Children and animals are excellent indicators of character. The first time I had a premonition dream, I had to be no older than four or five. In the dream, my mother and I were attempting to make it in time to catch a Coney Island-bound train from the Church Avenue station in Brooklyn, NY. We entered the station at the Caton Avenue and St Paul’s Place entrance. My mother made it onto the train, but somehow, I was left on the platform alone. She screamed at me frantically through the door to stay where I was; she would ride to the next station and then back to get me. Between my tears, I nodded at her and prepared to wait. However, the second the train pulled out of the station, I heard a familiar voice behind me calling to me. It was Ms. Mia, one of my mother’s friends. “Come here, dear; I will wait with you as you wait for your mother to return.”
I could see her silhouette in the shadows at the top of the platform’s staircase, the light of the day framing her form as it streamed in through the station’s stained glass windows. I turned towards her direction and began the descent up the steep incline. As soon as I did, I slipped and began to fall backward. Ms. Mia instantly ran down the stairs in what I had thought was to catch me before I reached the bottom and hit the hard platform. In the dream, I remember reaching out to her, but at the last moment, when my fingers were just within her grasp, she pulled away, and I fell. I could hear her laughter raining down on me as I sat stunned on the cold, dirty platform on my bottom. Why, you may ask, do I remember the dream so vividly almost forty years later? It’s because I had the same dream off and on for about a year until the day my mother and I learned of the affair Ms. Mia was having with my father. I say we learned of the affair because together we did.
I never really liked Ms. Mia. There was something about her that was off. I think she tried too hard to befriend my mother and myself. My mother met her in “The Rooms,” the common name for Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) meeting rooms that my mother and father frequented while I was growing up. Both of the men my mother married and the third she dated during my parents’ separation were all recovering alcoholics; they seemed to be her type. It may have been because my grandfather, her father, had been one himself. I remember she had offered plenty of times to babysit me while my mother took classes at a local business school. She would always ask me if I wanted to have a sleepover at her home; I never did. Years later, I learned that she was married too. However, her husband was not around because he was incarcerated for promoting prostitution and dealing in narcotics. Ms. Mia was a former prostitute, and he was her pimp. Her drugs of choice over time to numb the pain within had become alcohol and sex.
Read Part One
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