Sometimes I'm thoroughly entertained by the subject matter of my dreams, their landscape or the amazing detail and vivid color conjured up while I sleep. There are rare times when I truly appreciate how cohesive is the story told by my unconscious mind. I'm impressed!
I fall into dreaming very quickly, even when I nap. I remember quite a few of them when I awake in the morning. If he's very lucky, my husband will escape a retelling.
This morning I couldn't resist.
Last night I found myself in the large room of a university or public building erected in dreamland. The rich blue of its walls was such that I remember thinking I would love to see it in my dining room. On those deeply hued walls were sophisticated paintings in ornate frames. I had just been listening to a lecture on art or historical artifacts (a little vague, I know, but isn't the memory of all lectures so?) given by a lean older gentleman in dress shirt, tie and slacks. Getting up from a long, heavy table lined with wooden chairs, a group of us approached the doors to leave. It was then that I heard the music for "Moon River" playing over the speaker system. As I often do with beloved tunes, I began to boldly sing the lyrics aloud to match the melody.
It wasn't but a line or two before I heard a man's voice harmonizing with my own, and I turned and saw the gentleman lecturer behind his desk at the end of the room, singing and staring back at me behind wire-rimmed spectacles. He came around his desk and held out his arms in such a way, one extended high with flat palm and one making a lower curve, that I understood an invitation to dance with him. In a serendipitous move worthy of the silver screen, we met in the middle of the room and sang our duet as we danced to the haunting music. Smiling, he guided me around the large space.
Abruptly, as we glided about, his teeth began to fall out, and he quickly pushed them back in. At first I was startled, but I decided I didn't mind the awkwardness, not really; he was such a smooth dancer and so debonair, even gray-haired and careful in his movements as he was.
I think my mind was making a connection of a strange sort in that charming little dream.
A couple of days ago, on Veteran's Day, I read a story of mine to my kids, one based on something that happened to my family at Christmas decades ago. It's a work my dad has encouraged me to look at again for years, but I've long been afraid to reexamine it, convinced it needed to be thoroughly retold, become more sophisticated than the simple tale it was.
The manuscript I read with my kids was one of my earliest ones, written before my marriage more than fifteen years ago. It was missing 50 pages, including the conclusion, but it surprised me. I had been a more capable writer than I remembered. I joked with my kids that I was a better writer then than I am now! How does that happen?
What gratified me the most, however, was how raptly my children, two of them already gifted writers, listened to this little book I began writing at 17 years old. My eldest son hushed his little brother repeatedly so that he could hear and give feedback periodically, and my older daughter went and retrieved a favorite pillow to hug as she snuggled with me and the tale progressed.
I had to contend with a few tears - my own. Reading details based on the struggles my family experienced during our lives in Tennessee overwhelmed me, more so because I had not really thought about those hardships in years and the great love and faith that carried us through them.
What was the connection to my little dream? Who was the old gentleman with whom I danced?
He represents my story, the one my husband read before we were even engaged, the ending of which he loved and perhaps made him more willing to fall for me.
It has come around to waltz with me after these many years, pulling me into the romance of following a dream whose strength and charm I had forgotten. It's got some loose teeth, yes, but I believe once more that wherever this story is going, I'm going its way.
It's where my heart has always has been.