Her face was here again. This time, her cuteness expressed in toy-batting playful behavior and boisterousness. I remember most keenly that she was with some friends of mine she never knew, captured in home video handheld camera nostalgia. In a booth at the restaurant, they gathered for a lunch that had and will not ever take place.
Earlier, I was delivering a sermon, saying “hosannah in the highest” and “praise be to God” before a massive crowd of soldiers with spears and axes. They waived their weapons of war and cheered in their clanking armor.
Some of my friends were doing a stage play before the sermon, which pleased the soldiers greatly. My friends were dressed is little old men in white robes and had little candle holders in their hands. They all three scooted out into the stage barefoot while a man in a gold cape tried to reach out and grab them from the wings while I held on to his flappy and tattered cape.
J looked beautiful. Her hair was kinda poofy, like she had styled it. She was on video playing with a keychain toy the dentist gave her in his office, then eating food at a restaurant with my old friends, mentioned earlier. She was eating a plantain it looked like, and the food she was attempting to conquer was too big to fit in her mouth. She laughed at the situation in that joyous way she does.
There was fire burning the land earlier, before J was anywhere. My old home had been reduced to ash as I saw from above. The fire was still burning over a few ridges. Smoke billowing up into the blue sky.
It wasn’t just me watching J, my whole family was there gathered around the TV of my childhood home. We were commenting on how cute she was and that she didn’t know she was on camera. My mom laughed while J spun the little keychain around on her finger as her eyes chased the toy, spinning around in the air.
At that moment, even though a screen and distance divided us from each other, I knew she was still a fit in this family, and a part of us somehow.
Waking up alone and too early, I wonder quietly if she is out there somewhere thriving, living a new life that is entirely her own. Once she flew away, I could not see. I do not know, or truly want to know, because there is no reality comparable to the one I’m in when I sleep.