Posts Tagged ‘regret’

The Night After David Bowie Died

January 11, 2016

I’m singing with Joni Mitchell and Leonard Cohen. We are singing one of Joni’s songs, “A Case of You.” Leonard is not how I’ve always seen him. He is young and handsome, not the dark, brooding face I’ve watched age through the year while still holding my heart with his musical genius. Joni looks just a little younger than she is now, which means just a little thinner. I am lying next to a precipice and I hear other voices. A young black woman is at the top of the precipice and her foot slips a bit in her position at the top of a wall with stones jutting out to support her feet. I reassure her and she gets her grip and climbs down the wall. I look at the wall and decide I can do it, too. I’m elated as I make my way down the wall, step by step, in a reverse climb. I don’t even feel fear, just power. I get to the bottom and look around. The landscape is gorgeous and vast. I realize I’ve just descended a short way into the Grand Canyon. There is another young woman there with the black woman. We gaze at the canyon together and I grab my camera to take a picture. When I survey the terrain around me, I see a marble statue which seems to be an angel or a saint, reminiscent of the angel in Central Park that came to life in “Angels in America.” I reach out to touch it, and it turns and smiles at me, then comes toward the three of us and sits down to talk. I opine on how surreal it seems, yet it doesn’t seem at all out of place.

Suddenly, I’m working for a very high tech company that is involved in military hardware. I look around and my fellow coworkers include Mike P., a high school classmate who committed suicide after winning a scholarship to Rice University. He looks the same as he did in high school and I look like my much younger self. Yet, I realize that he and the other guys with him (yes, all guys) are also other brilliant students from classes we shared, including the guy whose name I can’t recall who showed up at one reunion and mentioned that he was a physicist at NASA. I think another one is Mike M., a classmate from my Catholic grade school and my high school, who actually became a family physician in Tennessee. There is someone else I don’t recognize. They have all been given schematics and documents to study and modify as they see fit. I have been given nothing. This bothers me because I left another tech firm to join this startup, but I am being ignored. When I look for the department manager, he says that I was not given anything because I am too young and therefore lack the necessary experience. I ask him how old he thinks I am and he says I look like I’m 24. I tell him that I’m much older than that, I just don’t show my age. I also tell him that I served for 7 years in the Air Force and just finished climbing a wall in the Grand Canyon, so I am certainly fit enough for the job and have the experience in military hardware he needs. He ignores this and says that he is going to enact a policy that mandates that any employee aged 65 must retire or be fired. I know he is figuring that this will make me leave, since I am just shy of 65, but I also think that I won’t let him know that the engineers that have been given the project that is the core of the company are all former classmates of mine and therefore in the same age group. He will lose all the talent he sought and hired , including the men. We are all smart, but I am the only woman and I believe this is why I’m being kept out of the loop. I also feel frustrated because the one credential I lack that I hid from the hiring manager is an engineering degree. Mike P. and I go outside because the prototype of the special weapon the company is developing is on its way for test and evaluation. We see it at a short distance and then examine the tracks it made. It appears to be a machine that has a metal belt track, like one would see on a tank, but is also capable of hovering above the ground. We must make sure that the tracks follow a particular L-shaped pattern as designed. I’m still not sure what my part is in all of this, but I really want to get involved. I want to work with Mike and I mention to him and the manager who dissed me that when I left the service I was a staff sergeant, so I had some managerial authority. I hope this impresses them both for different reasons. I had a crush on Mike P. in high school because he was smart, funny, and nice. Something about him made me think of a Bassett hound, just cute and lovable.

When we go back inside, there are various television screens tuned to different images. I won’t say channels, because they appear to be from a closed circuit production. I reach toward one screen and find I can touch the hair of the person whose face is on the screen. I mention how surreal that seems, and then I wake up. My significant other hears me and walks to the bedroom door and informs me that David Bowie has died. I respond that that explains why his last album was so dark.