walking through knee deep water. there is no end to it, water on all sides. we are walking to a water tower. the giant round storage bulb on the top of the hydropillar is painted with caricatures of my family members. there is a space for me left blank. my aunt is chastising me for not having painted my face up there yet. i ask her how i’m supposed to paint it. there’s nothing left to work with. she tells me to use a coin and scratch it in. i look down at my feet. mixed in with the jagged rocks are pennies. the world has become one large abandoned wishing well. it’s going to take years to scratch myself into existence, to prove my existence, with just the use of a penny. i take a deep breath and stare up at the faces of my family. well, if it’s the only way, i guess that’s what i’ll do.
visiting laura. her hair is dark and super short. she looks incredibly happy. she is showing me a mannequin of herself she has sculpted from found objects. jumpropes, hair brushes, plastic toy shovels, phones, cups. it’s super intricate, and is accurate right down to her tendons and tattoos. i’m so happy to be here with her. she tells me that she has to move her car. she’s been parked next to brett’s car for 3 years but now that we’re not together anymore she doesn’t want to be anywhere near him or his possessions. she doesn’t want to risk being associated with him. her 4 year old daughter is walking around in her underwear with crazy staticy hair. she asks me why we aren’t together anymore and i don’t want to burden her with adult drama so i tell her “oh, it just didn’t work out,” and she looks at me with huge knowing eyes and asks, “is it because he treated you like shit?” laura just shrugs as if to say that her kid just knows things without being told and I smile at her daughter. “yes babygirl, it’s because he treated me like shit.” we go down a path in the greenery next to a road and find a little hidden space that has been used by neighbors as a parking lot unknown to vandals. when laura pulls away her car i am in awe of the rock she and brett were parked on. it’s a huge slab of raw lepidolite. the pale purple glints are unmistakable.
i change into a long orange and brown knit sundress. we are so excited that it is going to be 83 degrees today!!! i’ve arrived just in time for perfect weather. i consider wearing sandals but decide to keep my cowboy boots on. we go outside and start wandering around. there is no sign of civilization aside from the school and dorm behind us. we see tall sediment structures like those in Utah. the ground is red-orange and only small areas have tall dry grasses.
Back inside the dorm David tells me that they are so very proud of me. they’ve been following my career on television and are so very excited that i’ve made the journey back to them. it’s an honor. i’m confused. have i been on tv? the signal is so limited i can’t imagine any precious time being wasted on covering me. he says that it’s reported whenever i publish a new paper and they’ve searched for all of them, though they can’t access copies of all i have written. i’m taken aback. i work really hard on changing policy, but i hadn’t realized anyone noticed. in a hallway i need access to the computer lab and a student guard won’t let me in. another student is begging to be allowed to work on a paper. i argue with the girl/guard and demand to be let in. she refuses. i explode with anger about how unfair it is to people who are trying to better the world, people that need access to information, people that simply can’t make the world turn with their ideas alone. it seems to be what she wanted. she tells me to go on in.