One, Two, Three

Of the three dreams remembered from last night, the third was the most striking.

The first was of the usual military variety. Back on active duty, I’m to attend a planned changing of the guard ceremony, except I don’t have my ribbons and medals, and my uniform isn’t pressed. They specifically told us three days before that our uniforms needed to be pressed. Why didn’t I go out right away and have that done, I kept asking myself. There were others in the same situation. They asked the same question. Meanwhile, many people were rallying around us, trying to help us.

But I was distracted. There had been a death of someone close to me the Friday before. I don’t often dream of death, and my dream being struggled to cope with it.

The second dream was of the usual visual gibberish involving rising water. Streams, lakes, rivers, everywhere I went, I encountered rising brown water. While the images remind me this week of the scenes from I-5 flooding in Redding, the Oroville Dam situation, and other flood scenes in the news, the dream events didn’t disturb me. I always ‘knew’ I was protected but I worried about others. This is a variation of a regular dream that I’ve had for decades. I used some of the dream memories in ‘Everything in Black & White,’ a novel I wrote a few years ago but haven’t published. The hero encountered flooding and ended up encountering, fighting and saving other survivors. These were the first people he’d seen since the Great Collapse.

The third dream was something new and different for me. I was busy writing. Writing, writing, writing. I was writing on everything I could find. I was possessed to write.

The neighborhood residents were all helping me. They knew I was a writer and knew I was writing, but didn’t know what I was writing. But individuals would come to me with more scraps of paper, pens and notebooks to use so I could write. They fed me so I could write, and kept unobtrusively trying to keep me comfortable as I wrote. I lived in a large apartment with my family. We had several cats. A canal was outside of my apartment. People lived across the way, including a family from India. They were most watchful and helpful to me although I sensed they were poor and struggling.

They had two cats who had been injured. I took the cats in, fixed them up with robot exo-skeletons and nursed them to good health. One cat immediately rushed back to its people. I could see them receive it. The two children were very happy, and the mother knew I’d helped. A whole confused segment followed about their yard and improvements they made along the bank. My wife and I would stroll each day, see the changes, and discuss doing something similar.

But the second cat had disappeared. I was busy writing but found the cat living in my house. He’d grown to a very large size and had mastered walking upright. He rushed out of the house. I worried about where he was going and what would happen to him, so I followed.

All this time, I’m writing. I’m writing as I do everything. I stroll and write. I find a piece of paper and write. I follow the cat and write. I see the cat has made it home yet I feel compelled to go over and tell the people that the cat had been with me and safe. Before I can do that, the husband visits me. Young, he’s barefoot and very intelligent. His aura of calm intelligence awes me.

I’m sitting at a table writing. He gets on the table top to speak with me. He’s wearing gray sweat pants and a white tee shirt. It’s all so clean, it looks new. Lying on his side, he curls up and talks to me, smiling as he does. He challenges me with questions and challenges my answers with questions and observations. I don’t remember those details but as we’re talking, I’m writing. We talk for a while as I write but something happens and interrupts our visit. He leaves for his house across the canal.

After some thought, I decide to follow. The canal water has become much higher. It’s a narrow canal. I think about leaping it. I have new shoes on, though. A female friend present said, “I hope you’re not thinking about jumping that canal,” which is exactly what I’m thinking. She then keeps trying to convince me not to make the jump.

I don’t attempt the jump but instead attempt to cross via rocks. I misjudge the distances and end up in deeper water with my new shoes. But it’s all good.

I enter the people’s home. They’re busy in the back with the returned cat. I can hear that the children are very pleased. I’m an intruder and prepare to leave without fulfilling my mission of telling them what had happened with the cat. But I’m writing. And there is a typewriter. It’s  an old manual portable. I sit down and begin typing on it. I can’t help myself.

The young mother comes out. I apologize for using her typewriter and being there without permission. She dismisses my apology. I begin explaining who I am and why I’m there. She dismisses my explanation, telling me with a gentle smile, she knows who I am, and it’s fine. She offers food. I decline and state that I must leave. But she has made up the guest bed for me with soft downy blankets and sheets. No, I insist on leaving. “Then I must put the bedding back away,” she replies in a flirtatious manner, “after all this work that I’ve done.” “I’ll help,” I answer. She tells me that it’s not necessary but I pick up and fold a blanket.

But then I must write. Sitting down at the typewriter, I start typing.

The end.






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