birds in a barrel's mission is to release creative nonfiction into the wild.

40 Days & 40 Writes is its first project.

It's Just a Dream

"You can't go to the party!"
"But mom." he yells
"I will finish my chores." he pleads
"Enough.. You had all day to finish, I told you if you didn't finish you weren't going."

I hear him crying in the background as my ten year old son storms off to his bedroom. My heart grieves because I know he has been waiting to go to this party for a week. It is a swim party at our neighbor/soccer teammates house, and all of neighborhood friends and teammates will be there. I warned him all day to finish his chores. He continued to play instead. This is not the first time he has done this. He will rush through his chores sloppy and unsatisfactorily but completed so he can attend whatever the event is. This is his new pattern and a learned behavior of not following directions. I decide to disrupt this pattern. I have to teach him that it is not okay. I continue to hear him wail in the room, but I have to hold my ground otherwise he will never learn the lesson. My heart still hurts for him. I will not cave in. I decide to put on my headphones to dilute the noise and clean the house instead. An hour goes by and I slowly remove the headphones and the noise has dissipated. Relief! I look over at the counter and I see the cupcakes we were supposed to bring to the party. I feel guilty not to have brought them so I decide to head over to the neighbor's to drop them off and apologize for not attending. It is quite in his room, maybe he fell asleep or finally started cleaning his room. I walk into the side gate that is open at my neighbors house. There are balloons and signs that say party over here. I hear activity and splashing from the pool. As I round the corner of the house and finally see the pool, I see a crowd standing around at the edge of the pool. I can hear crying, and cries of distress. My heart sinks and I head over to see what has happened. I peek in from the back of the crowd and I see my son lying on the cement unresponsive and lifeless.

I drop the cupcakes and yell, "What . no no no No! No!" uncontrollably. Everyone at the party just turns and stares at me but nobody says a word. And then I wake up.

That anxiety dreams comes with sweating, talking in my sleep and heart palpitations. I believe the dream is about my son not following directions and the natural and yet severe consequences that can come from his choices. I am grateful this has been just a dream.

San Simeon's Summers Song

Straw Fascist