Loss of Will

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.



Barefoot in London

I’m in London.  It’s cloudy and damp, night approaching.  The busy city is strangely empty, only a few pedestrians, only a few cars on the road.  I’m walking on a sidewalk with a rail alongside a wide, gray river.  I’m wearing a white, hooded, woolen-like coat that reaches to the ground, and I have the coat closed and the hood up over my head.  I am barefoot, and as I walk, I come to an intersection of two streets, the one I’m on that follows the river and a street with a bridge over that same wide, gray waterway.  The railing curves to follow the bridge over the river, but I hesitate.  I’m not sure I want to go that way over the bridge.  Instead, I walk a loop in the strangely empty intersection.  I distinctly feel the concrete with the soles of my feet.  It’s hard, rough, cool and damp.  The chill feels ancient like it was there before the streets were concrete, before they were brick, as does the mist.  The mist could have been there before there was ever a road, when it was only reeds and mud along the shore.  As I walk, there is grit that presses into my feet and hurts.  I complete the loop and head back the misty direction from which I came.

Making Taffy

I assemble the ingredients to make taffy that requires two stages or layers.  I cook first, sugary layer of the taffy in a cast iron skillet, caramelizing the sugar.  I am stirring with a red, heat-resistant Teflon spatula, stirring, stirring…  (a lot of dream detail of the colors and textures, the process of keeping the sugary substance swirling in the pan, the bubbling).  There’s a frightening moment when I feel I might have overcooked the sugar, turning it too brown, burned, but I stir again very quickly, saving it.  It returns to a mellow, honey color.

Then it comes time to pour the taffy out to let it cool enough to pull it.  (The prolonged and detailed images continue.)  I don’t have the specific paper called for in my recipe so I make a substitution, waxed paper sprayed with olive oil.  I feel it is sufficient.  I’m satisfied.  I spread the taffy and wait.  I step away for a moment.  Next, I see the taffy on its waxed paper inside a metal baking pan, roughly 13 x 9″.  (All these tools, the iron skillet, red spatula, waxed paper, olive oil, and baking pan, are things I use in waking life, but I’ve never made taffy.)

The taffy is still not ready, so I leave it, and when I return again, I find that my husband has ruined it.  He has covered the layer of cooling taffy in thick layers of his super nacho recipe, refried beans, sour cream, grated cheese, etc.  I’m beyond frustrated.  I’m crying, covering my face with my hands, retreating into a corner, my face against the wall.  So much frustration.

I take the pan of taffy/nacho upstairs to another kitchen.  This is my mom’s house, her kitchen, but it’s been cleared of everything movable.  It’s bare.  There are only floors and counters, no furniture, appliances, dishes, nothing.  The wallpaper is a large, flower print, maybe sunflowers, something similar to what I knew as a child.  The linoleum is avocado green, another childhood memory.  I want to save the taffy here at the sink, try to save it, perhaps, by washing off the layers on top the taffy, something, anything, but it doesn’t happen.  In the mudroom next to the kitchen, my mom is working with her back to me, maybe doing the laundry.  I think she may want me to offer her some of the taffy.

Kissing in the Closet

I’m pregnant and about to give birth with the help of a midwife in a nondescript room.  There’s a scruffy mat on the floor where it is to happen.  Something is not right.  Some things are ready to come; others are not.  My sister is there.  Because there are complications, it’s decided I have to go to the hospital instead of having a natural birth.  The midwife was never my decision, was only something thrust on me by others, so I am relieved when the venue changes.

We can’t go until I put my shoes and socks back on.  I spend an inordinate amount of time looking for my socks.  I think I find one and pull it on.  It feels comfy and secure, but I still need the other sock.

Time must fast forward because there’s a baby screaming somewhere in another room of a house where I live.  We’ve just moved in, I think, and the house needs repairs.  There’s electrical work to be done inside a closet.  A switch needs to be installed.  D., the handyman, comes to do the work.  We find an outlet in there, and I ask him to do outlets in the rest of the house.  While we’re in the closet, all the lights go out in the house.  In there and alone, we kiss without anyone else knowing.  It’s nice.  The baby is still crying somewhere, and there are people in the cellar of the home, but I don’t want to bother about any of that.  I just want to stay in the dark in the closet and kiss D.

The Plague at School

I’m in an elementary school taking a tour behind a woman, who is my tour guide.  I might be a teacher either interviewing for a job or going through an orientation.  We start with the classrooms of the youngest children, then peek in the open door of a 6th grade classroom.  The chalkboard is filled with diagrams and equations about space and mathematics.  As we walk away from there, I’m carrying a glass jar full of insects that are trying to escape from under the lid.  I try to jostle them down into the glass so I can secure the lid without smashing them.  Just before entering a larger room (cafeteria?), we pass two children, a boy and girl about ten years old, playing Candyland, an educational version in which play is learning.   Inside the larger room, there’s a teen boy at a podium.  He has a position, maybe a hall monitor.  He soon goes missing and is away too long, so we send a man into the men’s room to look for the teen.  I follow behind to “support”(?) him.

We find the boy sick in the men’s room.  Then things become confusing.  My perspectives shift rapidly.  I’m with the teen who is sick, but he’s up and running from the men’s room, pulling me along as if I’m the one in danger.  I’m so grateful for his strength and energy.  I feel he’s the only thing that keeps me going forward.  I want to contribute in some way.  Behind us, now, there’s a man with a wooden plate with a handle like a pizza paddle.  There’s a black, sticky substance on the paddle, and the man is chasing me, trying to touch me with the black goo, the plague I call it.  It’s what the boy had, but now he’s strong, and I’m the one in danger.  As we flee, whenever I can, I give a push to the boy to help him.

We run past the woman who was showing me the school earlier.  She’s standing with a group of people outside the school in a concrete, plaza area.  I am carrying the paddle with the plague on it, and I think that if I can throw it to the woman, we can keep the plague from the bad man chasing us.   I toss it in her direction as we run, and it skids somewhere close to her feet.

The group of people and the guide now constitute a council so they can discuss the plague, which I now understand was the result of scientific experimentation.  Some of the council are not quite humans or are mutants or aliens.  Their faces are “off.”  They conclude that the plague was approved by some organization or regulating agency, governing bodies, committees, bureaus, so on.  One of the “mutants” disagrees, says it’s not okay to alter the DNA.  Nevertheless, s/he (who has a slightly Asian theme to her mutancy) says the DNA can be improved upon by other physical means, and she has me building muscle/exercising on a machine.

Note:  This dream was relatively coherent, and my feelings of gratitude and the flow of energy while running with the boy were dramatic.

Getting Home from Holiday

I’m at (another) family, holiday gathering.  I’m at a counter chopping lettuce for a salad with a knife.  Someone distracts me from the task.  When I turn away, another person takes the salad that I’ve tossed in a bowl.  I feel loss and frustration.  I feel I keep chopping lettuce for no reason, that I’ll never make the salad and get to eat it.

We all want to play canasta (that’s traditional in my family), especially my cousin Michael, but I’ve forgotten to bring my card decks.  I hope so much that someone else has cards.  I don’t want to disappoint Michael.  I want to engage him in the game…the way it used to be.

I’m rolling out dough, maybe for a flatbread or a pizza dough.  I keep rolling it into some food coloring that has spilled on the counter.  At first, it’s blue, then I roll it into some red, staining it again.  Directly after this, I’m leaving the house, passing by furniture and other objects in the yard as for a sale.  My aunt wants me to take a cheap brass & glass end table, a pair of them of two different sizes.  She rolls them out to the car that I’m taking with my mom and sister.  I don’t want the tables, but other things that I do want, those I can’t get my hands on.  My aunt’s accent is odd and so is her gait.  The way she rolls the tables down the few steps from the yard to the street strikes me as unnatural.

My mom has driven us to the airport.  I know we’ve driven to my aunt’s house, but now we’re taking a plane home.  My sister and mom are seated in the waiting area for the gate.  My mom is wearing a santa hat, and she has a dark, chinstrap beard.  I’m walking in the terminal to join them, mud on my tights.  I hate the mud and want it off.  As I walk, I feel drunk or senseless.  I go to the airport bathroom to get paper towels to wipe off the mud, but there aren’t any towels, only plastic bags in a dispenser.  I realize, too, that I don’t have my passport.  There’s a black man in the bathroom, maybe an airline official, so I ask him if I can fly domestic without my passport, and he says I can’t.  I’m not sure that’s true, but I have no choice but to believe him.  There’s a corridor with many doors in the bathroom.  I look down the length of the hallway, and I’m uncertain which way to go.

Next, I am walking in the airport terminal again.  I’m wearing a long, white, leather coat.  (I think it’s called a duster.)  It is covered in bright, colorful splotches like someone threw paint at it.  I’m confused how the colors got on the white coat.  I keep asking how it happened.  I feel like I lost a piece of time, like I lost a memory.  Again I feel drunk or senseless.  I’m weaving as I walk.  I lose one shoe, a low-heeled, blue, patent-leather pump.  I can’t find my shoe.  When I return to my mom and sister, I’m missing the shoe terribly and still feeling senseless.  I tell them I can’t fly home with them because I forgot my passport.  Instead, I have to rent a car and drive home.  My mom says she’ll drive me to a rental car place.

Loss and Scorn

In the behind the scenes area of a restaurant, I find out they’ve fired a waitress.  I think what a shame it is because she was the best.  I can’t express/communicate the extent of her skill in the job, although I try.  No one pays any attention.

I’m in a laboratory with a woman of middle-age.  She’s a chemistry professor whom everyone thinks is flaky, crazy, but she’s my mentor.  She has me out in the forest following her around, trailing something she has in her hand, a potion in a vial?  I trust and believe in her.

Some people are watching me, notably my cousin I’ve previously named Michael.  I’m not dressed appropriately, maybe in a bikini, and my behavior in the forest looks insane.  Michael wants to believe in me, but he can’t.  It’s too crazy, so he scorns me with the others.  I try to explain, but I don’t have any explanations that would satisfy this group of people.  Anything I say would sound nutty, and it does.

At some point later, my younger sister dies.  I’m in a house now going through her clothes.  I show some other people how her purple, bolero jacket fits me.  The clothes fit in different ways than they fit my sister, but still they fit.  I’m torn by grief, weighed down, brought to my knees, helpless.  The horrible grief wakes me.


Aug 23 Dream Transcript: Kitchen Wizardry

Kitchen Wizardry

The following is a transcription of my audio recording.  I remember taping this dream, but I don’t remember saying any of these words.   As I listened, it was all as new to me as it is to you now.  A few memories of the dream did return as I listened and typed and re-listened and corrected, but not enough to cobble together a dream narrative, just impressions.

Cooking on a grill while they play outside, D.’s wife offering to help, wanting to play, broken (computer) keyboard, construction boxes…um…cardboard boxes, packing it in tape to mail, a hand-held drill, touching the electric cord, shorting out the battery, denying it.  Pizzas with no topping, baby in a high chair getting no pizza, subway sandwiches in glass jars, make star cookies out of the pizza, kitchen wizardry, a dress that doesn’t fit, hobbling half-sided (?, I don’t know what that means) to a room with a glass wall front, walk in the door, a bathroom with a glass wall, pulling down the curtains so I can be alone; no one can see me.



8/21/2014:  Pears, chilies, meatballs, steaks and sauce on a stove grill, a broken flute…an aging man in a wheelchair in a hospital…an Asian man, who is a master of martial arts, a long, bonding embrace with him.

Principles (8/22/2014):  My son (adult) is driving, and I’m the passenger.  We’re on a one-way city road that curves into a parking lot.  There’s a stop light before the curve that my son ignores, turning smoothly into the lot instead.  He has strong opinions about how the roads and traffic laws should work, and he follows his own principles to the best of his ability.  The parking lot is for a movie theater.  I’m explaining my method of watching movies, that is, I always wait until late in a movie’s showing, and I go to the theater on Wednesdays when there aren’t any crowds.  My son is trying to pay for gas at a pump with his credit card, but it’s not working.

Once, I was a Lir

There’s a little girl about one year old who wants to hug the baby monkey in the room.  I’m a little nervous because the young monkey, although small, about the same size as the baby girl, has a strong, full set of teeth and powerful limbs.  The little girl loves the monkey, though, and she reaches for it.  The monkey responds similarly, and hugs the little girl as though he loves her just as much, except…it’s not a monkey.  It’s a chimpanzee with strong teeth that it bares as they embrace.  Then the little girl toddles alongside a couch, using it for support in her path to hug another “monkey” she loves.  It’s still an image of a chimpanzee, although I continue to think of it as a monkey.

I’m in the vicinity of the same room where I’ve seen the girl who loves monkeys and the monkeys who love the little girl.  I have a sense of living immense intervals of time.  As I feel this, a list appears in my mind, perhaps in my hand.  The phases of my life are listed, some short, some long, some precisely titled, some seeming more intermediate in nature, metamorphic.  Once, I was a Lir, and there were other names or titles of existences.  I feel I must show this to my older son (an adult).  I take the list to him where he’s working at a machine.  It’s a kind of lathe, and he is running the machine, lathing metal or wood.  I want him to see this list, all these long, convoluted phases and stages and ages of my life, but he doesn’t care about all that.  His response is to tell me that I need a job, something to keep me busy.  I tell him the year I was born, 1964, centuries ago it seems.  Long, long ages.

I’m disappointed that he doesn’t care. Carrying a thick, white bathrobe, I go to shower.  Somehow, I know I’m finally going to die.   I’m thinking about where to hang my bathrobe while I shower.  As I ponder this, I am bombarded by a rapid series of brief images, my memories of a life with a husband I loved, different views of us enjoying things together, the differences in his face and hair at different times.  These were the few years we were happy and when we had our children.  Accompanying this nostalgic montage, there’s a sappy, movie soundtrack playing for memories.

When the flashback ends, I think maybe my son was right, that the beauty of life is to dream, work quickly, and die.  That all my long stages of life were meaningless, that the only thing that ever mattered were those few years represented by the series of sappy, nostalgic images.