Dreams that Wake Me in the Night

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Memoir  |  House: Booksie Classic

I dreamt I was a child the other night. A brown skinned boy of four or five. My clothes were ragged and my hair uncombed. My shoes where too big for my little feet, and my ears too large for my little head.

DREAMS THAT WAKE ME IN THE NIGHT

By Al Garcia

I dreamt I was a child the other night.  A brown skinned boy of four or five.  My clothes were ragged and my hair uncombed.  My shoes where too big for my little feet, and my ears too large for my little head.  Scared and lonely there I sat, too young to curl up into a ball and fade into the air, and too old to whine or wail like a child that I could no longer be.  The only thing I could sense or feel was the wetness that rolled down my sunken cheeks and a coldness that made me shiver in the hot and humid vastness of large rooms that held the cages filled with others just like me.  And I stood alone inside a cage, my fingers clutching the metal wires that was the wall that kept me from the strangers that stared and spoke the words I did not understand.  I looked around and tried to find my mother or my father, but that was not to be.  And I felt alone and scared and lost.  And all I wanted at that moment was to be held and loved by my Mom and Dad. 

And I awoke to find myself in bed, staring into the darkness and the abyss of a dream that made me want to lash out and scream out into the night, but like the little boy, I just sat and stared into the bleakness and coldness that consumed me.  I remembered being a child and being brown.  I remembered the times I felt alone and lost when Mom and Dad were not around.  But I always knew they would return and hug and kiss and pick me up and whirl me around as they told me how much they loved me and how much they’d missed me.  And they had only been gone for a little time.  And I knew they would never leave me or abandon me.

To imagine the plight of all the brown children alone and afraid continues to haunt me and disturb me.  The images of Nazi Germany plagued my mind when I saw children being snatched and pulled from their parents’ arms.  But this was no re-enactment of German war crimes against humanity.  This was our government and our officials, forcibly grabbing and pulling children, crying and screaming, into the arms of strangers and into shackles and chains.  And what made it even worse was that it was taking place in my own back yard along the Rio Grande, and not in the 1940s, but in 2018, in an enlightened and free and moral society.

There exists today and there will exist tomorrow, a small minority of small-minded and ignorant individuals of all types, shapes, religions and ethnicity, including some Mexican-Americans, who have no empathy for their fellow man.  They do not understand nor comprehend the history or the chronicle of how hate, like cancer, can infect the hearts and minds of weak and spineless individuals who mindlessly respond to the sound of a whistle and to the scent of racism and bigotry that permeates and saturates their distorted and grotesque world. 

The rhetoric of hate and fear and white nationalism continues to divide and to split our national discourse and national stability.  This is the game plan that occurred back in the 1940s in Germany.  The evolution of a new party has been set in motion.  The call for allegiance to one personality is taking root in the chambers and hearing rooms of our once sacred branches of government.  And the eternal flame of freedom and justice and liberty that burned so bright for generations now flickers and flutters with the winds of change that blow across the hollowed halls of power. 

And all this happened as the little brown children were carted away and placed in wire cages like discarded refuse.  They day the children cried was the day the dignity and nobility of the greatness of America perished from its spacious skies and from its amber waves of grain.  The purple mountain majesties and the fruited plains no longer shed their grace on thee.  America!  America!  Where are thou my America, where once you crowned they good with brotherhood from sea to shining sea? 

And I dreamt I was a child, born to be free of walls and cages, chains and shackles.  I dreamt I was a child, able to laugh and play and dream the dreams of children.  And as I finally fall asleep again, I hear the lingering cries and screams . . . and I stare into the darkness and think of the America that used to be.


Submitted: May 23, 2021

© Copyright 2021 A.Garcia. All rights reserved.

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