Tuesday, April 11, 2017

The Dream of Language




I’m waking through a lingering dream. This often happens when the garbage trucks are breaking rules and bang-bang-gungh-ghungh-bang-bang-crash, doing their holy work before 7:00 AM.

My husband had just slammed the door on his way out. He had been stressed out a lot lately because he was publishing a paper in Science that maintained that all the world’s languages could be tracked back to a single mother tongue in Africa. Spoken by Eve. No doubt, I wanted to say over coffee and oranges, but he was gone.

Even his smell in the bed was different. Not the rich pungency I loved, but rather a thin, acrid one. He’d been smoking again. Not that it mattered too much. We hadn’t been having much sex lately, and I hardly ever saw him. When he was at home, he would sit in the dining room and curse at the peers who reviewed him

Yet I knew this was important. This publication would ensure his tenure at the University. He’d have a steady job, benefits… His reputation and future, our future rested on it

You may be wondering why I put up with him, well, I knew that I loved him. That’s what marriage is about: the worse and the better. Lately it had been worse. He had spoken of nothing but phonemes, counting them across the world, comparing them because it was all for Science.

bang-bang-gungh-ghungh-bang-bang-crash

I am totally awake and glad I’m single. I know what seeded the dream. A PRI article began with “Scientists say.” This is how most scripture begins where I live. I look at the ceiling and think about this phrase and what it means.

It means I am an apostate. No, not because I adhere to a religion. I abandoned Catholicism a long time ago and with it the rest of Christianity. I find it hard to trust God or Induction. The ceiling seems certain enough, and it is enough. I can see it. I am sheltered beneath it. No, I don’t say it shelters me because that is an active verb, perilously close to ascribing living motive to an inanimate concept arranged by my often faulty sensory-conceptual framework—a world where certainty is something I have to learn.

I wonder if Eve thought about that when she was speaking the first words. Was it simply a game of phonemes she uttered to her children and it sort of took off from there in ways she didn’t really intend? Even though I am not a mother, I know that can happen with children. But why am I burdening her?

Why does there always have to be an Eve or a single origin for anything? What good does it really do. I guess it keeps my dream husband employed and a dream roof—with concomitant ceiling—over our dream heads. I could further question that, since we didn’t see much of each other. I couldn’t even have dream sex with him. 

I consider getting a dream divorce.

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