Dream Sequence, Part 3

My dad didn’t leave. He didn’t die. But there were things in our woods that wanted to hurt us, so we moved. We lived in every backwoods, or back road clump of trees, we could find. We should have stayed away from trees; those things kept finding us. One’s own demons do have a tendency to follow.

My mom, my little brother, my two sons: they were all with us. We tried to keep everyone safe.

Dad went to sleep in a bag a few feet from mine. He didn’t wake up again. Something else used his hands to squeeze my throat. I nearly died. Whatever was left of my dad made it stop and dragged the thing away with him. I was left with open eyes; I could see the truth: my dad had been dead a long time, my little brother had never been born, and I only have one living child.

Three of us were alive. The rest were the things we had brought with us, moving place to place, hoping to escape the past.

It got weird after that…

I stopped wearing shoes and smelled like a pine tree. My mom said we were related to Anne Rice and were going to go live with her. I tried to avoid it; I didn’t like the thought of having to pretend to like her books. Anne Rice does not impress me.

My son was the only rational one in our group. He went somewhere I couldn’t follow. I wasn’t worried; I knew he’d be all right.

I saw a man named David. He and I went to school together. He grew up to be a jerk, with good looks allowing him to get away with it. I walked away from him when he said something rude. I walked away from my mom telling me about Aunt Anne. I walked right by a man with a cane who said hello and asked how I was.

It was Aristotle. I looked back, and he was gone, walking away. I ran after him. A group of people were between us. I couldn’t get close. He went inside a church, and I followed, in spite of my vow.

I found him sitting in the middle of a pew, surrounded by people. He held his cane in front of him, looked straight at me, and said I love you.

His eyes were green.

Dream Pictionary

I woke up when my childhood started falling apart. My old bedroom was infested with termites. As I put my clothes away — hung up dresses that were increasingly gaudy and not at all my style — the nasty creatures started falling out of the ceiling.

My mom was no help. She just said “we’ll get someone to look at it” and went back to the kitchen. My brother Pedro was in his room (right next to mine) sick from something he caught while working on utility poles. He couldn’t get it of bed.

My other brother’s room was occupied by Aristotle (this guy I have a small crush on at work). He lets me hold his baby girl, which is confusing because he doesn’t have any kids. He’s even more single than I am! Yet, there was his girlfriend (or wife): a beautiful woman with snow-blonde hair. Her skin was made out of blushed plastic, just like the doll that was her daughter.

Is anyone else getting this creepy image of a man who collects dolls? I hope he’s not that guy!

Dream interpretation is ridiculous. If dreams do have meaning, then those meanings are personal to whomever is dreaming. They cannot be defined and thrown in a guidebook. For example: dreams of losing one’s teeth signify insecurity. Sure! I’m an insecure person, so I’ll buy that! However, my reoccurring nightmares of having my teeth fall out and pressing them back into my gums in the hope that they’ll re-root may just be the product of ten-plus childhood years spent in a dentist’s chair being told it’s my fault my teeth are awful. I just didn’t brush enough.

After all the cavities, abscesses, extractions, retainers, braces, etc., I would just like to say: my current dentist thinks I have beautiful teeth. So, ha! to you, every other DDS. This one is a keeper.

Still, I have a constant fear that something bad is going to happen. Sometimes, I convince myself that some of my teeth are loose or that I must have a cavity because one side of my mouth is getting sensitive. Then there’s my genetic baby tooth; I was told I would lose it by 19 and would have to have a fake one literally screwed in its place. Now I’m being told that it has a solid root and could last until I’m 35. (Thank you, Dr. Keeper!) Whenever I do lose my baby tooth, it will be a big deal; it’s right in front where a gap would be very noticeable.

I’m not afraid of getting old, but the idea of having dentures is terrifying.

As for my termite infested dollhouse dream, I’ll blame that on a combination of melatonin and Empire of the Ants. My subconscious may have supplied the scene and the characters, but that little melt away pill definitely wrote the script. And anyone who has read that book knows that it can cause some seriously weird thoughts and images even while awake.

Dream Sequence, Part 2

My headache reached into my dreams and turned them into nightmares.

It began with a hazy, lamp lit street. Everyone else was sleeping, but I needed some air. I was barely a block away before getting knocked out. My body lay on the sidewalk; my consciousness floated above, watching as the thing was pressed into my skin. It was an egg: giant, speckled, alien. It seemed to propel itself into my body — into my belly where it would either grow enough to burrow back out without its shell or crack and take me from within.

When I woke, I saw my stomach protruding.

There’s a man living in my house. My sister and I call him dad, but he isn’t my dad, and I have no sister. I try to wake him so he can get this awful thing out of me, but he’s gone. The thing hatches, borrows back out through my skin, and attacks.

It takes much of my lucid ability to escape — to be unharmed as the monster goes for my chest and face with its hundreds of sharp, pointed teeth.

I make it out of the nightmare eventually. There’s a lot of running and screaming, but I make it…

Into another dream where the president of the company is talking about two women who are on leave. He wants to congratulate them, yet he keeps mixing up their names. Indiana is having the baby. Patsy is getting married to the deadbeat. I try to correct him, but then I notice we’re in the sanctuary of the church where I went to high school — he is the administrator, not the boss — and he is talking about the other two girls in my class, not my coworkers. He isn’t very well informed; there’s a dead baby somewhere, so he shouldn’t be congratulating anyone.

And I’m not supposed to be in a church. I took a vow.

My life would have been different if the school had hired me after college. With my degree, I was more qualified than their current English teacher. She was a pastor’s wife, so I never really had a chance of replacing her. I was at a point where I needed direction and purpose — I needed a job that fit my education. I was even willing to submit to the lower pay for women abuse that had been in effect since the school’s opening.

In my dream state, I realized that I could probably apply again and get the job. Five years have passed; I’m more experienced and mature and…

And I live thousands of miles away.

And I took a vow to stay out of church sanctuaries.

And I don’t believe.

My consciousness broke free. With a maddening headache, I woke wondering if anything will ever change for the better.

Will I ever have a job that allows me to employ my love of the English language?

Dream Sequence: Part 1

Last night, my dreams turned to Lesh, my high school heart: the one fiance I fully claim. His real name isn’t Lesh. When I was nineteen, I wrote a story for him and gave his character the nickname. Whenever I think of the real man (increasingly rare outside the dream world), I think of him as his character.

I lost track of that story. It was several chapters with many more waiting to be written. It’s likely buried in computer files, or even the paper files cluttering my mom’s house at the other end of the country. Wherever it is doesn’t matter; I remember the plot and the emotions behind it. If it needs to be written, it will be.

My dream: Lesh had been hired on at my company — in my department, on a team close to my desk. All I had to do was stand and look over and there he would be. 

He recognized me right away (the only thing that’s changed since high school is my natural eye color), but after the initial flicker of recognition, he pretended not to. And I did the same. 

We were at the company’s Christmas party and somehow ended up next to each other in the same line. Up close, I could see his wedding ring, so my hopes that his beautiful wife ran of with the mechanic were dashed. He looked everywhere else, but I stared him down until his eyes met mine — his gorgeous eyes that defy color by being every color at once. 

We finally started talking, not about the past that doesn’t matter anymore but about the little things that were happening now. We avoided the subjects of his wife and my son. We talked about nothing special and ended up all right. 

It’s absurd that two people from such a small high school would end up working for the same company in the same obscure curve of the country. I’ve only seen Lesh twice in the last ten years. Our school was so tiny that our reunion was actually a celebration of the school being open for a quarter century. All graduating classes were there with their families and barely filled the gym. I had only been out of high school for two years then, and I had my one-year-old with me. Lesh never said a word and only looked at me once. The other time was a mutual friend’s wedding. There was an equal amount of silent treatment, and he didn’t bother looking at me.

I deserved the coldness. The breakup was bad timing, and I lied to him with the hope that hating me would heal him quicker. When I started writing his story, it was mostly to finally tell the truth: I didn’t stop loving him, and I was going to marry him someday.