I haven’t been dreaming real dreams for weeks. My mind is swamped and overstimulated by the books I’ve been reading. Last evening, I tried listening to theta waves for a few hours, and I think that might have helped break my mind free. I dreamed.
I was in a grandstand with a man as my companion. I did not know if he was boyfriend or husband, but I thought of him as my lover. I had a spiral notebook in which I was taking notes on the attendance and appearance of people I saw. I was almost at the bottom of the page when I saw one last person, a woman with snow white hair and dark skin. She wore glasses with thick black rims. She was not very tall, shorter than the man with whom she walked. They were walking outside the grandstand, and I saw her from afar and noted her in my notebook simply as WTHR, short for white hair. I didn’t want anyone to know that I did this or why because it often happened that I would see someone or hear something that no one else did. The notebook was for me to go back and verify that what I had seen or heard was real. Sometimes I doubted the notebook as well, so all my days I never knew if I was imagining something or if it really happened.
There was a young woman on the bench beside us on the grandstand. Her makeup was slightly goth, but she also wore silver, pierced rings on her face. Despite my effort to hide what was in my notebook, she stole a glance, and she said to me, “Your body is sick.” I was shaking because I was found out. What I understood this to mean was that my body and mind were not in phase with each other. She knew from my note, WTHR, that my mind was sick, but her diagnosis, your body is sick, was more accurate because I was not in phase.
I was frightened, and I asked my lover if he saw her, too, because I trusted him when he told me if things were real or not. The crowd began to funnel out of the grandstand, and he had not told me whether I had imagined the girl or not. He was taller and broader than me, but that’s not so unusual, a man being taller and broader than a woman. He had dark hair. He walked behind me in such a way that he was in contact against my back all the while, and it was comforting. I felt secure against the sickness I had, that even if I imagined people that were not there, it did not matter. I could let go and trust. It was a marvelous dream-feeling.
Instead of taking me to my work, which is where I thought we would go, we went to the office of my psychiatrist. Because we came here, I suspected that the goth girl had not been real, that my lover had realized I had seen her only in my imagination, but he had not wanted to scare me because I became agitated when that happened. The psychiatrist was a woman and very kind. It was a special session, and I was not required to go into her office but allowed to come to a table she had set up beside her desk in a hallway. This allowed me to come voluntarily to the appointment and think of it simply as a social event with food and drinks. We sat around the round table and my psychiatrist served as hostess. My lover ate with us, too.
While we ate, a man in a brown suit walked up behind my lover. The brown-suited man talked a lot in the manner of a car salesman. He leaned forward, placed his hands on my lover’s shoulders and ran his palms down his arms to his hands. I was terrified. The salesman talked all the while. As long as I could stand it, I said nothing, because maybe the man was not real. But I was shuddering, and I leaped from my seat, and I cringed away from the man, and I screamed, “Stop him! He’ll slay him!” I was nearly as scared that I was imagining the whole thing as I was scared he would really kill my lover, but I could not take the chance that the brown-suited man might really kill him so I had to scream. I hated that, not knowing whether I was crazy or that the man was a murderer.
Both the psychiatrist and my lover rushed to pull me up off the floor and reassure me, so then I was truly not sure if the brown-suited man was real or not. I left to go with the man, but we came back later to take the leftover food from the table once the psychiatrist had gone for the evening. While we were packing it up, the psychiatrist returned and caught us. I tried to smooth it over by acting as if we had just arrived. Then I asked the psychiatrist if she would verify something for me, something I needed to tell her apart from my lover. I needed to tell her privately because his presence might influence what I had to say. We went into a long room with a long table down the middle. It was dark except for fluorescent lighting over the table like a plant light. I tried to show her what the brown-suited man had been doing, but she was not in the correct position to demonstrate. I asked her to move, tried again, then finally had her sit on the floor, so I could lean over her back and show her.
She asked me to follow her then to a room where she raised her hands above her head and clapped sharply. Dozens of toddlers, each with their own instructor, were playing, a kind of physical therapy that was to cure their mental illnesses. It was a project of the doctor’s, and I got the impression that she was involved in her work every day at all hours. I also thought that she was trying to divert my attention from the brown-suited man because maybe he had not been real.
We went back into the hallway outside the long room with the plant light, and my lover was making his way down the hallway through a crowd. He was carrying a gun and was intense, hurrying forward. A guard or police officer stopped him just before the door to the room. I was where I could see in the room, and I saw a man with white hair waiting for my lover. Though I could never be sure a person was real or not, still I screamed a warning to my lover about the man who I thought was a criminal. And the man with white hair turned and shot at me, but I was holding a camera in my hand, and the bullet hit the camera and careened off it, shooting the man’s partner in crimes who was further down the hall.
I never knew if those two men were real or not, but then I saw the house where my lover and I ended up living. It was brick and very plain. I heard the man’s voice like a narrator say that I had always wanted a house just like this. I got the impression that I was being comforted again and kept safe from my own mental illness.