Only a Dream

Have you ever had a dream so vivid and so real that it had scents and sights and sounds?  Colors and textures and even the kiss of sunshine and a soft breeze blowing on your face?  Have you ever had a dream so real you find yourself wondering if maybe it’s really a memory?  I had a dream like that Sunday morning.

Despite the fresh breeze and the wonderful pine-scented air, the crunch of dry grass beneath my feet and the smoky smell of fall in the air, I know I was only dreaming.  The colors were vivid. The golden, orange, and brown leaves on the maple trees were gorgeous.  The hill I climbed was steep and I was breathing hard.  The air was cool and clean and crisp.  I turned and enjoyed a panoramic view of the countryside.  I was alone.

My eyes traced the path I had walked along the river, across the wide, winding meadow and up the hill to the base of the trees.  That’s when I noticed the woman not ten feet from me.  I was too startled to speak.  How could I have not seen her approaching?  And why was she dressed so inapproriately?

Her hair was like sunshine, golden with brilliant glints of red and it cascaded past her shoulders.  Her eyes were as blue as the sky.  It was her dress that caught my attention though.  Radiant and white it shimmered around her like no cloth I had ever seen.  She came up to me with a smile on her face and knelt by my side.  That’s when I realized I was lying down.  She put her hands on my shoulders and helped me up.

Neither of us spoke as we turned to walk up the hill together.  My steps felt lighter than air.  I looked down and saw my body below me on the ground.  I stopped and looked at the woman beside me.  Only then did I notice her wings.

We stood side-by-side, this angel and I, several feet above the ground. Still I didn’t speak, but I turned back toward my body.  The angel held my arm.  “Come,” she said.  “Jesus is waiting.”

I wanted to go with her, but I couldn’t leave my body.  “I can’t be dead.  Charley will be upset.”

“He isn’t your problem anymore,” the angel said.

“But I love him,” I told her.  “I can’t stand the thought of his pain.”

Again the angel said, “Jesus is waiting.”

I started to go with her, then stopped again.  “I want to see Jesus,” I said.  “But I am not ready to be dead yet.”

And suddenly I was sitting in my bed.  I could still smell the meadow and feel the sunshine on my face — as real as a memory.  But it can’t be a memory because if it were, I would be dead, wouldn’t I?

Driving Me to Dream

I am quite worried about Amoeba.  Last night in the dream world* I inhabit after lights out, he came home with the world’s largest egg carton — roughly the size of an 8 x 10 room, which he handed to me and asked me to hold.  I did.  And then he said, “Bring it over here.”  I did.  He contemplated and said, “No, no.  Move it over there.”  And I did.

I moved that 8 x 10 egg carton room mere milimeters, and I moved it miles.  At one point, he had me balance it on top of the car and drive it to the other side of the island.  I held it on the roof with one hand and drove with the other.  That was really awkward, so I finally pulled the car over and decided to just drive the box.  Amoeba told me that first I had to get cheap full coverage car insurance. I pointed out the the box didn’t look much like a car. We folded it into car shape. I called the insurance company and in no time at all they faxed a policy to Amoeba’s cell phone.

Once on the other side of the island, Amoeba found the perfect spot for the cardboard room, but it was no longer a room, it was a car and, apparently once you turn a room into a car, you can’t turn it back again. Amoeba was quite upset with me. I told him that I thought egg carton houses and egg carton cars were impractical anyway and as soon as it rained they would disintegrate.  That made Amoeba so mad he started beeping frantically and wouldn’t stop until I stumbled out of bed and turned the alarm off.

*Note: strange dreams are common for people who have sleep apnea.  Also note, I am not really worried about Amoeba on this side of dreamland.

Never Leave Home Without Them — Even in Your Dreams

The video must be playing as you read:

The morning was bathed in sunshine and music as my dad, my step-son, and I went to visit an elderly couple who lived at the very edge of the world on top of a high cliff. We were delivering food because they were past the age of climbing up and down the cliff themselves.  As we climbed the cliff my dad did not appear to change, but I grew younger and my step-son grew older.  At the top of the cliff, he and my dad were peers, and I was just a child.

The old couple greeted us. The house was full of dogs. There was also a skunk.  The dogs greeted me with much joy and I petted them. The skunk sprayed the couch and left. I declined to sit down. No one else seemed to mind the offense. I asked for permission to wait outside. It was denied.

The house was one gigantic room.  It was filthy.  Dad pulled from his pocket  a huge mound of fish fillets which he placed on a big white square of butcher paper at the end of the service island separating the kitchen from the rest of the house.  The old lady offered to cook the fish.  Dad agreed.

When I said the house was filthy, I meant the kitchen, too.  There were no clean dishes and I realized that if I was to eat there, something needed to be done.  I cleaned the kitchen.  I scrubbed and scrapped and soaped and boiled.  Soon that part of the house sparkled.  The fish still sat, unwrapped and unrefrigerated, on the end of the counter.  The woman of the house said that since I had finally finished (implying that I was quite slow) she would now cook dinner, because lunch time was long past.

Happily, Dad announced that we had to leave.  He and my step-son stood and walked to the door.  The dogs started barking and howling and wailing.  It was awful.  I made a beeline for the door.  The old man told Dad I couldn’t leave until I returned the dog pacifier.

Dad grabbed me by the arm and demanded I return the dogs’ toy.   I told Dad I hadn’t seen the dog’s pacifier. He told me he knew that, but I needed to find it anyway or we’d never be able to leave.  Suddenly my step-son morphed from adult to teen.  He and I were magically the same age.  He was annoyed because I had turned a simple fish delivery into an all day drama.

I searched the house.  I moved furniture, swept floors and cleaned away filth.  I sorted through old newspapers and magazines.  I emptied ashtrays piled high with butts and ashes.  (Since we had been there all day those were probably my father’s.) I picked up steak bones and food debris from under chairs and cushions.  The entire time I cleaned, the old couple stood in the kitchen scowling at me.  The dogs lined up on the couch barking and snarling, and my dad and step-brother stood shoulder-to-shoulder blocking the only door.

Suddenly Amoeba pushed past Dad and my step-son and entered the room.  He walked straight to me.  I got up from the floor and stood to face him.  He said, “Where have you been?  I’ve been waiting hours.  You said you wouldn’t be gone long!”

I was dirty, tired, ready to cry — and some how, amazingly, my adult self.  I told Amoeba.  “They won’t let me leave until I find the dog’s pacifier.  They say I lost it.”

“Did you?” Amoeba asked.

I burst into tears and told him I never saw the dog’s pacifier and I didn’t think there had ever been a dog’s pacifier there to begin with. Amoeba put his left arm around me and let me cry on his shoulder.  He dipped his right hand into his coat pocket and pulled out a fist full of dog pacifiers.  He handed one to the old lady, then he gave one to each of the dogs.  The dogs promptly chewed the pacifiers up and swallowed them.  “I never thought of looking there!” I wailed.

Amoeba turned me around and we walked out the door between my dad and my step-son.  As we walked down the stairs and crossed the lawn toward the cliff trail, I said to Amoeba.  “I love you so much.  Thank you for rescuing me!  How did you know to bring dog pacifiers?”

Amoeba frowned at me and shook his head.  “Hon, don’t you know? One never visits strangers without taking dog pacifiers.”

We stopped at the edge of the cliff and looked back over our shoulders.  I could smell fish frying.  The sunset glowed red over the house. As we turned and started down the cliff-trail, the music slowly faded.

Mine!

Most of you know I worked four jobs this past year.  I didn’t do it because I am a glutten for punishment.  I did it because I wanted something that wouldn’t fit into my normal budget.  Therefore, I had to find a way to finance it outside my budget, and I am not delusional enough to think buying things on credit makes that possible.

Here is what I ran myself ragged for — mine at last.  A Gateway Notebook PC with a 15.4″ ultra-bright screen, Intel-Pentium Dual Core Mobile Processor, 120 GB hard drive, 1024 MB RAM,  CD & DVD readable and rewritable; with the Vista Home Premium operating system.

I would hug it and kiss it, but I don’t want to touch that shiny aluminum case.  Ain’t it purdy?

Mine. Mine. Mine. Mine. Mine. Mine. Mine. Mine. Mine.

Too Much

At the end of each work day I am so tired, it is all I can do to drag myself into the house and package the eBay products that sold during the day. Then I list a few more — and suddenly the evening is shot and I am crawling into bed for a few hours sleep before something jerks me awake.

Sunday afternoon I stumbled into my room for a nap. My head hurt. My eyes burned. I needed sleep.

I fell across my bed and collapsed. Fifteen minutes later I heard shouting and cursing. It sounded close. Too close. In my yard close. I rolled off the bed and looked out the window. Some dude was trying to climb the chain-link fence that surrounds my backyard. It’s a low fence and I think he would have made it easily if it weren’t for the two cops holding on to him.

They lifted the guy off the fence and spread him across the hood of my car. Lovely. They spent about an hour in my driveway before they tucked him in their car and rolled away. After that I couldn’t get to sleep. Every little noise would jerk me to wakefulness, and I had terrifying dreams.

Monday at school we had the annual 5th grade barbecue. Hot dogs, sodas, kickball and 104F heat. I drug my butt home to a huge number of sales — that’s not a complaint, but I had to work rather then rest — and no air conditioning. I called the office and they had someone here within 20 minutes. He looked at the swamp cooler and told me it was an easy fix. All it needed was a new drive belt. That was the good news. The bad news was, he didn’t have one and since it was after 5, he couldn’t get one until morning.

So, I suffered through packaging and listing in 104F temps with no air. Luckily I do have a small unit in my bedroom window and it kept my bedroom cool enough that I could sleep — but again I had those horrid dreams. Cops, sirens, screaming, guns — I don’t need to watch TV, it’s all right there behind my eye-lids.

I need sleep. I need rest. I need school to be over.

Today we had the practice culmination ceremony. Traditionally at the end of the program I take the mic and introduce the outgoing students to their parents as next year’s sixth graders, and the graduating class of ____ (add seven to the current date). Today — at practice — I stepped up to the mic, had the kids stand and face where the audience will be — and couldn’t speak. My throat closed up. Tears filmed my eyes. I realized there is no way I am going to be able to do this for real on Thursday without seriously crying.

Usually the year end ceremony makes me a bit misty, but this is for real. This is good-bye. They won’t be bopping into my room next year to sit on the table and tell me about life in sixth grade. I won’t be there.

Please don’t get me wrong, I am looking very much forward to the next phase in my life, but while looking so earnestly ahead, I forgot how very much I hate saying good-bye.