Jungle Dreams

by | Oct 16, 2022 | Kuntz Day 2

It was a fix-up by friends who both thought they knew me but I was good at hiding my secrets, my drug habit, my lying, my hatreds, my four years away from my family while I was in the service, two of which were on the base in town that no one knew I was there, two I can’t talk about because if I talk about them the migraines will come back from thinking about a life in the jungle, hiding in a cave and coming out to slit a throat and cut off an arm and toss it in the fire and finally, finally getting to eat something besides plants and yes I gagged but I hauled the meat off the bone and carried it around until I couldn’t stand the hunger anymore and I reached in my bag and came out with a handful of meat and this time I gagged less and the next time even less and after that I could eat anything without gagging.
So I didn’t tell my fix up about those days or my black days or thoughts and I went with her to her family seder which was in a restaurant because no one had a house big enough to host and all I could think of with all these uncles and aunts was how many funerals I’d have to go to in the years ahead if I married this woman and yesterday I went to the last aunt’s funeral and unlike my family they all liked each other and were genuine and didn’t hold grudges or stop speaking to one another and the next month one of the cousins died and I told my wife I couldn’t go to any more funerals and she didn’t understand me. She said, “I don’t understand you.” And I said I know you don’t, no one does, and I don’t understand myself, but this is who I am, and she looked at me with tears running down her cheeks and said, “You talk in your sleep. I know more about you than you think.” And I said I have dreams and nightmares of things that aren’t true and I remember them all in the morning but I don’t know where they come from. “That must be a heavy burden,” she said and I told her it was no longer a burden because I was used to these wild dreams.” “Just tell me this she asked. Did you or did you not live in the jungle?” “Of course not,” I said. “I’ve never ever been to a jungle. Why do you ask?” “Because you talk in your sleep a lot about the jungle.” “I know I have jungle dreams, I lied, but I don’t know where they come from except maybe the news.” And she said, “Thank god, and hugged me and I hugged her back knowing that once again I dodged a bullet. For now.

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