I take vivid trips into my subconscious every now and then. I sit in a quiet place, usually within earshot of a fountain, and just listen. The other night I threw a bag of fond memories about my past into the passenger seat of the convertible I keep parked in the lot of a marina I spent some time in during my childhood. I drove out the gates and headed down a highway that led to my heart. I had been down this highway many times, sometimes alone and sometimes in a moving truck with movers ready to lift and load and unpack the many thoughts stored in my subconscious and place them into my heart where they would become lifelong feelings. Those feelings would then influence much of what I do.

On this particular night, I pulled up to the beach that is located at the edge of my heart. It is usually warm, salty, and glistening in the multi-colored sunset. I had an uncle once, Tom, who was a simple person. He loved to garden and build and create serene environments to relax in. He had a fiancé’. I never met her and don’t remember her name. His life changed during a tour in Vietnam and he was never all there anymore. He functioned, but not so well. But he was happy some of the time. He’s dead, long gone, and when I built this part of my subconscious world I gave him this beach. During our occasional visits, we would sit and watch the never-ending sun never go down. He would sip a martini, his fiance’ would sip one just like it, and I would match them with my own. He was always ready to give me advice from a very simple point of view.

On this particular night, though, the beach was not serene. It was not level and white and glistening like it always was. I had been having, and am still having, nightmares and worries and doubts. The sand was like mud, with fissions that ran deep into the earth in all directions. The trees surrounding the beach were fallen. The sky was grey and black and the sun was peeking out between some of the blackness in just small twinkles.

Tom had a cement mixer hitched to his old rusted Datsun pickup. The mixer was turning and his fiancé’ was handing him bags from the back of the truck. The bags were labeled, “Hope,” “Faith,” “Patience.” “Help me mix these,” he yelled to me over the sound of the engine that churned the contents of the bags. I picked up a shovel and moved the thick granules around as they raised and fell inside the drum. “We have to fill these cracks in your heart or we’re going to lose you,” he yelled again.

We did, and the two of them left, probably to go and get some more mix. I’ll be going back to work with them again. I want them to have that beach. And I had to leave those fond memories in the car for now.

Chris Plante

May 7, 2020