If you know our blog much at all you probably know Dwayne and I work this together. I do the writing/posting, but we pretty much talk every day to process things so that whatever I end up writing has Dwayne in it as well. And though neither of us has shared much about the circumstances of his personal life, this post will be an exception. Dwayne has two beautiful children who suffer with autism. The oldest is a daughter, Ajna. She’s eight years old, but her condition prevents her from forming complete sentences, enjoying conversations, and her motor skills remain underdeveloped.
That said, let me switch to something very unrelated for a moment. I have a rich dream life. I have a highly active imagination, have traveled the world, living half my life overseas, and my dreams often involve dramatic encounters with highly symbolic narratives that involve family and close friends. I don’t always remember all the specifics of my dreams, but when I do recall enough that impresses or moves me, I take time to access the meaning and relevance. I take dreams seriously.
Back to Dwayne. So last night my dream included him and his daughter Ajna. As close as Dwayne is to me, he’s never made an appearance in my dreams, and it’s very strange that Ajna would show up. I’ve never spent time even trying to engage her on any level. So what occurred in this dream seemed very unusual to me and I thought I’d share it here.
My wife Anita and I were having dinner at somebody’s home. Dwayne was there, as was Ajna. There were a few other people I know who were there as well. Small apartment, loving atmosphere, great conversation. Dwayne was sitting opposite me at the dinner table. Ajna sat at my side of the table on my left. After dinner we were all still at the table enjoying dessert when Ajna leaned over on me, placed her arms around my neck and shoulder, and began singing very softly in my ear. It was barely above a whisper and everybody went quiet to listen. It was a new song. She was making it up as she sang it. Unrehearsed. But at different points I knew it as well and sang right along with her on just a line or two.
Others were slightly humming as well, totally into the moment. It was like we were being sung, like God was live-streaming through us. The beat and feel of it was just like those slow R&B love songs I know Dwayne likes. Everybody’s speech and movements were at normal speed up until Ajna began to sing, at which time everything went to slow motion, though the words and rhythm of the song didn’t slow at all. It was like a music video where the audio remains normal speed but the video is slowed way down though the audio stays synced with the lips of the person singing.
Ajna was perfect – physically and mentally. She had perfect pitch, and there was no autism present whatsoever. Perfect. Beautiful, piercing eyes like pieces of the darkest coal floating in seas of the whitest milk. Her eyes didn’t wander left and right as they’re prone to do now because of her autism. They were focused intently on me and those at the table. Actually, it seemed as though she was the most mature, developed body (as an eight year old of course) in the room, as if Ajna was the Platonic form for eight year old girls while the rest of us were imperfect semblances of our perfected forms. The only other thing I remember in the dream is everybody having a great time afterwards (back at normal speed) and Ajna playing games. Perfect poise, no need for diapers due to her autism, not having to be attended to because of motor imbalances. She was talking perfectly about what was going on in the room. Well, not talking exactly, because she didn’t talk when she spoke. If she said anything at all, she sang it. She was either laughing or singing, never just talking.
I remember bits and pieces of what she sang into my ear. It’s nothing I’ve heard before, but it was all in rhyme. I’m not a poet, though I like to try my hand at rhymes now and then. Typically I have to work hard through several edits to get things to rhyme. But Ajna’s song was finished. Who composed it? I have no idea. I don’t know how this stuff works. I remember the chorus best, and I even remember the tune/melody of the chorus. Been singing it all morning. I remember the verse lyrics less. They were a bit scattered and disjointed when I tried to recall them after waking up, but the main themes were there. As soon as I showered and could sit down to type out what I remembered, my fingers straight-up typed out what you see below without struggling to compose or edit as is typically the case with me and poetry. It was like somebody was live-streaming through me.
So here you have Ajna’s Song. Enjoy. I hope it speaks to whomever needs it.
A face is a beautiful thing,
Makes my heart wanna sing;
I don’t despise a pair of eyes,
a nose and mouth that tell no lies.
Ears tuned to hear the harmonies
Of life blowing through the trees;
Faces tell the truth of One,
Reflect the beauties of the Son.
Somebody’s with you, somebody’s holding
– you are the apple of his eye –
Somebody sees you, somebody knows, his
– love for you is not a lie.
Somebody’s walking beside you
Somebody’s talking inside you.