Tag Archives: dreaming

A Living Inferno

The classroom bell rings, undercutting the wail of the fire alarms. Cacophony. As if for a fire drill, we are lined up, smocked dresses, corduroys, pigtails, cowlicks, marching down the beige linoleum hallway. The blue railing which divides the hallway from the gymnasium is to my right. I can see across, over the painted lines of the basketball court and the opposing railing, to the second grade classrooms. It will be two long years before I get to march down that hall.

The geography of this well-known building shifts as the hallway, instead of passing through the vestibule–front door on the left, offices on the right–and drawing us towards the cafeteria, redolent with the smell of the milk coolers and industrial cleaning products, ends abruptly at two exterior doors.

They are blue, steel with push-bar releases, hot to the touch.

There is chaos and panic. The line dissolves and we are pushing, shoving, clawing. The doors give under the pressure, but are snapped back, closing us in while the sirens scream. It is as if there is an elastic force keeping us inside these doors.

From a new vantage point, outside, removed from the tremendous noise and fear, I see my primary school transformed into a kind of geodesic dome. Gone the familiar two story, brick, everytown educational building.

In its place is a living inferno, a half-sphere engulfed in viscous flame. The fire crawls up and over the dome, rolls and pours like mercury, quicksilver lava which need not obey the laws of gravity.

And while I can see from this altered point of view, I know that I am still inside, while the fire shoves back, stretching its hot muscles against us.

A response to the Studio Thirty Plus weekly prompt: childhood dreams.

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A December Thing

The room was high-ceilinged and wide, rows like a cornfield, chest-high, stocked with wines, beers, ciders, spirits. Imagine, if you will, the heart of Grand Central Station, in a smaller scale, with a liquor store inside.

And there I was, at the end of a row, seated on the floor, legs out to one side, knees curled like a prawn, resting my head on my arms on a short, round, mango-wood stool, watching. Envy and misery in equal parts behind my eyes as I saw them all lined up around the outer wall of the great room. And then they began to sing, as I knew they would, leaving me there, uninvited and unincluded.

When he sat on the stool behind me, I felt more than heard him. I was acutely aware of him. Young, blond, fair, perhaps nineteen to my twenty-two. He put his hands on my slumped shoulders, pulled me back against his shins. He leaned down close, and didn’t speak the question I knew he was asking.

“I’m a singer, too, you know,” I said.

He drew his smooth cheek against mine, tilting my head back so I could see his face.

“I have a December thing going on here,” he said, just before he kissed me.

His lips were soft, the kiss insubstantial, a whisper shared.

Brushing with Hot Water

I was falling asleep last night thinking about how I accidentally used hot water to brush my teeth, and how I actually kind of liked it, and why does no one do that? Or do they?

I have a little notebook and pen on my bedside table where I write things down in the middle of the night, sometimes in the dark, and I was trying to reach for it, to remember my hot water and Crest Tartar Protection musings, but I was too paralyzed by exhaustion to do more than think about it. When I woke up this morning, it was open, and scrawled across it in loose, loopy letters was this phrase: love him hate snoring.

I have been sleep-writing.

I have been sleep-writing deep, meaningful truths.

My son, on the other hand, is dreaming of Disney/Pixar movies, and the injustices of not being allowed control of the remote control. He woke up, sobbing, very early this morning.

“I wanna turn off that show!” Sob, weep, gasp.

I scramble down the hall and into his room, shivering in my skivs and cami, and curl up in his twin bed, wiping tears off his cheeks.

“Did you have a bad dream, baby?”

“No! I was watching my Mater show on the TV and I wanna turn it off.”

He got Mater’s Tall Tales for Christmas, and we watched it in the van, on the way home from my parents house. Three days ago. He has never watched it in the house.

Is it wrong that I kind of wanted to laugh at him?

I didn’t. I just wanted to.

Clearly, the dream stayed with him, though, because as I type, he’s recreating Rescue Squad Mater on the kitchen island with his die-cast Cars cars.

Still in his pajamas. Because it’s our last day of vacation. And we have errands to run and meals to cook for the coming week.

I should finish my tea and go brush my teeth.

With hot water.

Matchbox Quicksand

I am drowning in a quicksand of matchbox cars. The dream is exquisite in its clarity. The cool metal, the chips in the finish where my small boy has crashed them into one another rough against my cheeks. The dull click and clatter as dozens, hundreds, thousands of them spill down over me. I can feel the smooth plastic tires pressing against my eyes. The fear of opening my mouth to scream and swallowing some small vehicle chokes me as I grope for wakefulness.

As the dream’s gravity sucks me deeper into a sea of miniatures, pinning my arms above my head, my hands reach for a surface which slips further and further over my head with every second. My legs cannot kick against the weight of so much metallic sand. I can breathe, but the tang of gradually warming aluminum and enamel taints each breath. I am afraid.

The Myth of You and Me: Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop

This week’s post is a response to Prompt #2: I miss the friend you used to be. (The Myth Of You And Me) It’s certainly not the first time I’ve blogged about this friendship. I can’t imagine it will be the last.

Mama's Losin' It

Once upon a time, there was a tone-deaf jazz afficionado from the Big Easy, a Southern daughter of a Jewish lawyer, a young woman with a heart as big as the Gulf, with laughter and appetite enough to swallow up a New Englander like me.

That young woman took herself off into the heart of Vermont. I met her as Autumn snapped cool, and she shivered.

Wait ’til it snows, we said. She was undaunted.

She could roar, laugh, drink, dance, write, and love with reckless abandon. Her secret self? Tender and vulnerable. Loyal to the point of fierceness.

Once upon a time she was my friend. Once upon a time she was my college roommate.

She moved to Spain a few years after graduation, to study Spanish literature, theatre, and poetry. She taught English at night to pay the bills. She married one of her students, who picked up and relocated to the States with her when it was time for her to go (And yes, it was far more complicated than that, but the real process? Sounds less mythic and romantic.). She was that magnetic.

I hope she still is.

But I don’t know. Because she has shut me out of her life, away from her light. For a long while, I wondered about what I had–or had not–done to lose her. Now that I am more sure that I did nothing explicitly wrong, I actually worry more. Why have we all been cast adrift–those of us who all love her?

Ten years ago, I imagined us getting together with our families, introducing our children to one another. They were, I suppose, the naive daydreams of a 23 year old who can’t imagine that all of her friendships won’t survive.

Now? I dream of her, and the dreams always end with her warm embrace, unforgotten by my subconscious.

London (Not) Calling

Or, why I don’t ever tell Felix about an event until we’re 5 minutes from it happening.

I was up promptly at seven Monday morning, with lingering dreams of a preternaturally tall man in a cloak and mask, weeping over my late grandmother’s dead African violets.

I had a date. A Skype date. A skype date with three children. A Skype date with three children and Felix. A transcontinental Skype date with three children and Felix.

At 7:30 AM, Monday morning, when Big Brother J, Miss E, and O, presumably lunching in London, would be available to chat with Felix, whom they miss terribly.

I was at my desk with Skype running by 7:18AM. At 7:48AM, I gave up, Felix none the wiser.

In the Manner of Dreaming

I had a dream two nights ago about being late to meet Mark at a theatre in Burlington, VT. That? Simple wishful thinking, on a number of levels. From there, it gets more complicated.

I was forced to park the car seven or eight blocks away from the theatre, and trot up the hill to the University, past a row of three-deckers, very similar to the ones I once passed walking to and from my old apartment, outside Davis Square, Somerville. Using the reasoning of dreams, I grabbed a tricycle from the back of my car to help me get there faster, but it didn’t work, which meant I was stuck carrying it.

As I approached one of the three-deckers, someone called to me from a third story to come up. It was a friend from college. We’ll call him Burnsie. As I trudged, carrying a tricycle, up his front steps, he burst out of the door to tell me he was finally in a film! I hugged him and said congratulations and how’ve you been-all the things you might say, hearing that news from someone you haven’t seen in years–never mind that he’s a lawyer in real life.

Suddenly, and I do mean suddenly, in the manner of dreaming, another friend from college was on the porch, inviting me to come to their party. We’ll call him Roo. I told them I was late for the theatre, but could I leave the tricycle on their porch and pick it up later? Just then, a few more college friends, Fibby, Petay, and the Burger, ran past me on the stairs laughing like hyenas. Again, Roo invited me to the party. This time, two of my old roommates, Beryl and Shepherdess Y, come barreling out of the apartment, and they run off up the street.

I find myself (love the lack of transitions in dreams) walking towards the University again, only to discover that Beryl is missing, but Shepherdess Y has found our friend Becs, and we are all on our way to the theatre.

We run into the theatre, which has a gift shop/book store at the top of the grand staircase, and while Y and I head for the entrance, Becs goes to buy something. There’s a bell ringing, and the performance has already started, but Y forces her way through the screen door (yes, screen door), and we discover that Mark is there waiting for me, and our seats are near Becs and Y’s seats.

We sit, and I see I’ve lost my purse. Just as I’m whispering that I’ll find it later, the alarm goes off and I wake.

What’s odd is that I was left with the sense that my friend Glenn, who died four years ago, has been talking to me. And he wasn’t directly in the dream. Just the sense that he might have been there, in the corner of my eye, cracking wise and laughing loud, always listening, quick to embrace, lingered with me while I was getting ready to go to work. It lingered throughout the day. I get those feelings pretty rarely, but when I get them, I try to pay attention.

I’m not religious, and I’m not sure about anything, but I can’t believe that the essence of what makes us so gorgeously human is lost entirely when we die. In which case, why not be open to the idea that my dear friend plays dream architect from time to time? The dream, and feeling of not being entirely alone with my thoughts, made what might have been a truly awful day more bearable.

If there’s a better way to keep a friend’s memory alive, I don’t know it.

I Had A Dream Last Night: 2nd Look Saturday

I was looking for this post while working on one for tomorrow. A little more than four years ago, I lost a very dear friend in a very sad way. His death left a hole in my heart. I know it sounds crazy, but sometimes I feel like he’s with me. It comes on unexpectedly, and often in dreams.

Last Night
Originally published October 24, 2006

Last night I dreamed of Glenn. The best part about it was that it wasn’t a sad or bad dream at all. I was getting into a car, not my own, and Glenn was driving. We were going to visit some friends of ours in NY, and I needed to call them, but my cell phone battery needed recharging. He offered me his phone, and I said to him, “No offense, Glennie, but you don’t really need a cell phone. After all, you’re dead.” He just laughed, and told me to call our friend. We talked idly in the car – I don’t remember all of it, but I woke feeling really happy, like I’d been hugged.

Later, while I was brushing my teeth, I remembered sitting up in bed when my first alarm went off, and saying, “Thanks for coming to see me,” before falling back to sleep.

Perhaps it’s the strain of Celt in my blood that makes me believe in the fire festivals more than a little. After all, we’re about a week from Samhain, when the veil between the living and the dead is thinnest…

2nd Look Saturday Button

Last Night…

Last night I dreamed of Glenn. The best part about it was that it wasn’t a sad or bad dream at all. I was getting into a car, not my own, and Glenn was driving. We were going to visit some friends of ours in NY, and I needed to call them, but my cell phone battery needed recharging. He offered me his phone, and I said to him, “No offense, Glennie, but you don’t really need a cell phone. After all, you’re dead.” He just laughed, and told me to call our friend. We talked idly in the car – I don’t remember all of it, but I woke feeling really happy, like I’d been hugged.

Later, while I was brushing my teeth, I remembered sitting up in bed when my first alarm went off, and saying, “Thanks for coming to see me,” before falling back to sleep.

Perhaps it’s the strain of Celt in my blood that makes me believe in the fire festivals more than a little. After all, we’re about a week from Samhain, when the veil between the living and the dead is thinnest…