In a loft, sitting up in a tall bed piled with quilts, Alenia and I are watching a movie that starts out like a combination of The Princess Bride and The Neverending Story but gets more Dark Crystal-y as we watch until it is live action and a battle scene. They are burning down a village and a statue of the protagonist’s god is surrounded by flames. “They won’t kill him, will they?” she asks. I tell her, “No. They can’t kill it with fire.” and I struggle to remember what it is that won’t burn. I run through the lyrics of Gentle Groove and God is Alive/Magic is Afoot combining desire and faith and the illusion of death but i don’t come up with the phrase I am looking for. Alenia watches me try to figure this out and says it’s ok, she’s happy just to know magic lives.
Outside on a sunny sidewalk. Classmates are talking, waking themselves up before a field trip. But at the corner of a parking lot, against a painted brick building, I see someone getting ready to throw out fabric. I run over and tell them to stop. Please! It’s my grandmother’s. I run my hands over the fibers, bring them to my face. I choose the ones I know belonged to her through touch and smell. My mom and stepdad show up to take me home. I tell them I want to stay, but I need to keep this fabric. My stepdad has already bundled them up, taped them into tight, light rolls he can toss into the car. I thank them over and over. I need to make quilts and sheets. One of them is flannel and I’m sad to part with it even for a day.
I show up to work at a small dark convenience store. The manager asks me for a bag of ice. I think it’s strange but I go to the chest and pull out a 10 lb bag of ice. As i’m pulling it out, i see a hand reach out from underneath. I pull the layers of ice bags off of the body and Alenia climbs out like it was no big deal. I don’t know what to say. “Why?” I ask. She says she wanted to surprise me when I came into work. I think about all the time spent going through my grandmother’s fabric and talking to my parents. “But I’m late,” I tell her. “How long have you been in there?” She shrugs, “About 4 hours.” I don’t understand why she couldn’t just stop by and say hello. Isn’t her skin burning with cold? She just walks away.
Waking up I remember the line I was searching for: “Manuscripts don’t burn.”