A dream comes to Alva and wakes her up.
By the week before Thanksgiving all of Brooklyn’s leaves turned dry and brown, blown by ever more determined winds. With the cold weather, Alva’s mood tightened. The night before Thanksgiving, Raoul and two cooks worked past midnight preparing the restaurant for the following day’s feast. Alva, at home in her bed, fell into a deep sleep. Outside rain pelted the sidewalks and glossy black puddles formed. People who were still out rushed to get out of the rain, their heads down, coat collars pulled tight, umbrellas swaying back and forth, difficult to hold against the wind.
A dream came to Alva during the storm outside.
She was a grown woman but was innocent like a child. She was walking in the woods under great live oaks dripping with Spanish moss, curly, lush and soft. Wolves howled from behind trees. She tried to see where they were. Then the wolves were upon her, tearing at her dress and ripping her panties. And the wolves became hyenas, baying and squealing in high pitched voices.
In the dream Alva the girl-woman tried to protect herself. One hyena pushed her down and another jumped on top of her and still another pulled her legs apart while a hairy paw held her mouth shut so she could utter no sound.
Alva awoke to her own screams and Kitty was at her door knocking and calling to her.
“Alva,” she called, “Alva, are you alright?”
Kitty turned the knob and came to Alva’s bed. Alva was sitting up, breathing fast, her chest heaving with terror as if she had relived the real event.
“Just lemme get my breath, Child,” she whispered haltingly.
“Would you like some water?” Kitty asked.
“No, please, don’t leave me right now; just give me a few minutes to collect myself.” Alva put her hand to her face. She wiped away the wet from her tears. “Oh that was a terrible. Just like it was happening all over again, coming back to me now, after all them years I put it back behind me.” She looked at Kitty, bewildered and confused.
“I know,” Kitty said. “Sometimes, time passes and you think something’s over. But in some part of you no time has passed at all. When that time meets the present, I think they kind of collide with each other. And the time now and the time past need to meet and reconcile. They need to make peace. Maybe you’ll never know why. But it’s obvious something in you wants to make peace with what happened.” She stroked Alva’s hand.
“You a very sweet girl,” Alva told her. “Maybe I did wrong to talk you out of going up to them sisters. Maybe that’s what you meant to do.”
“I don’t know about that,” Kitty said. “I’ve been happy right here. At least for now. I think I will go up to the convent sometime. Maybe soon. Maybe not. Whatever is meant to be will be.”
“Listen atchoo,” Alva laughed. “You becoming a real life philosopher.”