I’m not a superstitious person. I purposefully step on cracks and cross the paths of black cats. Not that I like living on the edge or anything but confronting these superstitions seems to calm me in a way. If I step on a crack and my mother’s back doesn’t break, then I can feel a little more confident in the laws of causality. But there’s always been one superstition that I hold close and somewhat pointlessly hold as true, and that’s a belief in my grandmother’s predictive dreams.
Recently, I took the Boo over for a visit and my grandmother recounted her latest recurring dream, beginning with a slow, carefully delivered, “Well, I’ve been dreaming of fish for the past few days…” Eyes locked into mine, she continued, “You know what that means.”
Some people, my family included, believe that if a family’s matriarch dreams of fish, it means that someone in the family is pregnant. Let me just say this, my Granny dreams of fish about once a year. And normally she’s right, but I think that’s just because most of my cousins are bearing children.

It only took my grandmother’s accusatory glare to suspend my belief in her predictive dreams. I know I’m not pregnant. But it also made me wonder why I believed in them in the first place. True, predictive dreams have historically played a big role in African American society but I’ve always believed that they were just our mind’s way of sorting out the things that have happened to us in the past, symbolically or literally. But in the case of my grandmother, I’ve always come back to the belief that her dreams were prophetic in some ways, that perhaps through her instincts and life experiences, she had learned to interpret current and past in such a precise way that she is able to accurately guess at future events, namely pregnancies. Lo and behold, she was correct yet again, one of my cousins is currently expecting.

So while I might “split poles” and put my purse on the floor, I still have no desire to test the authenticity of my grandmother’s dreams.