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Sophie playing in the woods outside Ma Bethel's house, where she is staying for the summer.  photo by Colin A. Danville

Sophie playing in the woods outside Ma Bethel’s house, where she is staying for the summer.
photo by Colin A. Danville

“Last night I went to Cairo. And this is some of what I saw. But most importantly I found another girl who travels in her dreams just like me. She said her name was Selma…or maybe that’s where she was from. She wore a red dress with a yellow star in the center. When I pressed my hand to her heart, the star became a door, and together we went through it to Cairo.

When I looked up into her face, it was painted gold. And then her face turned into a mirror, and I saw that I had a gold face too. When I opened my mouth to speak, only songs would come out. In a different language. I couldn’t understand myself, but everyone understood me. There was a parade of some sort. Selma held my hand and it felt like how a river feels when you put your hand into it. She didn’t speak my language, but she sang too and I could somehow understand. That’s how I know she was just traveling in her sleep like me. I asked her when would she be back, but then she just turned into a big yellow star and floated away.

But it was like she was still there because all of the sudden I was in the river of her palm. And I could hear her still singing. I forgot my own song, and tried to sing hers. My voice was caught, and only flowers came out. Beautiful purple, blue, and green and gold petals. The flowers filled the river up and I fell down into it. I was falling and falling until I was on top of the sky, looking down over Cairo. I have never been there, but in a dream, you can just know where you are.

And so I started running in the air. But I was trying to get down to the ground. I didn’t just want to fly and not touch the people. To come all that way, I had to feel something other than the air which doesn’t even count. I was struggling to get there. I stretched and stretched my legs, pointed my toes. It seemed like I grew a few inches. I noticed I was barefoot, and it was my big toe I was trying to get to the surface of the street. As soon as it was about to touch, a big woman’s red scarf blew into my face. The wind picked me back up again. I didn’t fight it. I lay floating up into the air. Some of the flower petals are still there and I eat them. They taste like the river and make music in my head. It sounds like Selma’s song.

I wake up to the sound of breakfast being made. Not the smell, but the setting out of pots and pans for eggs, grits, pancakes, and sausage. I try to stay still, so I could see if I could get back to Cairo. But it was no use, the morning had already taken me so very far away.” ~~ Sophie, daughter of Fiona, granddaughter of Cecilia, best friend of Sparkle who is the only living daughter of Coretta Gray.

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