It was right around 4 am when I woke up startled from the haze of the bad dream. From my open window, I smelled bagels cooking from the bakery distributor a couple of blocks down. I made out the smell of cinnamon raisin braided in with the onion and garlic that overpowered all the smells. It was early September. The afternoon before it had been pouring rain. On the ride home from Manhattan on the Express bus into the Bronx I wondered if we were even going to make it home. Rivers had formed on the Bruckner Expressway making our bus driver weave and swerve to get around it and get us home. I got home an hour later than usual, but by then the rain had tapered off.
I did my usual routine of Chinese take
out from the restaurant across from the bus stop and walked the two long
blocks home to my apartment. I watched the evening news. Primaries
were tomorrow, some schools had their first day of school and the weather
was supposed to be much better - cooler and sunny.
Now here at 4 am with a nice cool breeze
mixed in with the smell of bagels. I tried to remember why I woke
up so startled.
I dreamt I was back in PR in our old
house on the family compound. But the house was huge this time, a
few stories tall. We were on one of the other floors, second floor
maybe, and were told we had to leave. The house was on fire and the
floor was starting to crack. I've always had vivid, odd and disturbing
dreams, this was no different. Other than the house burning everything
else in the dream seemed so perfect. The air was warm, the rooms
in the house were bright from the sunlight entering through the large windows.
The light gave everything a yellow tinge. It was a surprise
when someone said there was a fire. The only indication of trouble
was the cracking sound from the floor.
I tried going back to sleep but it took
almost 2 hours. My alarm went off 20 minutes later. I hit the snooze
button a few times up until 7:20. Finally had to drag my butt out
of bed and get to work. It was cool out but not chilly. I had
the TV on and Al Roker said it was going to be a beautiful day. I
put on my sandals and wore a knit light purple top. Quite the combo.
Eh, I wasn't trying to impress anyone.
I decided to take the Subway in. The
Express Bus at this hour was going to take longer in peak rush hour traffic.
At least the train would be easier. I always got a seat since
I lived at the second to last stop and could take it all the way to work.
I stood by the back part of the platform and looked over the railing
to the street below. The light this time of year always bought me
back to childhood and the first few days of school. I remember the
smell of the new school supplies -- new book bags and pencil cases have
a distinct rubbery smell. I remembered walking to school eager for
a new beginning. The yellow light of that morning vaguely reminded
me of my dream from the night before. It glowed against the buildings and
the reflected off of windows, bright but warm.
My train pulled in and I sat towards
the back of the car. We made our way through the North East Bronx.
We paused in Parkchester, as usual, it was the switch over for those
that wanted to take the local train through the South Bronx. We were
going express into Manhattan from here. There was an announcement
on the PA, something about an incident in lower Manhattan and our train's
final stop being somewhere before Wall Street. It didn't matter to
me. My stop was in mid-town. We finally got moving again. We
pulled up and over the curve before going underground for the duration
of the ride.
It was such a perfectly blue and cloudless sky.