Iro Shito: life before Life

Sometimes when I close my eyes I can still see visions of my life before. Most of it is still a blur, but now and then an image of it reveals itself to be clearer. One day at a time.
The last vision I saw was that of a woman with grey eyes. She had to be around her mid-20s, maybe mid-30s, I don’t know. She wore an unusual kimono dress with a green ribbon tied around her waist. We were both standing in the middle of a rice field. It was just the two of us and the sound of the wind. On the side of the woman’s hip was a sword forged just for her. It looked incredibly light but sharp enough to cut through anything like butter. Although her aura was so calm I didn’t suspect that she would attack me, but I wasn’t going to take any chances.
The woman’s back had stayed turned to me for most of the time, and about time she had made the slightest bit of movement to turn to face me I had woken up in a cold sweat next to a woman, I still felt I barely knew.
Ciara was her name. We’d been dating for a few months already, but let’s be honest, some people still don’t even know each other after dating for two years if not more, but still, she was my girlfriend.
“You okay hun? You’re burning up,” said Ciara, concerned.
“I’m fine… I just had another weird dream,” I said.
“Was it that same dream? What was it about again? We had so many drinks at the party last night I can barely remember.”

The truth was I’d never really told Ciara about the dream. I mean, come on, what do I look like telling my girlfriend that I had a dream about another woman other than herself. Ciara would’ve given me the silent treatment for weeks or worse a kick to the balls, or even a chop to the throat, you get the point; she’s an aggressive gal when need be.
So, as most men would do, I just shrugged and told her I couldn’t remember either. And of course, Ciara would have a suspicious look on her face that said that she knew I was lying. Part of me would say that all women have this gift, as my mom was good at reading my dad who was as like talking to a rock at times. Although, I would be giving too much credit to say all women were like this because I wasn’t the best liar to begin with. So, in conclusion, reading me was like reading a Dr, Seuss book.

Ciara then got out of the bed taking the blanket with her. It was colder than normal for a Seattle Winter. So, I couldn’t blame her. Then again, didn’t make it right for her to leave a guy practically naked on the bed like that. It was awkward…
“Hey hun, I’m going to make some coffee. You want any?”
“No, I’m fine love…” I said, still naked on the bed shivering.
“Wow… That’s, different.” Said Ciara, confused.
“Dillon, you never say no to coffee. Are you sure everything is okay?”
“Yeah babe, I’m good.”
Ciara had an awkward expression on her face. You could say she wasn’t the kind of person that was fond of changes. And well, me not wanting any coffee when I had butt loads of empty Starbucks cups lying around the kitchen was unusual indeed.
“Okay… well, I’m going to hop in the shower. You’re happy to join me if you want stud,” said Ciara dropping the blanket at the bathroom door. Why couldn’t she have just tossed it to me like normal? But I think she knew I would never have left the bed had she done so.

No doubt about it, it was tempting, the shower that being, but something about that dream felt too real. I just couldn’t get it out of my head. However, the time for daydreaming would have to be put to rest, unfortunately, as I had the responsibility of a nine to five. I rolled out of the bed and fell harder than expected. I guess I forgot how high Ciara’s bed was.

“Your pathetic,” said Ciara poking her head out of the bathroom door, as she watched me crawl towards the blanket on the floor.
A few minutes later Ciara would step out of the bathroom with her hair slicked back and her body as radiant as the sun; so much it was as if she’d been dowsed with glitter.
Slowly but surely, Ciara wrapped the giant blue towel to the left of her around her child-bearing hips and walked over to kiss me before she headed out to a Job she as well dreaded. She smelt like heaven and well I smelt like hell, which I assumed that hell smelled pretty bad, but who the hell knows. Nevertheless, Ciara had stepped out of the door and I would have the place all to myself. I of course had my place but something about Ciara’s always felt like home.

Before I’d taken a shower myself, I would go to the kitchen searching for exactly what Ciara knew I would come around to wanting. On the kitchen table was a coffee cup with a note attached to it with a smiley face saying “Your Welcome.” It was easy to say that Ciara had her sarcasm.

After a few more sips of coffee, I’d finally go hit the shower. The hot water trickled down the back of my neck while I closed my eyes and tried to think more clearly about the dream I had, but sadly, nothing came to mind. At least not until there would be a knock on my door.
Was it Ciara?
Seeing how there wasn’t any towel around that hadn’t been used. I picked up the giant pink blanket that Ciara originally left on the floor. I wrapped it around my waist with no shame at all.
The knocks on the door would become even harder over time. It was rude and I was pissed. I swung open the door like a mad man eager to address the ignorant soul that would have the nerve to do such a thing and still be standing there.

“What do you want!” I shouted. I looked around. To the left and the right of me, I would find a woman flustered with rage. Her eyes burned through the front of my skull and then beamed to the floor as if she were trying to hint something at me. And it would seem that I was the ignorant one as that was exactly what she was trying to do.
In front of me was a little girl with red hair and a pretty green dress, holding what looked to be Girl Scout cookies. It was adorable. She looked like a little leprechaun handing out boxes of gold, gold in which were the sugar cookies.
“Excuse me, sir! But where do you come off shouting at little girls! You’re lucky I don’t call my husband you jerk,” shouted the angered mother. “You know he’s an MMA fighter.”
I couldn’t tell if the woman was bluffing or not, but I surely didn’t want to find out if she was lying or not.
“I’m sorry… I thought it was someone else. Here, please, take this,” I replied, embarrassingly.

I’d given the woman and her daughter fifty bucks as an apology. I know that that’s a lot for Girl Scout cookies, but it was the least I could do.
Moments later I’d run to go catch my bus, it always pulled off earlier than it should have. I think the bus driver got pleasure from seeing me chase after him all the time, but lately, he had been less of the jerkwad seeing how I’d reported him to his manager on numerous occasions. Don’t get me wrong. I would never want to get a man fired, but if karma won’t do it someone has to.

As the bus pulled up, like always it was packed better than a can of sardines.
I was on the opposite side of the road, waiting for the walk sign to come on, however, if I waited for my light to come on that would mean that the bus driver’s light would turn green, meaning that he could pull off and there wouldn’t be a thing I could say or do about it.

In the distance, the bus driver stared at me and smiled. I hated that guy. And well, that was the day I’d let him know it. Although the lights were all still red, I sprinted for it anyways. The closer I got to it, the more I could see that the bus driver was eager to push the pedal to the metal. Unfortunately for me, the lights would turn green in the middle of my run. I’d almost got hit by a car, but something just made me roll out of the way without the slightest bit of hesitation. I don’t know what it was but it all just felt natural. When I looked up, I would be in front of the bus, while the bus driver continuously honked at me with rage. I dusted myself off and went around the side of the bus and had him open the door.
“What are you crazy! I almost ran over you!” he shouted.
I shook my head and continued heading towards the back of the bus. Once I had taken my seat, everyone had stared at me as if I were a ghost or something, but being a black man I’d gotten that for most of my life. So, it was whatever I guess.
My job was about an hour’s commute from where I lived. It sucked, but it sure did beat driving in traffic. At least on the bus, I could take a nap. The coffee I had that morning wasn’t doing that great of a job to keep me up. So, the bus was an advantage.
I closed my eyes and again I saw the woman in my dreams, but this time she seemed to be much closer than she was before. The wind slowly but surely carried her scent past my noes as if it were taunting me. It smelled sweet almost like a watermelon. Again, we both stood in the middle of the rice field wondering who would be the first to blink or make a move. And then the rain would pour, which the woman would be surprisingly unfazed by. Her scent would then fade.
Even though I had lived in the rainy city known as Seattle for most of my life, nothing was comparable to what I was seeing now. And sooner or later the rice field would become flooded, going from my ankles to now my knees.

“Why are you here?” Said a voice, followed by thunder.
I then looked up to the skies and could only feel the power of gods funnel through it. Who was this woman? Want was this intensity I was feeling from her? She couldn’t have been human.
I was at a loss for words. Was I losing my mind?
It was then the woman turned around, and it was at this moment I would finally see her face. Her skin looked soft, but pale; like death. Her eyebrows were bushy, and her eyes… enchanting.
The woman’s lips moved.
“Why are you here?” She asked, this time grabbing the handle of the sword by her waist side.
But before I could answer her question a woman with the same kind of eyes would wake me up from my dream or possibly what could have been a nightmare.

“Hey son, this is this your stop,” said an old lady, rubbing my shoulder.
The old woman was a little under five foot and smelt like toasted bagels and cigarettes.
“You know son, Jeffrey was going to pull off on you and make you miss your stop, but I let him know that that wasn’t right. That man has been a pain in the butt even when he was dating my daughter three years ago, which hadn’t been that long. I won’t explain how that went down, but you know… that’s life. But I told Jeffrey if he didn’t stop I would tell her the real reason why he left. Now don’t just sit there staring at an old lady like you’ve seen a ghost. I ain’t dead yet. So, get moving. I don’t know how much longer Jeffrey will wait. Bus drivers do have schedules, I and everyone else should be aware of by now. “
I was speechless. It was a little hard to process it all. I mean, anyone would who gets wakened up out of their sleep so spontaneously like that.
“Thank you, thank you,” I said hugging the old woman.
The old woman smiled.
“If I only got hugs like that more often, I’d get out of the house more,” the old woman joked.
I smiled. After putting back together what was left of me still on the bus, I headed on my way to work.
It was busy as usual. Everyone was running around like chickens with their heads cut off. And my boss, well… he looked like a tea kettle that was about to blow off its lid. He was frustrated but he was always frustrated. You could say that my boss wasn’t the positive kind, which wasn’t the best kind of person for a leadership role but that’s another discussion to be had.
“Dillon, Jesus, there you are! Where the hell have you been… We needed you in earlier,” said Erick, my boss.
“Sorry traffic…” I said, knowing the real reason was that I didn’t want to come to work at all that day and had to drag myself from one part of the city to the other.
“Its always traffic with you man. Catch an early bus or something, just don’t be late again.”
In that moment I don’t know what came over me, but my eyes had made Erick choose his next words carefully.
“Okay… Jesus, maybe I need to go catch a breather. Just stop looking at me like that and if you could please, with sugar on top yeah, go help out Mike in the Claims department. He’s drowning over there. I’m worried he might quit if things keep on going the way they are and you know better than anyone we have had enough people quit already.”
“Sure, no problem,” I nodded.

I walked over to Mike and he looked terrible as always; as if he had a few too many Frappuccino’s, McDonald’s, with not a day’s work of hitting the gym. And out of all the fit people in the building, Mike would be the one in charge of all the heavy lifting. Quote on Quote, the freight guy.
“Please tell me that you’ve come over here to help a brother out?” Said Mike, huffing, and puffing. He was already drenched in sweat.
“Yeah, but you’re lucky, I wasn’t even planning on showing up.”
“If you didn’t show up, then you would’ve probably heard about me being in the hospital later this week or quitting,” Mike, joked. Then again, it wasn’t a joke seeing the condition he was in now. The man was falling completely apart. Like an apple that became too heavy to hold onto the branch of a tree.
But I didn’t say a word. It wasn’t because I didn’t like talking, but more so because Mike wasn’t the most pleasant person to talk to.
“Yeah… Silent as always. Anyways, grab that box of Claims over there. We need to bring it all down to the new girl Jessica, and let me tell you she is quite the looker. So, don’t let her see you sweat when you see her.”
“Says the one who’s sweating,” I said.
Mike hysterically gave me the finger.
“Besides Mike, I told you I have a girlfriend like a few months ago. I just reminded you that yesterday.”
Mike chuckled.
“Yeah, sure, of course, girlfriend… Whatever that means man,” said Mike. “With this generation today, unless you got a ring on her finger, my friend that doesn’t mean a damn thing. Now just grab the box and follow me stud.”

Like I said Mike wasn’t the best person to talk to, and after what he just said I especially noted to never bring Ciara around him. Not that I didn’t trust that she wouldn’t do something foul, but more so, so that I and Mike wouldn’t have a fistfight that would turn into both of us being fired.

Nevertheless, I followed Mike to the elevators and we’d gone all the way up to the 30th floor. Once we’d reached it, it was as if we were in a completely different building. The windows were enormous and there was so much skylight that the only possibility of you ever getting a dark room would be at night, but even that would be a challenge being how the moon would still illuminate it somewhat.
It was amazing.
“Hey, Mike, where exactly are we?” I asked.
Mike wiped the sweat from his forehead and then dried his hands on the side of his pants.
“The hell if I know, I didn’t shoot the sheriff, I’m just the messenger. Now stop drooling around and keep following me.”
“Don’t you mean fooling around?” I corrected.
“Nope, I intentionally meant drooling. Because babies drool and you acting like a spoiled little brad right now. I’ve done most of the work here already. So, don’t even try to be one of those people that correct everything someone says or you will be on my most hated list, which may I add you are pretty damn close to by now.”

Now most people would think this kind of talk would not fit under the role of being work-related but you see, my job wasn’t what anyone would call a corporate job or the blue collar type of work. It was for sure the grunt work of all jobs in America. But I kept my mouth shut and didn’t question Mike again, for he was the true child between the two of us. He just couldn’t take criticism very well.

So, I continued to follow Mike around the corner where we would have to deliver the boxes. The closer we got to our location the more I would smell something familiar. Something I had always smelt in my dream. It smelt earthly; like a rice a field…
As we’d gone around nothing but plants surrounded a room that of which looked as if it had been designed for the heavens. It was completely lit with blues from the outside and greens from the inside. The air in the room was just the right temperature and looking at the way Mike was breathing told me that he too felt the place to be a relief.
“Ah, finally there it is thank you guys so much,” said a woman, with her back, turned to us. It was strange… I didn’t even recognize her until now. Was she there the whole time?
I set the box and turned around to greet myself, but immediately found myself speechless.
It was her… But how could it be? It was just a dream. It was all supposed to be just a dream and nothing more, yet, there this woman in my dreams stood so real and so beautiful I could feel her warmth from across the room.
“Is everything alright?” She asked with an awkward look.
Mike nudged me.
“Well, don’t just stand there like a freaking pervert. Say hello to the lady and let’s go,” he whispered.
“N-no nothing is wrong. You just look familiar that’s all,” I said.
The woman then smiled and held her stomach doing her best not to laugh.
“Wel that wouldn’t be the first time I’ve heard that line but you can always try again next time,” she chuckled.
Mike shook his head in embarrassment.
“I’m so sorry. You see, my friend here doesn’t get out much. So, please excuse his awkwardness,” said Mike.

I said not another word after that. Before I knew it I was back on the elevator with Mike as he ranted on about how much of a simp I was. Whatever the hell that meant. But one thing was for certain, I needed to see the woman again.

To be continued

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