It’s been awhile, and I apologize.. but I assure you, I’ve missed writing way more than you have missed reading my writings. Blog posts will be following this one shortly, and you’ll get caught up on everything — the big move (we’re in a house now! houses are so much cooler than apartments), the new job, my self-inflicted academic torture tales and the usual life-and-societal commentary that you’re used to. But today, I’m sharing a 5 1/2-paged letter of a dream that I dreamt earlier this week. It was special, and unlike other dreams that I muse on for awhile in the mornings and then forget about, I wanted to remember this one, so I jotted down some notes at work the morning following the dream.. and that’s what I’m sharing with you today.
Hope (the anonymous) you are having a great weekend!
Last night, I had a dream. I have dreams pretty frequently — always, really; at least one per night. Last night, rather than being just “interesting,” “neat” or “creepy” (like my usual dreams are), my dream was moving. Fascinating. Memorable. It felt completely and totally real. The usual “dream awareness” that accompanies me and the general sense of “usual life” and “reality” that give dreams context were both far removed from me. It was an experience.. a visit from an old and good friend. My dead brother Bobby.
Bobby came to visit me in a dream last night, and for the first time in the last 16 months, I wasn’t scared. Previous “dream visits” (as I’ve come to call them; this was my 5th) from Bobby have only terrified me. I would see his face, or hear his voice, knowing, in my dream, that he is really, actually dead, and I would fight to wake up so strongly that I always did. I always woke up.
But this time, after months of complete silence and absence from him, I allowed myself the great luxury of forgetting that he is dead. I embraced, walked and talked with Bobby, in my dream, with a completely solid conviction that he was real. Nothing had to make sense; there was no where that we had to be and no pressing matters. Just a brother and his sister, holding hands and being in the world, together.
This was my dream.
It started off in a normal, familiar setting: me working at my new office. I’m sitting in my cube, wearing my headset, when the phone rings. I answer it and a woman’s voice echoes into life; I immediately form a picture of her: middle-aged to elderly, with short brown hair (you know, a bob), fiery eyes (that reveal spunk and liveliness), laugh lines around her mouth (which is painted red with a heavy amount of lipstick) and a petite build. She has a healthy, happy plumpness about her, one that follows after many years of life, meals out, rounds of Christmas pies and repeats of Thanksgiving turkeys. This member is inquiring on the balance in her account; I give it to her, and then she asks for me to pull up her sister’s account (that she is joint on) because she would like to know the balance on that account as well. I complete her request, and if I recall correctly, the woman had a considerable sum of funds in her own account – around 76k,77k – and her sister’s account had well over 400k in it. When I quoted the balance on the sister’s account, the woman laughed into the phone, a laugh that sounded more like “wow!” and “wehhh-helllll!”and “well alllllrighty then!”
(This will get more interesting soon.. I promise)
The woman then asked for me to disburse a check from her sister’s account in the amount of 7k, and I did. She explained that it’s for a trip, a vacation, that they’re taking together.
I blink, and we’re at a lovely park in downtown Tuscaloosa. There are stately trees and picnic tables everything, and the vivid-green grass has a lushness and vibrancy to it that makes it look like the most comfortable grass on the planet. I look up and hand the check to the woman who is standing in front of me, and she takes it, smiling. She turns away and I hear her talking about a picnic that she’s having with her grandchildren that day. Her voice trails off and I peer down into a yellow shopping bag that just sort of appeared, levitating, in front of me.. hovering in the air and showing off its contents to me: bread and luncheon slices. I look up and the woman has walked far away; her back is to me. Her voice reappears and I hear her carrying on about what a nice time she is going to have today. I smile, blink, and I’m back at work again, sitting at the island that is located in the middle of the call center (just a few feet outside of and away from my cube). The same woman is moving around the room with a young boy following closely behind her. That must be the grandson, I muse to myself, sitting quietly and watching them. I gaze in at all of the cubicles around the room, all of them empty of people but decorated as usual. I wonder where Deedra and Angela are, I think to myself. I peer over to my right and Erin, another coworker of mine — red-headed, age twenty three, with an artsy and interesting flare about her — is standing in front of the copier, barefoot and wearing a headset. She is talking out loud to the woman in the room; she is, I realize, the woman’s granddaughter, and in my dream, she looks the same as always, but I understand that she is 14.
That’s weird. I’m a little puzzled, but still, nothing seems terribly unusual or out of the ordinary. If this was like the movie Inception, we have not yet reached a point where all heads turn to me, glaring, and my reality crashes to the ground. I’m still clueless to the fact that this is “just a dream.”
I peer down at the island (table) in front of me and notice that it has transformed into an aquarium of sorts. I watch, through the glass, as fish of all sizes, shapes and colors wade quickly through the water. I absentmindedly reach for some fish food (that’s just, you know, there) and then let it slide from my hand into the fish tank. After a moment of gazing, I notice that the fish have ceased to merely wade through the water and are now swimming around quickly and violently. The water is becoming murky, and I think to myself that this woman and her grandchildren would probably appreciate still, clear waters and slow-moving fish. I get up from my seat and walk out of the call center.
In real life, to exit the call center means to enter the open hallway of the 4th floor at the corporate office where I work. There are windows everywhere, that go from floor to ceiling, and a vast expanse lays between the hallway that connects to the call center and the hallway “across the room,” the hallway that leads to executive’s offices and heavy wooden doors.
Back inside my dream, I walk out of the call center and, in front of my eyes, there is the largest aquarium I have ever seen. There is a glass wall, at least sixty, seventy feet high, and fish (along with more dangerous sea creatures) are fully visible. I walk over to join a line of spectators who are laughing and attempting to launch handfuls of “fish food” high up into the air and at an angle that will send the flying fish food over the glass partition wall and into the happy waters. I stare with the crowd for a moment and then move on. I walk over towards the right, where I find the beginning to a concrete slab that leads all the way up – at an incline – to an area where you are now level with the pool of water. I walk up it, quietly, and make my way over to the edge of the pool. It is now that I’m at the edge of the pool that I notice that, in addition to the glass wall separating the spectators from the fish, there is another glass wall separating the fish from the rest of the (humungous – understatement) pool. So, to be clear, the fish are contained in a very small “display area..” much smaller than is reasonable. Here, I experience a lapse in time and find myself floating in the water. There are others with me, and suddenly, as expected, there is a rush of panic where me and all of the other random swimming people realize that being in the water is no longer safe; the glass wall separating us from the fish and sea creatures has been compromised: it has turned into a mere buoy. I scramble out of the water and walk up the metal ramp and then back to the concrete slab, dripping with water. Here, I can’t even really begin to explain WHAT happened; someone of the likes of Iron Man folded me into a metal enclosure of some kind and transported me downstairs (like an elevator would, but I’m stuck in this suit); there were words, but I couldn’t make them out. It’s warm and black. I’m suddenly dry.
I blink and things make more sense. I am now in a hallway — more fittingly, it looks like the corridors of a garden. My mom and grandmother are there, looking at flowers and trees and all of the pretty green shrubbery connecting everything. Bobby is there. Nothing seems unusual. I know that we are about to take him to the hospital for a 4-hour long surgery and that this was just a planned stop along the way.
Bobby walks over to look at a tree more closely, and I watch him from a distance. I step back a foot or so and suddenly, the largest spider web in the world comes into my view. It’s at least 18 feet high and 15 feet wide. I get Grammy’s attention and motion for her to come near me; I situate her at my side, where the sun gives off the perfect amount of light, and the spider web becomes visible for her, too. As we’re gazing at the spider web, I turn my eyes to Bobby and watch as he suddenly leans his head in towards a tree to examine it more closely; maybe he dropped something of his near it, or maybe he’s just examining the tree bark. Who knows. In a second, my eyes zoom in to thirty feet in front of me and I watch as a spider that has been moving along the web descends suddenly onto Bobby’s left hand. I called out his name quickly and then everything goes black.
Now, we’re standing on an urban street, Bobby and I, in a city that I don’t know the name of. We’re right by the porch steps, waiting for Grammy and mom to come outside of the house they’re in so that we can take Bobby to the doctor for his 4-hour long surgery. I hug Bobby for no reason. It isn’t sadness. It isn’t in anticipation of the surgery, either. And I still have no idea that he’s dead.
We walk to the car and I open up the door to the driver’s seat. I ask Bobby if he would like to drive, since it might be his last opportunity to do so before the surgery, and then I remember that he had had a spider on his hand earlier in the day. I say, out loud, that we should probably mention that to the doctor, and then Bobby holds out his hand for both of us to see. On the soft part of his right forefinger – his index finger – a boil of some sort has developed. I watch in an unconcerned silence as Bobby peels the boil off and reveals a flat, sandy surface underneath. “You should probably let the doctor work on that, Bob,” I say quietly, not really startled or horrified.. just simply as an observation.
“It’s okay. A tree will grow out of it,” he replies.
And that’s the first thing that he says.
And that’s when the dream took on a different feel.. more hazy and warm and airy.. but I still believe that it’s real.
Mom and Gram come out to the car; mom gets into the driver’s seat and bobby and I sit in the back together, me on his left side, and we’re holding hands. He is holding my hand. I can’t see myself at all, only the fuzzy fabric on the passenger’s seat in front of me where I know Grammy is sitting, but I can feel myself smiling with contentment.
“It’s just a four hour surgery, Bob,” I say cheerfully, “what are you going to do tomorrow?”
“I’m going to poop,” he says simply.
I laugh at him, keep holding his hand, and we drive to the hospital.
A fan is spinning in circles above my head. I move my eyes.. there are light and dark spots on the wall from where night light is entering through the windows. I hear the fan now; I can feel the draft coming from it. It’s cold.. my sheet isn’t on all the way, part of my leg is exposed.
I feel a warmness around my arms though; a warmness around and beside me. Chris is fast asleep next to me.
“Why am I awake,” I wonder simply. “It feels late..” so I inquire into my mind.
No.. god, no..
My mind flashes familiar images back at me, quickly and harshly: the office, the aquarium, Erin’s red hair, the big glass walls, and hundreds of fish and creatures that I can’t name and have never seen before..and people, there were people there, and Iron Man — what?.. the corridors, so many plants and trees.. the spider on Bobby’s hand.. BOBBY.. no — He hugged me.. we, held hands.. in the car.. he was having a surgery?
I cry my eyes out, at three thirty in the morning, desperately trying to console myself with the precious image stored in my mind of a chubby right hand, outstretched and turned upright in front of me, with a beautiful, small evergreen growing up out of its forefinger.
And this is real.