Jenny Forrester and
Victoria Nessen

Victoria Nessen
Inspiration piece

There Are No Bubbles
Jenny Forrester

A tiny black dot moved onto the page I’d just turned to. It appeared at the edge, handed me a smudge, said, “It’ll help you wake up when you sleep,” then it rolled down the page and was gone.

When I was small, I dreamed of giant bubbles and walked through the house popping them.

My mother said, “There are no bubbles.”

I said, “The bubbles get me when I’m asleep so I need to wake up.”

She said, “Go to bed. Now!”

When I grew up, I lived in a green triangle with a black cylinder pen that wrote wide rivers. I had a family and we drove to the blue mass of ocean in a car that was Saturn. We looked for stars in the sky that was Eastern, everything left or right of the dividing line of mountains.

Now that I’m older, no green triangle, different way of family, no planet car, no white beetle, I’m surrounded by peaks and mountains. They’re bases and summits and topographic not-exactly-circles. They’re elevation rises and valleys with rivers and wells and springs, depressions, from time to time, gathering rainwater.

I bought new hiking boots – old school, brown leather, red top-stitching and laces. The boots and I hike red places – red paths of worn-smooth tree roots and scrambling red sandstone in-laid with quartz and creek beds, ankle-bending trails and smooth paths through aspen. The boots and I hike ponderosa pine dotted green-gold grassy meadows, other Rocky Mountain ranges in the distance – waves of volcanic sea change, zigzag trails and stone step ascents. I am wandering the bubbled landscape of dreams, a dream life, following the trail of the tiny black dot and its rolling.

Downhill can be hard on the toenails. They’re a thunderstorm, no safe place when there’s lightning. It’s pain. It’s vast. It’s potential last moment. Perspective.

I dream my toenails are loosey goosey. Loosey goosey says the dream. I think, It’s going to hurt to peel them off.

I’m ok, though.

It’s just a dream, says the dream.

Somewhere from behind the page, I hear the tiny black dot and begin to peel things away, peeling back the wounded parts. I put the boots back on and continue down the page carrying the smudge in my pack, popping bubbles, walking to wake up.


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