Last night was the first in a week that I slept… though I don’t know that I can call it a good rest. I had a long series of dreams that were disconnected and emotional. I think there were at least nine or ten, but most were made up of short bursts of images and feelings that I can’t work through. They don’t make sense, and I don’t even have enough information to write down. I could only remember two of the dreams by the time I woke up.

The first had only Curtis and me in it. We were alone in a house that wasn’t ours, and he was sleeping. The who or why wasn’t important, it was just necessary to know that this place did not belong to us. It was the middle of the night and I couldn’t sleep, so I carefully crept out of bed and started to walk around the house, exploring the seemingly endless labyrinth of rooms and halls.
I came into a room filled with drawers that were stacked from floor to ceiling, there was a ladder in the centre that I could climb to reach the higher levels. I opened a few, and was surprised to recognize what was inside. Each one contained something I loved from my life, and the higher I climbed the further back I went.
Toward the middle there were CDs: Lenny Kravitz, TLC and Michael Jackson. Above that were some clothes: a purple shirt I cut in half and sewed into an outfit when I was 13. There were some photos of me and my old friends, too. I closed those drawers and climbed higher. Above me I could see a cubby with a closet bar and some clothes hanging on it. They were the dresses my grandmother made me as a child. I took them off the hangars and draped them over my arm, thinking that I should save them and show my kids. The highest cubby I could see contained a doll in a long white dress. At first I did not recognize it, but as I stared I realized that it was a crying baby doll that I received at Christmas when I was five years old. I loved that doll. I can’t believe I forgot about it. I picked it up and hugged it.
In that moment I hear a low rumbling, and suddenly the door bursts open and waves upon waves of sea water flow in. The water fills the room, breaks open the drawers and steals my memories. I can see them floating away, through shattered windows and out to sea. I jump into the water and try and save what I can. In the commotion, I let go of the doll, and it floats away. I’ll never remember it now.

In the second dream I am walking through a dark, wide room with my sister in my arms. She’s a toddler, sleeping with her head on my shoulder. I remain the age I am now. She’s heavy in my arms, I can barely carry her anymore and I am thinking that she is almost too big to be carried to bed. She takes a deep and ragged breath in her sleep, and I reach up and run my fingers through the soft brown curls that fall over her cheeks.
In the centre of the room there is a compact fluorescent bulb hanging from a crooked wire. It gives off just enough light to illuminate a bare patch of floor beneath it, but I can see nothing else in this room but darkness. There is a beaded metal pull hanging from the wire; a switch. I reach out to turn it off. I can feel each bead in my fingers, and the way they link together. The sensation is so crisp; everything in this dream is razor sharp and humming.
I give the switch a tug, and the wire holding the light gives way… the light crashes to the floor and shatters. I can see the mercury dust rising up from the broken coils, and I am struck with the fear that it will poison my sister, and she will die before I put her to bed. I fall to my knees and begin scraping up the broken pieces with my bare hands. As I fall, her body disappears from my arms. She is gone, but I do not notice right away… I am too concerned with the threat of the smoke. Pieces of glass cut my fingers as I scrape them across the floor, and I start to bleed. The broken coils are still glowing with an eerie, toxic light but it is fading fast. In my desperation I grasp at the smoke curling in the air as though I could catch it.
It’s too much – I can’t do it – and I start to slow down as my eyes well with tears. At that moment I realize my sister has disappeared. I can’t see or hear her anywhere. I scream for her, but all that returns is the echo of my voice against an endless, empty room. As the last of the light disappears from the coils, I sit in a mess of broken glass and cry.

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4 Comments

  • bluealoe says:

    I agree with the other commenters on what the dreams symbolize. The first one is so poignant, finding your memories and seeing them washed away. And the one about Marika…your facing the fear of losing her, and you’re worried you can’t do enough to stop it.

    *hugs tight* I hope you get many sound nights of rest soon.

  • Anonymous says:

    This is really interesting.

    I had a really intense dream once and talked about it in therapy -it took place within a house that wasn’t mine. My therapist started out by explaining that according to her training, when you dream about something happening in a house, you’re dreaming about what’s happening in your own mind. The dream house is your brain.

    So when you think about your first dream in that context, it makes complete and total sense. Tough to guess without knowing you well; but could be that you’ve been ruminating on getting older, perhaps someone around you is dealing with memory loss – or perhaps the waves symbolize the negative memories in your life, of which you have accumulated a handful (let’s be honest.) Maybe you have thought about or worried about what parts of your life you will choose to remember.

    If you think about the Marika dream in this context, it’s not much of a leap to say she has been “heavy” on your brain. One every level. And the light – perhaps you are, or have been, trying to shed “light” or reality on the situation, or illuminate the situation for her – show her how things really are. Or illuminate it for yourself. Or simply improve the situation at ALL. But the “bringing things into the light,” has been very painful, I’m sure, for both of you.

    Maybe turning on the light – if you think of it as turning on part of your “brain,” is reflective of a desire to share with a Marika you feel is so young, all the experiences you’ve had that she might draw on – to share some of the contents of your brain (motherhood) with her.

    Dreams: That Shit Cray!!

  • jenrose1 says:

    i don’t know, they make total sense to me. I think of dreams as my brain’s way of processing the stuff I couldn’t fix during the day. In one, you’re in a house that isn’t yours… and IRL, you aren’t sure if the house you’re in is going to stay yours, but you have a lot of memories tied to it, babies born there, and maybe there’s some part that worries that if you move away, the memories so rooted to the places in your house might slip or fade away. If the house is swept away, will it take your memories with it?

    Awake, the answer is no. Your memories may change, but regardless of where you live, you will have the pictures, the stories you’ve told, the memories, if they start to fade, you’ll come back, read your journal, look at your photos, and remember. The house doesn’t matter, you are very good at telling your story, and that’s really what memory is. It’s like food… you can eat the best thing ever, but it only lasts as long as the bite, but years later you may still be able to think about it and remember the taste as clearly as if you took the bite a minute ago, if it was important. Where there’s emotional content, memories tend to stick.

    The one with Marika is not subtle or obscure. You’re worried you’ve lost your sister in a cloud of toxicity, that maybe worrying so much about the toxicity you forgot where she was. And I don’t know. There’s no easy answer where she’s concerned, you have lost her, for now, in a cloud of toxicity, but the good news is that if she manages to get out of it, she’s only what, 17? 18? She’s got a long time to figure things out, even with a baby, she’s got plenty of time. I did so much growing up after my daughter was born. That first year was brutal, the second year I started to get my footing, and then I did pretty well, though it took a while for the external to reflect the internal. But it took me 3 years to stop sleeping with my daughter’s father, despite him breaking up with me when i was 7 months pregnant. Even smart people do stupid things. I think she will figure it out, but I think it’s going to continue to be rough for a while, and your brain knows that.

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