My Inner Ninja, A Prologue

The night before last I dreamt that a shadow crept across our yard as Henry and I walked home from an evening mass that had taken place in an old warehouse. We had arrived late to the service, when the only place to sit or stand comfortably was at the front of the makeshift church. To get there, we had to walk up the narrow center aisle, which was crowded with other latecomers and a grumpy altar server who admonished me when I bumped into her serving tray. No sooner had we reached the front than a handsome gray haired woman pointed at Henry and me and motioned for us to follow her. The altar was in the center of the room, and the half dozen of us who had been chosen, along with the priest, the woman, and an altar boy formed a circle around it. It was time for communion, and we were to serve as Eucharistic ministers, a duty I once performed faithfully at student mass in the basement of St. Paul’s Church in Cambridge and, after college, as a Jesuit Volunteer at St. Martin’s parish in Belize City. But more than a decade had passed since I had last handled the body and blood of Christ, and I felt I should say something to the priest or the handsome woman, or at least make eye contact with Henry so that we could slip away together. But when I looked to Henry, he was standing in front of the priest, who was slipping a white robe, embroidered like a huipíl, over Henry’s head. There was one robe for each of us, and I was next.

That part of the dream ended before the priest got to me, before he set the host on my upturned palm and handed me the chalice from which to drink. And then Henry and I were walking home through a park that does not exist in our neighborhood (or perhaps even in our city), with acres of grass and a paved, curved, well lighted path cutting a diagonal from one corner of the park to its opposite. Our land, which in the dream had transformed from Atrisco dirt to the same lush grass carpeting the park, lay at the end of the path in a shallow valley created by a berm at the park’s edge. An expansive cottonwood marked our boundary. I was about to ask Henry what he thought of the mass, the robes, something I’d never before been asked to wear as a Eucharistic minister. That’s when the shadow passed over the cottonwood trunk and disappeared behind the berm.

“The wolverine,” I said.

Henry nodded. It wasn’t the first time the creature had come to us. I don’t know when he first appeared or why, but I understood—we both did—that he was and always would be part of our lives. He made me nervous, but I knew that fearing him was a choice. He had never bared his teeth or so much as growled at us. When he came, I sensed his presence on the perimeter of our property, just beyond my peripheral vision, and so long as I made no sudden movements, he stayed there. When he left, I knew in my body because I could once again breathe deeply.

Next Week: My Inner Ninja

Published in: on January 17, 2012 at 12:27 pm  Comments (1)  

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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. Don’t you love these epic dreams we have once in a while… I’m eager for part 2! Got me almost as addicted as I am to Downton Abbey!

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