On a bus, crowded. Guy with his son on his lap in the seat across from me. Girl with short hair in the next seat up. Bus is packed with commuters. A news report comes on about how people all over the city are suddenly breaking into violent rages for no apparent reason, snapping with little or no provocation. Immediately, everyone on the bus starts to become angry about this. The guy with his kid starts to shout at me. I raise my voice and call for everyone to calm down. We’re not animals, I say, we’re rational, reasonable people; and there’s no reason for antagonism. This seems to work, everyone relaxes, but just to be safe, I get off at the next stop. The short haired girl gets off here too. We both cross the street and turn in the same direction. I am further surprised when she turns in at the same house I am headed to. A note on the door in crayon says that the family has gone shopping, and that whichever of us gets here first should keep an eye out for the other- apparently we are distant cousins. An elderly member of our family has recently died, which is why we are both here, visiting relatives we both barely know; although the house bears a passing resemblance to my grandmother’s house on my stepfather’s side.
Later, everyone is back home, and it starts to rain. The ceiling leaks like a sieve, and water is pooling on the soaked rug. We have laid mattresses down in the puddles to sleep on, but everyone is sopping wet, listless and depressed. It reminds me of the squalor of a drug den- random mattresses populated by random people lost in their respective reveries, seemingly dead to the rest of the world. The short haired girl is sobbing, holding her knees. I am not having this shit. I start to scrounge small items from around the rooms, small knicknacks that may be useful, valuable, or just pretty; and clean them up. I set this small collection of treasures before her as signs that even in the worst times there are always good things if you look hard enough.
My alarm goes off, and the rain never stops.