confused family Christmas, swings in the yard, beers around the BBQ.

It’s fictive, I know. I spend my time wishing for the impossible, the improbable. It’s like a craving I’ll never satisfy, this want for people who know me, people I don’t have to explain to, who just know that I like no tomatoes on my chicken burger or hate people who use the phrase “those people”.

I want people, I want to have my people, but I never will. There just isn’t enough of them, and they aren’t here and most are unseen going on 20 years. I stare into my future with dreams and hopes and I wonder just how empty it’s going to be, my people estranged, distant or dead.

Is there a point to any of it, without  tribe to follow you?


I walk around all day, trying to shake from my head the terror of knowing you’re going to die when it’s absolutely unavoidable and unwanted. The novelty of the sensation, not a fear of death, but one more of waiting, of unreadiness, or needing to find my place and home here-it was new. 

I don’t want to die, and want what so many have-a family, a people to surround me and know me.

Such melancholy thoughts, these which tell me I get better still.


9 Responses to “Split the Night”

  1. missy August 23, 2009 at 2:40 am #

    I read this when you post a reminder for me to read it. 🙂

    I just got so stupid busy with school…I can’t read blogs anymore…

    But yes, I feel the fear. I get it sometimes. I do. But you are getting better. Keep it up!

  2. Cheeky Monkey August 23, 2009 at 2:57 am #

    I used to have airplane crashing dreams all the time. All. The. Time. And I was sure they were indicative of something awful in me. But then my therapist told me to look at them as hopeful (because in the end, the plane never quite crashed). And I’ve stopped having them.

    This probably doesn’t apply so much here. But I get both the dread of death and the desire for a home.

  3. Hannah August 23, 2009 at 8:06 am #

    This made me tear up. Just remember while you may not have that family yet, you are creating it. Someday yours will be the house that your girls come home to, when they need a soft place to land.

  4. sweetsalty kate August 23, 2009 at 9:44 am #

    Oh Hannah wins. I can’t say anything that would better than that.

    This was beautiful. xo

  5. EJ August 23, 2009 at 11:39 am #

    Your family is the seed of your tribe.

  6. Jennifer August 23, 2009 at 12:57 pm #

    I’m in the same plane. Been there, still there a lot. You have your little tribe, so all we can do is hope that we can create that for our kids.

  7. Marcy August 23, 2009 at 8:21 pm #

    I don’t think I’ve had plane dreams like that, but lots of war dreams. Especially ones that start out with me willing, or thinking it’s just a game, and then gradually or suddenly I realize it’s for real, and I could very well — or I will certainly — die very soon. Terrifying.

    Yours seems to have some interesting overtones of scary religion.

    I relate to the mostly unfulfilled desire for true home, and the little glimpses and tastes that are never enough. (As you know I mostly find my hope for the fulfillment in Jesus; I believe he’s my true home and my best family.)

  8. Kay August 24, 2009 at 3:10 am #

    I too, want that home, that loving place to go back to. For me, it wasn’t the black hearts and twisted minds of so many of those that people would consider my “family” that stole it from me, and from my children. I no longer feel welcome in my own home town – part of that is due to those people, the rest is due to some of the horrible choices I made while manic.
    Instead, I’m struggling to build my own chosen family, a circle that can always come back to the “home” that is now mine. On a good day, I believe I’ve succeeded. Most days? I wonder if I ever will.
    Airplane crashes were never my nightmare – it was always car accidents. Which (many days) left me terrified to leave the house and get behind the wheel. Thankfully, new meds mean I don’t remember my dreams. Sometimes irritating, but usually just leaving me feeling relieved.

  9. wn August 24, 2009 at 9:39 am #

    I thought I had that home…until pretty recently…but as I grew up, I realized that my own home was not a safe place…it was a place filled with negativity, judgment and condescension. It was a place that always made me ill at ease. It was a place that I went out of obligation rather than comfort.

    And then just as I thought it was getting better…that WE were getting better (as a family) it too was ripped apart by cancer (my Mom just got diagnosis 3 in the past 18 months)…. So I understand this feeling (unfortunately)…of not having that soft place to lay your head…

    I think that Hannah did say it best though….although it is hard try to take comfort in the fact that you are creating it for someone else…and that is possibly one of the best gifts you can give anyone.

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