Her Life

Her life. She had such a life. All centered on her children. Now. Had been different. Career. Charity work. Volunteering at the Guild and the Food Bank, delivering meals to shut-ins, meeting with the garden club and the book club.

All gone with her macular degeneration. Reducing her life to her children. No, her grandchildren. She and her daughter ‘did not get along’. Saw politics differently. Education. Fashion. Manners. Daughter blamed her for – “Whatever,” she usually explained, too limp to delve deeper into words and emotions, too worn to extricate and untangle the relationship to the satisfaction of anyone outside of it.

The grandchildren, though – twins. He, dyslexic. Energetic. Masculine but wary. She, in the forefront. Quick-minded, always watching, pausing to see. Cowboy boots – red – and sparkling tutus. She, ordering him on what to do, when to do it. How. Correcting him. He, obeying, sometimes with frustration, which the girl child – they were only eight, miniature people, perfect little unblemished slender human replicas – soothed with whispers and touches. She could not see their future. That worried her.

Then him. His life. No life. Writing. Living to write. Brooding, apparently writing in his head. Reading. Walking around, sipping coffee, staring at walls, floors, windows, always there but never there. Her son. She could no longer connect with him at all. He was a house that couldn’t be entered. Curtains on the windows. No doors in nor out.

Phone rang with an old-fashioned tinny sound reminding her of the happy times at her grandmother’s home. Her daughter was calling. She didn’t want to answer. Probably about money. Usually was, when she called. She put a smile into her voice. Shook off her weariness. Must not upset the princess lest she cut off access to the grandchildren. But she would not do that, would she?

Not a chance to be taken. “Hello, honey,” she said, fake happiness in her voice, pressing forward with her life.

A Dream of Needs and Waiting

I dreamed I was with a gaggle of people, all clothed, all my age. Mixed races were represented. Males, females, and different sexual orientations were in evidence. We were outside, awaiting movement to somewhere. We were all in our twenties.

A doctor examined me and pronounced me healthy. That cheered me. I felt ready for my trip. It seemed like I’d been planning it for a long time. At last the day was here. I was in good spirits.

Little organization was evidenced. We were just a group waiting, though. How much organization is needed? You ate when desired, or took a bathroom break, if needed. Though we were outside, everything was available.

Then, during a pee break, I discovered blood in my urine. Upset, I went to the doctor and reported it. He immediately examined me and pronounced me healthy. Reassured, I returned to the queuing area and visited with others, chatting about where we were going. None of us were sure about the destiny or what we would find, but we were all sure that it was going to be better than where we’d been.

I took another pee break. More blood in my urine. Upset, I reported in for medical care. The doctor wasn’t in, I was told, but would be there soon. Go back and wait. I’ll be called when the doctor arrived.

I returned to the waiting area. Preoccupied with my medical problem and morose, I sat away from the rest. Time wore on. We became restless, wondering, what’s the hold up? Weren’t we supposed to be gone by now? As we waited, I heard another woman, Michelle, go up and ask for medical treatment for blood in her urine. I didn’t say anything to her but I was interested in her details. They told her that a doctor would be with her soon. She went back and spoke with her friends, all women. I edged closer but couldn’t hear their conversation.

Doctors came in. One was the American actor, Steven Weber. I thought, at last, treatment. But now, general info was made. There was a delay, etc. Be patient. We’ll be with you shortly.

Why couldn’t they just treat us now, I wondered. Tired of waiting, most people drifted away. I stayed where I was. They came in, calling for Michelle. I volunteered that she’d gone elsewhere. They didn’t seem to hear me so I repeated myself. They still didn’t seem to hear or notice me. Admin people talked among themselves. They needed to find Michelle because she had a medical problem. It might get worse. I have the same problem, I said. They told me to wait, a doctor will be with me soon.

The doctors had left while this was happening. Only I remained of the original group. I didn’t know where they’d gone. I was now in a building’s shade. People came down. One was a young boy. He had two fluffy ginger and white cats. One was a kitten. He kept telling everyone that his cat needed medical care. Others tried telling him to relax and calm down, care was coming, but he was adamant, he needed care for his cat right now.

I learned his name was Michael, which was my name. Another child with two cats, calicos, adult and kitten, came into the scene. This child was younger, perhaps six. He walked around telling everyone that his cats were going to pay his bills. The cat wanted to. He did it online. I thought the kid was a little disconnected from reality.

A woman in a black sweater and skirt came by. She was white, with short black hair. I realized as I watched her that it was Heather Graham, the actress. She poured a small cup of water with ice and lime in it and walked around. As she came by me, I thought she was going to throw it on me. I told her not to do that. She answered, “No, you look thirsty. I thought you needed a drink of water.”

The dream ended.

A Blue and Orange Dress Dream

To begin, it’s the late 1960s on a hot, dry day. I’m younger than now but not appropriate for that era vis-à-vis my life. After watching some Formula 1 practice action, a dust-up between two cars at one corner stops practice. Strapped into my car, I’d been waiting to go out. Leaving my car, I returned to the garage area to get out of the sun and get a drink.

The two drivers involved with the accident, Sir Stirling Moss and Sir Graham Hill, come in. They’re trying to figure out what happened, so they’re going to talk it over. I suggest some coffee. Coffee was served to them in small glass cups. They finished it quickly. I told them that maybe we should sit down. They agreed to that and move to a table to one side. I asked and they agreed, they could use more coffee. I brought the pot over to serve them. Both glasses were sitting on a shelf above the table. I didn’t know which cup belonged to which driver. They tell me that it doesn’t matter. I poured the coffee into the cups. The coffee is light with milk as it came out of the pot.

Next, Tina Fey is walking around inside hallways which were in my body. As far as I know, I’m the only other present, but she’s acting like her 30 Rock character. My first reaction is, wow, Tina Fey is here. Second: she’s in my body. Third: there are hallways in my body. Fourth: Tina Fey is in my body making jokes about my organs. Consumed by those four thoughts, I understood nothing that she actually said.

A dreamshift takes place. I’m outside of a motel/lodge, in the parking lot, by the raised cement sidewalk. The motel is modeled after modernized log cabins. A candy stand dominates the sidewalk. Tiered rows of candy offerings face me. I’m amazed by the selection. Every candy I think of — Jujubes, Good n’ Plentys, Mars and Mounds bars, Dots, Old Henrys, York Peppermint Patties, are all there in neat rows. But they’re expanding, adding another section, to add more candy.

I’m amazed that so much candy is for sale and amazed that they’re preparing to offer yet more. There is nothing but candy. Shouting children begin running up to the stand. SMH, I enter the lodge.

Adult motel workers and customers are inside. I know several because I’ve been staying there on a writing retreat for a few days. Now, though, I’m supposed to go meet my wife at another hotel. I’m to take a pale blue dress with pale orange trim to my wife. It’s way too big for her, probably five times her width, but a perfect length if she’s six feet tall (but she’s just five four), but she requested it. So I’m carrying this dress around for her.

Discarded candy and candy packages litter the lodge’s deep brown carpeting. I’m incredulous. Laughing and screaming children — no doubt charged by sugar, I think — are running about. I change (don’t know where that was done) into new light gray shorts. They have a bright blue string. I speak with my wife on the telephone and tell her that I’m on my way. Then, first, where’s the dress? It was on a hanger. I set it down and now I don’t see it.

Then I need to urinate. I find a bathroom. Weirdly, it’s at a juncture where one side is a hallway to rooms and the other faces the foyer/waiting area. The two walls are sliding accordion doors which need pulled to and locked. I attempt to do this but each keep sliding open, though I slam them. I then discover there’s a screw lock at the top of the accordion doors; I firmly screw that in place and start to do my business. I see that the screw is turning, becoming undone. Irritated, I screw it tight again. Sure that it’s secure, I step up to the urinal to pee and discover my shorts are in the urinal. They’re getting wet. Exasperation growing, I pull my shorts back. One accordion door has slid open. My shorts are pulled half down, so I’m effectively mooning people. A manager and customer come by to tell me. I answer back with explanations about the doors and how unimpressed I am by these doors. They’re chuckling. The male customer keeps joking, “Your bulls are showing,” by which I realize he means my ass. I joke back that I’m running with the bulls. Yeah, lame.

Although my shorts are wet, I’ve managed to pee and I’m ready to go again. Someone has found the blue and orange dress that I’m taking to my wife and call out, “Does anyone claim this?” I do, I answer, then explain that I’m taking it to my wife at her request. It’s way too big for her, I explain — I think it’s bigger than it was before — but she requested it.

That’s where it all ends.

The Four Pies Dream

I dreamed I was to deliver four pies to people living in the woods. A young person was assisting me. I don’t know what flavors the pies were, but part of it was that I heat the pies and cut each into six equal slices, and then deliver them. The entire time that this is going on, “Blinding Lights” by the Weeknd is playing. I don’t know the source of that.

Being a dream where things don’t always make sense, the pies were in a car, a light blue little machine of unknown name. Also in a car was a young white child. The child was a threat, others told me; don’t let him bite you, and don’t let him out of the car.

But I also heat the pies in the car, and could see them through two large side glass windows. I’d already cut them before heating them. Now they were ready.

My young assistant and I slide the windows down preparatory to opening the doors to get the pies. Here comes the kid! Oh, no! I was talking to him in a soothing voice, asking him if he’d like a piece of pie. He rushed forward. “He’s going to bite us,” my young assistant yelled. “Put the windows up,” I shouted. We slid them up.

Round two. “This is ridiculous,” I said, laughing. “Let’s try again.” We reheated the pies. How? I don’t know. It’s something I said in the dream, then waited for seconds, if that, and they were done. We slid down the windows. I talked to the child as I did. The child stayed back. We opened the doors and started taking out the pies. The child rushed us. We returned the pies, closed the doors, and shut the windows before he could reach us.

Others were concerned; that’d been close. He almost reached us. “Third times a charm,” I announced. “Let’s try again.” All progressed as before. We were able to get the pies out. I gave the child in the car a piece of pie. I think that was southern pecan. He sat down and started eating.

Success achieved.

Bonus dream: I was with my youngest sister, L. We were in her car, a blue Mustang convertible. The car was about ten years old. She was driving and I was a passenger. We’d stopped for her to talk with a friend. In the course of that, I got out to stretch my legs and was standing a few feet behind the car. The passenger door was open. My sister announced to the other that she was going to back the car up. I called out to her, warning her that her door was open, that she was going to remove the door.

She ignored me or didn’t hear…whatever, she backed the car up. The open door hit a brick wall and was torn away. Reacting with horrified dismay, she stopped the car. As I told her that I’d been telling her about the open door, we hurried to assess the damage. I expected the door to be gone but instead, the top layer of paint had been peeled off like it was molded part that fit over it, leaving the door intact — and still attached to the car — but a flat black color.

As I tried to understand how that had transpired while sympathizing with my sister, she mentioned that it bugged her because she was going to get a new car, and now her trade-in value would be lower. The whole thing left me subdued, wondering what’d happening, how it happening, and at her muted reaction.

The dream ended.

I could go on with the other dreams — oh, what a night — but those two were the prominent ones.

Dream Confrontations

Last night feature dream was in two parts. Both were about confrontation and communication.

The first had me and my wife visiting some people who may’ve been the wife’s distant relatives. Children and cats were strongly featured. Other than me, my wife was the only adult.

According to the children’s excited chatter, I’d arrived in a Ferrari, which, yes, I acknowledged with a smile. That impressed them. The place, a home where the children lived, was sprawling and one story, aging but in respectable condition, a modern-form-follows function shape. The children, probably eight to nine years old, three to four in number (I never got a good count on them), sandy haired and white, showed us around and helped us settle in. Cats were playing and running around, busy supervising it all. On a command from one child, all the cats hurried to one room, found a space, and settled down. A child closed a glass French door on them. I looked in at the cats on perches, seats, and sofas. There were at least five but there might have been seven. All were long haired.

Being discreet, I opened the door to visit the cats. The door’s round brass handle broke off in my hand. I attempted to stick in back on, but it’d been sheared, so that was impossible. Still, deciding I’d be able to get back out, I closed the door. After circulating and visiting with the cats, who were all well behaved and friendly, I went to leave. The door handle mechanism fell completely out. I decided to bring this to the children’s attention. When they didn’t grasp what I was talking about — that the door was broke because the handle had come off and the rest had fallen out — I asked them where their parents were.

Now, though, it was time to go. I had a speaking engagement and my wife and I were lunching first. With a dream shift, we were in an Asian city. Sitting outside on a leafy plaza, we were enjoying ourselves when I noticed black smoke in the sky. The smoke distracted me as the column grew thicker. I told my wife, “I think that’s our hotel.”

An explosion rocked the area. As everyone reacted with gasps and shouts, I could see that an upper floor of our hotel had exploded and was on fire. I told me wife that we should go back to get our stuff if we could

We joined others watching the hotel entrance. People were queuing to enter, so we got in line. A stocky Asian man in a red vest and white shirt was manning the door, controlling who entered. The line snaked forward until it was our turn. He asked for papers, some evidence that we were staying at the hotel. I had papers in my rear pocket so I reached around to get them out. The movement caused my arm to tremble.

The doorman demanded in a brusque tone to know why my arm was shaking. His tone and question outraged me but I answered that I’d broken the arm and it was still rehabilitating, and certain movement still caused me problems. With my wife trying to calm me, we went back and forth in rising tones about it, with the doorman implying or me inferring there was something sinister about me having a shaky arm. After we were admitted and walking away, I heard him say in snarky terms, “Oh, look at the strong man going away.” I turned to go back to have words with him.

The dream ended.

Night Escape Dream

I needed to get across town, at night. I worried about being caught.

I was on foot. A moonlit night blessed the mild night, a double-edged blade; I could see but could be seen.

The area was known, a small town in southern West Virginia. Going down a hill by a highway, my senses sharp, I darted from corner to corner, building to building, All were commercial buildings. Most were closed.

Then I heard someone coming. Terrified of being caught, I slipped into a building.

A private club. it was open, and packed. Walking in, seeing a full room, I slipped down some stairs…

And into another full, crowded room.

Well-lit, everyone looked at me. All were white men and women. Nodding hello, I mumbled something about being sent down here to wait. Nodding understanding, everyone resumed what they were doing. Turning, I spied a darker, quiet room and popped into it. Empty. Safe.

I stayed, resting there for a while, then exited into the night again. As I crossed a cinder parking lot, I heard someone calling me.

Running, she caught up with me. Giddy and out of breath, she said she’d go home with me. I explained that I wasn’t going home and that she wasn’t safe with me, but she insisted.

I changed plans. I’d get her home, then continue on my mission.

We pressed on.

She complained. She was tired and hungry. She wanted to rest.

Knowing of a home that belonged to an acquaintance, I detoured and broke into the house. Finding a soft surface with a blanket, we went to sleep.

Children awoke us. They weren’t scared but pleased with our presence. A black man, my acquaintance, came down. After initial surprise, he was welcoming, friendly, and reassuring. Then, just as we relaxed, he issued a warning: “Look out.” A name I didn’t catch was coming.

We pulled the blankets over our heads. Noises rose. What the hell?

A large dark dog shoved his head under the blanket. As we pulled it back, thinking, caught, my acquaintance explained that the dog was the slobber monster, that he had to smell and slobber over everything.

The dream’s tenor changed. We relaxed. As my wife watched TV with the children. I chatted with my friend, and he fried bacon and eggs for us for breakfast. I planned to get my wife home, and go on.

Monday’s Theme Music

Yesterday while walking, I encountered a small family. The little girls each held either Mommy or Daddy’s hand. Mommy and Daddy were in the middle, talking, and the girls would lean forward around their parents’ legs, and speak and laugh.

Although it amused me, the image brought Pearl Jam’s “Black” (1991) out of the memory vaults and into the active stream as I passed the family.

I take a walk outside
I’m surrounded by
Some kids at play
I can feel their laughter
So why do I sear
Oh, and twisted thoughts that spin
Round my head
I’m spinning
Oh, I’m spinning
How quick the sun can, drop away

h/t to songmeanings.com

Why those words, then? Don’t know.

I considered “Black” a beautiful and powerful song from the first time hearing. The lyrics remain an enigma as the song begins with a softness and simplicity that steadily builds, growing louder, angrier, and tenser. Eddie Vedder uses his unique delivery and vocal range to convey complexity and turmoil to give us more to ponder. It seems like he’s wondering and is as bewildered as we are.

Raining Color Dream

After thinking about dreams and posting today’s theme music (“Highway Star”, Deep Purple, 1972), I was fixing brekkie when a dream segment blasted into memory.

I was a child, maybe nine or ten, but could’ve younger, outside with many other children. Blue sky, sunshine, laughing, and game-playing established the background. We were having a great time.

I was heading toward a picnic table by tall pine trees when I heard others gasping. That caused me to look up. When I did, I discovered it was raining. No clouds were visible, but rain was falling.

A bold, shimmering rainbow formed. It seemed like it was right over our heads, so close and solid that we were trying to jump up and touch it. Then the rain became drops of falling color. The colors splashed over us, making us giddy with laughter. We discovered we could cup our hands and catch handfuls of color and pour them over ourselves and one another. Blues, purples, reds, yellows, oranges, and greens were pooling on the ground and streaming together into rainbows that flowed across the land.

Splashing and stomping in these flowing rainbows, we discovered that we could pick up the colored water and shape it like very wet and malleable clay.

The dream ended.

My heart rushes as I remember it.

Destiny

Brooding with leftover anger and resentment, he stared at the page, unable to read.

The book, by Lee Child (a Christmas present), was a thriller (which he usually enjoyed), but an argument was displacing his attention. It’d been a stupid argument, not worth even recounting, but it was another in a string of stupid, exhausting arguments. One a day? Hell, on a good day, it’d be one a day. Most days, there was one in the morning before they left for work and another in the evening. They were part of the routines.

He was tired of that routine. He decided that if he could, he would change his life so that he and his wife had never reconciled after they’d separated. That had happened less than nine months in (nine years ago). His life would be so much more pleasant, wouldn’t it? Her, and her attitude. It infuriated him.

Maybe, instead, it would be better they hadn’t had children. Much had changed when she’d become pregnant. The pressure to succeed, save money, and everything else, had ratcheted up, becoming relentless. Besides, they hadn’t been getting along well before that point.

He loved his children, though, although they worried and wearied him. A friend said that having children was all about the three Ws: worrying, wearying, and weaning. That sounded right.

Maybe, instead of not reconciling, he would not marry his wife. Then there would be no children. He tried imagining that life. He’d be like Grover, alone on holidays (and declaring that he liked it most times, but also decrying it on other days), but doing whatever he wanted, whenever. But he’d asked her to marry him because he loved her. Probably be better then, to have never met her. But if he’d never met her, would he have ever met anyone and fallen in love? (What an expression.) Yes, he had other girlfriends. He’d been popular.

Setting his book aside to watch football on television for a moment, he waited for some spirits to show up, someone to tell him how different his life would be if he’d never met his wife and married. That sort of tale had been written to death. Hadn’t there been movies with that theme? He waited for the television screen to change to a movie where he was the star and the plot was that he’d never met his wife and married. But that would’ve required many other changes, since he’d met her in high school as freshmen.

He had to consider all that would’ve all changed to keep them from meeting. One of them would not have been in that school (or maybe just not that year) (but both were good students), or their activities, likes and interests would’ve needed to change. He tried peering into the past to see what needed to shift to stop their meeting from happening. Maybe they met but didn’t fall in love. That’d seemed instant for both of them, like destiny.

Wiping her hands with a dish rag, she stepped into the room. “Kitchen’s clean.”

“Good.” He heard the dishwasher running.

“Are you hungry? Can I make you a sandwich?”

“Okay, sure, thanks.”

She smiled. “Want a beer?”

“Okay.”

“Anything else?”

“No, thanks, that’d be good.”

She glanced at the screen. “Who’s winning?”

“Titans, third quarter.”

“That’s not who you wan to win is it?”

“No.”

“Well, there’s still time for it to change.” Smiling again, she turned and left the room.

One child hit the other. A scream erupted. He leaped up, refereeing, consoling, explaining, parenting. A few minutes later, detente achieved, he sat down with a slow exhale and looked at the television. The third quarter was almost over but the score hadn’t changed. He picked up his book. He couldn’t remember where he’d stopped reading, what was happening, or what he’d been thinking about.

Turning the page back, he began reading again.

 

 

The Chicken Bone Dream

The chicken bone dream had much more in it.

To begin, naked but dressing, I was concerned with a chicken bone traveling through my body.

My wife was with me. She was preparing to leave for work or somewhere. We lived in this huge, modern white house. Most of the dream took place in garage. The garage was spotless, with a glistening white floor. Multiple high-end cars were parked in it. Most were white but one car was a black BMW five series, a large car. A child was sitting in the car’s trunk, eating a bowl of cereal. The child was about nine and dressed in a blue school uniform.

He wasn’t my child. I told my wife, “You can’t let him stay there. That’s a car trunk.”

She replied, “That’s fine, he does it all the time. They both do.”

When she said that, I saw that there was a blonde boy, the same age, in a green school uniform, eating cereal in the back end of a white car.

I had to leave so I dismissed it. The chicken bone in me was distracting me. First, I was thinking, “There’s something in me. It’s going down through me. What is it?”

Feeling along my body with my finger tips, I focused on my abdomen. I realized that I thought I felt a chicken bone.

As I continued preparing to dress and leave because time was growing short, I struggled to understand how a chicken bone came to be in my and how it was going to come out. I decided that I must’ve been eating a chicken leg, and I’d swallowed the bone. Now it was working through my system.

Believing that, I felt along my body with my fingers. Yes, I could discern what seemed to be the joint end of the bone. It was working down through my body. As it worked down, I kept feeling it. More of the bone was clearly discernible. Soon, it was clearly a chicken leg bone. I wasn’t panicked but I was worried about how this was going to come out of me. For some reason, I thought that it was going to exit via my penis. My skin had become very elastic at that point, so the thought of a chicken bone passing through my pecker was amusing.

Others came, dressed in tuxedos with black ties, or sparkling white evening gowns, asking, “Are you ready yet? Aren’t you dressed? We’re going to be late.”

I told them about the chicken bone coming out. They waved that off. “Don’t worry about that. Come on.”

I grabbed my tux and was putting it on as I went up the stairs in my white house to leave. The dream ended by fading out to Sid Vicious singing his punk version of “My Way”. As I awoke, choruses from “Best Day of My Life” by America Authors popped in.

I awoke feeling great.

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