A friend from my high school days, Sally, told me she was moving to Arizona.
Sally had confided to me that she was gay and that her folks wanted her out of their house.
It’s hard for me to imagine how parents could not want their own child.
“I can start a new life somewhere else,” Sally told me.
She eventually told me she’d met a woman she was crazy about, and I was happy for her.
They would soon be living together after Michelle went back east to handle her divorce and see her daughters.
Sally had a snake phobia and sometimes had nightmares about them.
I wondered how she could stand living in the desert where thy’re plentiful.
About a year later, I too moved out to Phoenix.
I met Jim, a wonderful man, and we hit it off instantly.
He had a great house with a big barbeque on the patio, and he had a great sense of humor.
Jim suggested inviting Sally and Michelle to have dinner and watch the Suns basketball game.
With Michelle’s trip upcoming, I thought it might be difficult for Sally but a good time for a visit.
The two women arrived, looking forward to the barbeque and the game. They brought a basket of fruit that I set on the dining room table.
Jim fired up the grill and spent half the afternoon marinating steaks and tending the fire until the coals were just right.
Over drinks and dinner, we relaxed on the patio and watched the game on Jim’s big TV.
“And it’s Michael,” shouted the announcer. “He’s got 42 points already, dunno if the Suns can do it.”
“I’m loving this game,” I said. “I haven’t watched basketball since I went to college a hundred years ago.”
Sally quietly said, “I had a nightmare last night.”
Our eyes were still glued to the game.
“Sir Charles is on the move. He just stole the ball – yah!”
“The dream was about snakes. I hate snakes,” Sally said fearfully.
“Oh, honey,” Michelle said. “It’ll be okay.”
Sally appeared in pain.
“I dreamt that Michelle was holding a snake up right by me, saying that they were okay,” she said.
“I was terrified. Then the snake slid over my head and down my back. I screamed.”
“Yeah, she woke me up,” Michelle added.
Sally dabbed at her eyes with a napkin.
“Then I began to sing ’cause that’s what I did that when I was a little kid,” she said. “When I was scared, I would sing.”
“I’m awake in the middle of the night and she’s singing,” Michelle said. “It was crazy.”
“Know what I think, Sally?” I asked quietly.
“I think the snake represents a male, probably Michelle’s husband.
“I think you’re scared that when she goes back east to visit him and their family, she won’t come back.”
“Oh, Sally, you know I’m coming back.” Michelle said.
“Yah, but the little kid inside doesn’t know it,” I replied. “She’s afraid of being abandoned.”
Sally took some deep breaths to calm down. I also reassured her that Michelle would come back to her.
The TV had its final word.
“We beat Chicago,” said Charles, the Suns’ star player. “Now it’s back to the desert.”