Sunday, April 22, 2012

Dreams on a Sunday Morning

We don't always remember our dreams; when we do, it's often only for a short time, a few minutes in the middle of the night, breathing quietly in the silence; has anyone else seen this dream, we think? Do they know about it?
I dreamed about an old friend last night. Convoluted, as always; the location half-known, the intent of a drink (the dream took place in a pub) certain. The heat of another person, as opposed to the cold marble that comes later.
I have no photograph to record this time of my life, I have volumes of journals though. I have the pair of favourite jeans I always wore, they have followed me from apartment to apartment, along with the journals. I have every book we shared, recommended, gifted.
I have this, inside the cover of this book, on the first page, The Short Stories, by Ernest Hemingway:
"Sorry that I forgot to sign the book. I hope that I haven't brought you too much bad luck. Happy Birthday anyway! love, ________".
Love is underlined, on the inscription.
The birthday in question was my twenty-sixth. The year would have been 1999. {was it ever last century? was I ever twenty-six? These, I feel, are the questions that will haunt me in later life}.
I can't remember everything, but I remember certain things. I also know certain things. I know that I ruminated over that underlined word. And I know that I've never read the whole book, twleve years later, these stories of Hemingway.
Reading "The Forgotten Affairs of Youth" as I was earlier, in bed, there was a random mention of the Artful Dodger, an older man conniving a younger one. This was also the name of a pub we used to frequent, this discovery in my head giving me a jolt. Hence finding the Hemingway book, holding it in my hand, the only really 'real' thing left.
Now it's sitting here on my desk this morning since I went to collect it off the shelf to look at this very inscription, after waking, after my dream, after my moments of sadness and tears.  The grey morning, my hacking cough, my lethargy. It all got to me, I guess.

Years ago I made my first foray into fiction, a foray I still have (an attempt at chick-lit co-written with a friend of mine), I gave the manuscript, for lack of a better word, to my therapist to read. She was intrigued. It drew her in. At our next session she said, talking about the plot, "I hope no one dies!".
I hoped no one would die either, although the possibility had really never occurred to me.

A few days ago I had a conversation with Mike, on the phone.  I was telling him about my plans to add him as a co-beneficiary of my assets, things like life insurance, RRSP's, that sort of thing. Those things you think about after someone actually has died. His immediate response was
"But you're never dying, so none of it really matters".  And it struck me (continues to strike me, days later), that others have the same intangible fear that I have, about everyone they love, that terrible "what if..." that sentence we don't fill in. I don't, anyway. It was strange to me to exist outside my own head, if only for a minute.

This wasn't really the post I planned.  I planned more on something about how fast the weekend is going, how long my cold seems to be dragging on, but it didn't work out that way. What happened was that I started writing in the fawn-lark journal (oh--morning pages! does it count if it's been an hour or two since one awoke?) details about my dream.  The parts you don't share, the way people wriring memoirs must feel when they talk about the happenings in their lives, the real happenings, in no particular order, the way things play out in dreams. Scene-jumping, one minute you are in a pub, searching for a pint and a chardonnay, the next you are somewhere else, outside maybe, or in a bedroom, somewhere suspiciously familiar, but unknown.
For mere minutes or seconds at a time, unable to savour any real details, but absorbing them, to try and hold onto them, no matter how fleeting they may be, for later.

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