A baby in the waiting room. It is the daughter of my DIL, and I notice it has a 5 o’clock shadow, a scant beard. I feel sorry for the little girl for all the teasing she’ll endure for having a beard. I leave the waiting room to help my BIL on an errand. Before pushing the door open, I walk by a baby on the floor. Outside on the sidewalk, it’s cold and icy, treacherous to walk. My steps are hesitant and then fail altogether. My brain can’t make my legs move forward. I’m stuck inside my body. In the icy parking lot, my BIL encourages me to come forward. He wants me to succeed, “You can do it,” but I can’t move. In a flash of lucidity, I remind myself that this is a dream and that this Parkinson’s-like paralysis doesn’t effect me in my waking life. Then, my BIL takes my hand, and he is pulling me forward. My legs follow suit, taking stiff steps toward the car, a wooden-sided station wagon.
My husband and I are sitting down to a meal at a kitchen table. There’s a floor-to-ceiling window that allows in the light, but it’s only about 12 inches wide. As I walk to the table, I notice our neighbors are on their patio, which is paved in green, artificial turf. There are three of them sitting in lawn chairs, one a tall, thin man with an angular face. I mention to my husband that the weather is cloudy enough for the neighbors to be out on their uncovered deck. As we eat, I have a feeling that they might be able to see us through the narrow window.
My husband stands now in a doorway of the kitchen. I’m still seated and am looking at him. Suddenly, I see him standing there in a different kitchen, different clothes, a different time. I’m having a vision overlapping the present. In the background of my vision, I hear piano music playing, and I know it is Beethoven. Just as suddenly, the vision ends, and it is my husband standing there in the present again. The tall, thin man comes into the kitchen, perhaps through the slender window. In a neighborly manner, he mentions that he thought he heard Beethoven playing. I’m astonished. I’m sure he was privy to my vision, maybe shared it. I’m eager to describe my vision to him or to both him and my husband, but my husband acts as if he doesn’t want me to tell, which confuses me. Nevertheless, I feel compelled to tell them my dream. Still, neither of them are impressed that I had a vision or that the man knew what I had seen and heard, that he had either shared it or it had “leaked” into his consciousness. It doesn’t seem remarkable to them.
At this point, I must have lost consciousness because I wake up on the floor without any memory of how I arrived there. Around me, people are tiling the floor in brown, leather tiles. The surface is pitted, undulated, irregular, but they are fitting the square tiles the best they can. I feel woozy, torpid. It’s difficult to walk, both because of the floor and because I feel weak. I almost step in a black hole, a square in the floor about 12″ each way, but I pull my leg up and out just in time.
Then I am in a covered pavilion with tables and benches and many loitering people. I belong to a man there, maybe the thin man from before, but he’s darker, scruffier. I keep asking for my husband, wanting to know where he is. I’m very persistent in this. I just want him back.
From the pavilion, I go into a small room where there is a mirror on the wall. I see myself in wretched condition. I’m wearing a black blouse that is shredded. My hair is black, stringy and clipped to random lengths. My eyes are dark, face pale and dirty. I tell the dark, rough man that I look like crap, that he looks like crap. I tell him there’s no reason we have to live like this even if we are vampires. He, whom I now know as the vampire leader, agrees, and we are going to leave the pavilion to go onto the streets, perhaps to buy nice clothes. There are three of us to go, the man, myself and another girl. The man goes first without incident into the sunny, busy street and disappears in the crowd. The girl steps out before me and is instantly transformed. Her hair is blonde and done up in curls around her face. She’s now wearing a long, yellow dress with ruffles and bows. Very pretty and nice. Because she has now what we wanted, she stays, but when she steps back under the roof of the pavilion, the pretty look all disappears. I never go. I remain with the raggedy and rough people in the pavilion, the vampire leader’s following.
I am still looking for my husband, but there’s no sign of him at all. Nothing, except that now I see a tin box of the same kind in which he used to store cigars. The box might be his, the only indication I can find that he ever existed, but it has a paper label taped to it on which is written a woman’s name, Ette. Still, it’s my only hint of my husband, so I tear off the name and pry off the lid of the box. Inside, there are only small things that belong to Ette, nothing to show me where to find my husband.
I become concerned about the top button on the back of my blouse. It’s undone, and I want one of the scruffy henchmen to button it for me, but he’s afraid to touch the vampire leader’s property. Persistently bothered by the button, I lift my hair from my neck and bend my head forward, exposing the problem, waiting for him to solve it for me. I think he buttons it and we are sitting side-by-side among a crowd on a platform, our legs dangling. I feel limp, weak. This junior vampire succumbs to the lure of my bare shoulder. He presses his fangs as if to puncture the skin, and I remain passive, unable to summon any will to stop him or to care. Others are watching, holding their breath to see if the vampire will do it. He bites gently, but doesn’t draw blood. He’s still afraid because I don’t belong to him. His gentle touch feels good, soothing. I lean back against him, my cheek against his shoulder, surrendering to the overwhelming lassitude I feel. His arm comes around me a moment, holding me, but then he is off with his pals. Looking back at me, he gestures crudely and sexually as if I’ll now agree to any of that. Still gripped with lasting lethargy, I merely shrug.