I dreamed last night that I was walking in the Mission in San Francisco. I was looking for Mission Dolores. I circled a city block and I saw it looming in thy sky around the corner. The old church stood stiffly next to the curves and clay of the old Mission. I moved faster, eager to get inside.
I walked the grounds remembering the last time I was here with my mother in the fall last year. I looked for the graves of missionaries from my mother's home in County Tipperary in Ireland. I looked for the thatched hut. From across the grounds I heard a voice calling my name eagerly.
When I got to a clearing, I saw it was a woman named Maryam. I should clarify that in awake life, I've never met this woman or know who she is, but in my dream I remembered her from Iraq. I also remembered that she was Persian, then I corrected my memory that she was French. I remembered she was married to a kind, brilliant older man who wore tweed and smoked a pipe. I also remembered she was a professor of Women's Studies. I can't recall another dream I've ever had where my mind created so much history about a figment. I called out to her excitedly, "Bonjour!"
Maryam gathered up her girls around her, they were on a trip abroad from the university. She invited me to have tea with them. She quizzed me excitedly about how my parents are doing. We moved under an archway into the shade, and one of the girls laid out a sparkly, gauzy blanket that we all settled down on. A clay tea pot was produced and a plate of flaky cookies was passed. The conversation was exciting and delicious as the snack; I felt inspired.
When we finished, the girls got up from the blanket and I noticed that the blanket now bore symbols like seashells, some zodiac signs and other images I don't remember. I knew it was time to tell our fortunes. We all tossed the remnants of our tea cups onto the blanket and amazingly, the tea leaves started spinning in the air. As they would drift toward each of the symbols, the group would cry out what it meant. "Travel!" "Love!" "Swimming!"
Maryam kissed me on both cheeks as we bid goodbye. I walked back through the grounds of Mission Dolores and stopped at the sight of Mary framed by a golden orb. The paint was chipping and it looked like tears on her face. I pressed my palm on her cheek and thought of my mother, my grandmother, my sister and my sisterfriends. I thought about unexpected visits from Mary in Fatima, in Egypt, Guadalupe, Lourdes. Pieces of the paint-tears crumbled into my hand and I put them carefully into my coin purse. I felt so fortunate, so lucky, so blessed.
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