Tornado Dreams

Thomas trudged through deepening drifts.

Shadows filled. A gray November day had become a cold snowy night.

Thomas cupped his hands against a window. His breath froze on the pane. Even in a biting blow the structure smelled old. Inside the fixtures, chalkboards and desks all looked just as Thomas remembered.

A police car inched up the street. The date was an anniversary; from then on Thomas has had tornado dreams.

Fear stabbed at him. His toes tingled transfixed by memories. Thomas recalled the narrow passage between the church and convent where he eluded rivals by jumping roof to roof.

Thomas thought about his favorite teacher accusing him of lies. Two months later his best friend died.

Now Thomas doubts all things sacred. Would a real God have made it bad luck for him to love someone?

———————————————— * * * —————————————————

Thomas stands in the Texas heat waiting for traffic to clear, then steps into the boulevard. This is the exact spot. Thomas had been two thousand miles away from this place the day his childhood ended.

About thirty other tourists share Thomas’ curiosity. Monotone vendors hawk theories and books to anyone that will listen. Thomas counts the seven floors of the Depository.

On a school playground, Thomas had questioned calling a man guilty before a trial. A bully hit him. Fellow fourth graders chased him with sticks. He escaped by making a leap no one else dared. Thomas ran home bloody and found Oswald dead.

Thomas feels disoriented. What he always envisioned as a vast grassy knoll is merely a low berm. The plaza isn’t much more than a median in a divided roadway.

Thomas asks a guide if the sewer is from where the head shot came.

“No one follows that theory anymore.”

Thomas walks and stops at a commemorative plaque; he turns and scans the scene: though the limo had been quickly repaired, Kennedy’s brain somehow lost, and the Warren Commission hotly contested, Dealey Plaza remains almost exactly as it was in 1963.

Dealey Plaza has itself become a shrine.

Thomas shakes his head.

Tornado Dreams

Bob Fox

Ypsilanti, United States

  • Artist
  • Artwork Comments 24

Artist's Description

For Thomas, childhood ended in a storm of uncertainty.

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