Last night I had a dream that I was urgently called to a gathering of family, because someone I loved was very ill, near death or already passed. I drove up to this white wedding or revival-style tent on the campus of a school or some sort of public building. It was springtime, and I could smell the grass. As I traversed the lawn, my grandmamma, who passed away 2 1/2 years ago, walked by me in a navy blue suit.
I stopped dead in my tracks. "Grandmama," I called in astonishment. She turned and smiled at me. She was incredibly beautiful. Her hair was glossy and short. The beautiful structure of her face shone beneath her smooth skin. But the smile and the love it contained were enough, and all that I was granted. I had forgotten how well she looked as a middle-aged woman; she was forever young as she walked away.
I stepped into the airy tent. People were sitting on benches and foldout chairs. Inside were a few of my relatives and many people that I did not recognize. Seeing my confusion, they began to jog my memory, standing, shaking my hand, and uttering names from the past, from my family's life in Tennessee. I began to sense that the person who was ill was someone I loved very deeply.
A couple evenings ago I watched a show that gave me nightmares, a movie about a gentleman who worked cleaning up crime scenes. I also watched a tiny part of The Mentalist which has gotten decidedly creepy delving into the Red John plot line. The nightmares were inevitable.
In the most vivid and subtle one, two doctors, a man and a woman, ran their practice from a rundown, rambling, perfectly unsanitary old house. The house was full of crawl spaces and secret passageways and long narrow stairs up or down into deep dark rooms with locks on the doors. The kitchen was the only decent place; you felt momentarily safe there even as you gazed into the dark labyrinth of evil possibilities off to the right. The male doctor was a villain, and he seemed to own those evil places as he went back and forth between them. The female doctor was weary, brainwashed, or jaded beyond reason. She handled the paperwork.
There was a terrible but short scene in this dream, but I won't describe it. I don't believe in giving others nightmares.
I needed rescuing, but the dream was my fault, and I was stuck in it. I didn't even try to wake myself up this time. It wasn't scary enough, but I needed some good thing to prevent it getting worse.
That good thing came in the sudden appearance of my parish priest at the long, rustic table in the dining room on the left. He was writing letters. I don't think he said one word to me or even gave me an examining look. He didn't speak with the doctors. He just seemed to own the table and the immediate space around it. And I was comforted. Even when a crowd of folks rang the doorbell and marched by the flimsy screen with outlandish, oversized utensils - massive sporks, serving forks and wicked-looking brass spoons - held high in their hands like picket signs. I just closed the screen on them and said, "no, thank you," repeatedly to whatever they were selling or thinking about doing.
I was back in Tennessee, but it wasn't pleasant. Sometimes when I dream about Tennessee, it's so friendly and lovely. It's exactly as it was, and it brings me joy. But sometimes I dream that people have built Starbucks or condominiums by the creek or in the woods on those 98 acres where I grew up, and I weep inconsolably.
In this dream, the little square house was gone, but the rooms as they had been were mapped out with stones. And there were lamps and other pathetic pieces of furniture strewn about to make a semblance of living space. People who lived there acted like it was no big deal to have no walls and no roof. That didn't make me sad; it just bewildered me and made me restless.
What saddened me was that the plants in the yard were all shriveled to the ground. Gone were the blackberry bushes and the peach tree at the back fence. Gone the honeysuckle hedge by the field gate. Gone the lush hibiscus at the corner of the porch. The dogwood and huge walnut tree in the front were chopped down. I kept roving with my eyes, looking for some hint of life left on the ground where they had been, wondering, If I pour water in the soil, will they come back? Surely if I water their stumps and lifeless tangle, they'll grow again?
A week ago my man was hanging out with some sweet, young dame with blond hair named Sue or Stephanie. Maybe her name was Stephanie Sue, and she went by Sue.
Anyhow, he danced an Irish jig in a public fountain in front of a bunch of people we knew just to impress her. He got soaked, and she smiled and giggled at him. And I was right there.
I demanded to know whether he liked her more than me, and he said yes like it was nothing. and obvious.
So I demanded to know why, and he answered, "You know telepathy, right?"
"Telepathy?" I repeated. "What does telepathy have to do with it?"
"Well, we can have a conversation without even talking."
I made a loud incredulous noise to show my disgust, though I was mad with jealousy and desperate. How can one fight telepathy?
She was a schoolteacher, and she invited him to Father's Day Tin in her classroom. It's like Mother's Day Tea, only the dads drink coffee out of tin cups. He went, the infatuated basturkey. And I followed him and Sue around, wondering what I was going to do about it all.
I woke up from this dream at approximately 2:36 am, mad as a rattlesnake. But I was going to forgive him if he spontaneously rolled over and wrapped his arms around me. He didn't. He lay on his side of the bed, jerking in sleep like he was having a perpetual charley horse. I wondered if he was dreaming about dancing that Irish jig for Sue. I felt like clobbering him. It took me an hour to go back to sleep.
In the morning I told him about my dream as soon as I thought his eyelids were fluttering. I angrily asked him what he'd been dreaming about, twitching in the middle of the night. He replied that he dreamed all his teeth were falling out. I said vehemently, "It serves you right!"
Writer's note: Not all my dreams are this vivid, lucky for you. It has been a productive week. Apparently, I've had a lot on my mind. Don't worry too much about the last one. My husband assures me that the dream was not his fault; he had nothing to do with it.
But I'm watchin' out for a gal named Sue. Any woman who could convince my man to do an Irish jig in a public fountain is no good.