Our Life


burnt-matchI dreamed that Bob and I were in Mexico. We were sitting at a table in a restaurant with Kris, Heidi, John and Avery. As we waited for our drinks, an old woman with crooked eyeglasses came over. She chatted on about this and that as she reached a thin arm across the table to light our candles. We tried not to show how distracted we were by her appearance.

As we watched her, we realized that she probably owned the restaurant. We imagined that years ago she had scraped and saved to start this little cafe in the wilds of nowhere and nourish it into a going concern. Her sacrifices showed clearly on her birdlike frame. She looked to be a hundred years old although we’d been told she had yet to reach 70.

In a reedy voice, she mentioned the moon and how it was due to rise soon, full and yellow over the water. She wasn’t sure when, she said, and so continued to walk down the beach every few minutes to check. Always a good sport, Bob picked up the conversation by noting that, since it was to be a full moon, it would be rising as the sun set.

“Yes, but the sun sets earlier here because of the mountain.” The old woman said. Bob tried again to explain how the movements of the sun and the moon were fairly predictable but she stuck to her guns.

For a moment, Bob struggled to close the gap between common sense and good manners. In the end, he realized there was no way to reconcile the two in this situation and graciously conceded by accepting her story without further argument.

Satisfied, the woman continued on through the dining room, flitting about between the vacant tables, leaving a trail of burnt matches.

Heidi could hardly contain her fascination. Not only did Nancy remind Heidi of her now dead “crazy” grandmother but the suspense was unbearable regarding whether or not she would burn her fingers.

Hunched over in concentration she would light candle after candle and with the flame climbing high along the paper match, reach for another. After lighting the last one, she would flick her wrist, extinguishing the flame and flinging the spent match in one motion.

And then I woke up and my dream ended in a puff of smoke. Huddled next to Bob beneath our down comforter, I realized it was winter. I saw that I wasn’t sitting with friends in a restaurant by the sea with the full moon about to rise over the water and knew that anything I did outdoors on this day would require lots and lots of clothes. Sigh…

By Camille Armantrout

Camille lives with her soul mate Bob in the back woods of central North Carolina where she hikes, gardens, cooks, and writes.