The other night I awoke in China/Santa Fe/NewJersey, had just left a group of female friends, bags on my arms. I had been with Liv, my twin, but not, and I was walking to my car and then I was parking my car, my grandmother’s car, and I saw that I was “home” at my childhood house. I had to get inside to shower. I wanted to clean my body. I needed to get ready. The tree in the front yard, the one Grandpa planted when we moved in, was a full-grown tree. Its leaves were green though, not red, as they had been in childhood. They were green-shining-golden and I saw something behind the branches, and the thing moved. I realized it was not part of the tree, and a bear formed itself there or had been there all along (a cast lifting or dropping, the light changing) it was a bear, and it sat down like an old man on the front stoop.
The bear sees me and it perks up, our eyes lock, and I enter a prolonged moment of magical thinking, oh, even if the bear attacks me he won’t attack me, it will happen, but it won’t, I will open my eyes, this is a dream. I hesitate and fumble and the bear’s paws pound down the steps, toward me. The great advance, for one to prey. I am. I hesitate but move instantly to the car and the bear moves toward me, quicker now. I’m getting into the car, and I’m in the car and the bear is at the window, knocking its head against the doors. Ignition, gas, go.
I drive and I am in NewJersey/SantaFe/Istanbul, and I know where I’m going, but every direction, all the turns and distance from one to the next, is only obvious or is known to me at the moment that I arrive to a turning point. Where does one go to get away from a bear, in a city whose streets are sliding from one country to the other, street to street. The pedals are too far away, and I feel clumsy and the bear is pursuing. Galloping, hurling weight in my wake. I drive. I am frenetic. I reach my toes to the pedals that are too far away and I can’t move the seat up. My fear
I know. I create this bear. Fear creates conquest, and if I stop reaching for the pedals, if I let go of trying to control, I see that the bear chasing me is an illusion, and I keep driving. I am convincing myself of this new mindset, looking up and over the dashboard, and the bear is no longer weighing into my wake, distracted by something. I swerve. It is sitting on the sidewalk, a branch, some honey, a plant, and people on the street are gawking, and the bear looks even larger than before, but it’s smaller as I get farther away. I am bigger. I am, all of the sudden, parking that a house of a friend but not really anyone that I really know but I go inside, panting, and a tall, pasty, blonde woman asks who the hell I am. I say I am being chased by a bear, and she says, a bear (really?). I go inside and try to take a shower. I want to get clean. The shower is occupied, and I search my bag for fresh laundry to cover the smell of me and this fear.