I stood over my daughter’s crib in the dim rectangle of light from the hallway, watching her chest rise and fall. Her mouth was slightly open in her sleep, the barest hints of snoring rising from her.
I could always stay and watch for hours while she slept. So small, so innocent. Every day, a little more independent, a few more words, such a big girl for only a year and a half old. She practically came up to my hip already; she was going to be a tall woman when she was fully grown, just like her grandmother.
My head radio had been buzzing almost daily in the intervening months since the day of the argument with my wife. It was as if my resolve to figure out how to use it was enough to trigger the thing into going into overdrive so that I could follow through on that resolve. Some days it seemed like it was always on, like when you’re driving through an unfamiliar stretch of countryside and you push the ‘seek’ button on the radio. I would feel a low static in my brain, with a burst of unintelligible noise every few seconds. On days like that, I kept my sunglasses and my migraine medication nearby. I’d have ten or twenty small premonitions on a day like that. Funny thing was, I learned to tune through the noise of those premonitions a little bit. I would get a flash that a student’s tire had blown out and I was about to receive a phone call, or I’d ‘see’ a coworker clog up the men’s room and know to avoid that side of the building for a few hours. It may not have been a gift that was paying the bills, but it was definitely starting to have its uses, provided I didn’t mind the accompanying headaches that came with it. Some days I’d have to call in to work sick and hunker down in the bedroom, curtains drawn, shades on, an injector of sumatriptan at the ready. Days like that, I swear I could feel my left eyeball about to pop, showering the wall in sticky heat. One morning the pain was so bad I went blind out of my left eye for about four hours.
Close one of your eyes. Tape it shut. Now walk around for thirty minutes like that. Terrifying, isn’t it? Funny how we take for granted having two working eyes until one of them stops working. It eventually cleared up, but things were blurry out of it the rest of the week.
Now, I’ve have an MRI done in the last month. I told my doctor about the headaches (but of course not the cause) and she gave me a consult. The machine didn’t pick anything up out of the ordinary and she told me that maybe my sodium intake was too high. I honestly don’t know what I was expecting, really.
My daughter’s also had three flashes of her own, which is definitely progressing at a much higher rate than mine did. Maybe we’ll get lucky and she’ll actually be able to control the things better than I can. Get her to look at a roll of lotto tickets and pick the winning one out for dear old Dad.
That changed this morning, though.
I was grading papers on one of my rare mornings off, sitting in the living room, essays fanned out around me like unimaginative leaves fallen from a dull tree, when I got the flash behind my eye along with a snippet of seafoam rushing in my ears. I know it wasn’t static, like I normally get on noisy days, because I could make out the gentle ululations as the wave broke and receded. Now, the range on my radio is pretty short, and seeing as I live ten minutes from the shore, I quickly ran through a list of causes for the wave.
TV? Unlikely. The noise was too pure. Stuff on the TV usually has music or dialogue underneath it. Radio? Also unlikely, for the same reason.
The flash itself was of my own face and my wife’s face, looming large in my field of vision. We were making soft cooing, babbling noises, and it was accompanied by the feeling of... marshmallow? Like being wrapped in fluff, if that makes sense.
It took me a few seconds to realize what ws going on.
I was hearing the ambient noise machine from my daughter’s crib.
I was seeing myself through my daughter’s eyes, but how was that possible? I wasn’t even in the room with her. I stood up and padded quietly into the bedroom to see what she was doing.
She was asleep in her crib, her chest rising and falling gently, the barest hint of a snore rising from her.
I was seeing my daughter’s dream.