I never used to be able to remember the dreams I had while I was sleeping. I could remember dreaming. I could remember thinking while I was dreaming that I wanted to remember the dreams, but I couldn't remember what they were about. Only occasionally would a dream follow me into the waking state. Until, that is, I moved into Alegria. Since buying this house, I have remarkable recall of my dreams.
When I first moved in I had a series of nightmares. Now I'm not typically prone to nightmares, yet for the first few months they seemed to be all I had. I would wake up in the middle of the night filled with terror and not want to go back to sleep. Actually, this served me quite well, as I would get up and get stuff done. I was rather productive – if sleep-deprived – for a while.
After a couple of months, the nightmares stopped and I started dreaming about losing my shoes or getting lost in the wilderness. These dreams weren't scary as much as they were puzzling. I would wake up wondering what the heck was going on. Then I would go right back to sleep.
During the winter my dreams changed again. I started dreaming about finding treasure. In my basement. Under the carpet or in the walls. Once the treasure was in the downstairs bathroom sink drain. The worst part of these dreams was waking up to discover that I was, in fact, not suddenly stupid rich.
As the snow began to disappear, so did the treasure. I started dreaming about the library. I would go to work and discover that all the books were gone. Everything was exactly the way it should be, except the shelves were completely bare. The weird thing was that no one else seemed to notice. My staff, the board members and the patrons all behaved as if the books were still there. When I would say something to them about the fact that there were no books, they would just look at me like I had two heads and tell me not to be paranoid.
For a few weeks, I went on nocturnal, murderous rampages, killing people with a rusty pocket knife. But I wore the coolest costumes.
After that, I started dreaming about a certain someone standing in my back yard. My labyrinth was not there, but the yard was strewn with small boulders. I would ask this person to come in only to be told that he had to go somewhere, though he never left. The conversations were always the same – he would ask me to bring him things and I would invite him to get them, but he would just tell me that he had to go. So I brought him what he asked for and then go back inside and talk to him through the bedroom window. On one occasion he accused me of stealing his shoes, then told me that I was poisoning him and then cut my chest open so he could transplant my poisonous heart with a gold heart that my daughter had made and then disappeared into a burning building. It was weird.
For the last couple of weeks my dreams have been about my late husband. It's always the same: I get up in the morning and open the kitchen door to find him sitting on one of the chairs on my deck. I ask him what he's doing there and he tells me that he has something for me. When I ask him what it is, he just smiles and tells me that I'll like it and that it will be here soon. I then close the door and the dream ends.
Last night, I made a conscious decision that if the dream happened again I would not close the door. I've done this before and it usually works. I am often aware of the fact that I'm dreaming and can make choices during the dream, such as waking up if it gets frightening or ridiculous. This time I told myself to look out the window first and see if he was there.
He was. And he was reading a newspaper. The date on the newspaper was June 26, 2013; the day before my birthday next year, which, weirdly enough, happens to be a Wednesday, which happens to be the day that the paper comes out in Houston.
I opened the door, but instead of asking him what he was doing on my deck, I asked him what was in the paper? He tipped the paper so I could see it and there, in full colour, was a photo of me with my hair in an up-do wearing a....
wait for it...
… wedding dress!?
The good news was – if this is in any way a prophetic dream – I'm going to lose 20 lbs in the next 11 months.
“You're kidding, right?” I said.
“No,” he said.
“Who's the lucky fella?” I asked. There was no accompanying groom in the shot.
“Can't tell you,” he said.
“Is this the surprise you keep saying you have for me?” I really, really wanted to wake up.
“Could be,” he said.
I closed the door.
I don't put a lot of stock in dreams. I'm relatively sure that there is no real stock to put in them. Dream symbolism may be plausible, but I have never been able to associate anything in any of the dreams that I do remember with anything that is happening in my life in any way that makes any sense.
Now and then I do record my dreams and try to figure them out; look for patterns. I must not try hard enough, because, in the end, they are just dreams – odd and unfathomable images of events that are so far off the reality grid as to be... well, the stuff of dreams, I suppose. I mean I'm relatively sure that I will never don a fabulous medieval-style gown and stab people with a rusty knife. I can't see me tearing up my labyrinth and leaving rocks strewn around my back yard. It's highly unlikely that I'll ever be lost in the wilderness – with or without shoes. And I'm damn sure that I ain't getting married. Ever.
What does strike me about my dreams is that they do tend to repeat themselves over a period of time. Usually weeks, but sometimes months. And when I get tired of seeing the re-runs and decide to finish them off, they stop.
I did once have a series of recurring dreams that lasted for several years through my 20s about being back in high-school. They stopped when I went back to school and completed my dogwood. Okay, I can see a correlation there. But generally, the events and happenings in my dreams – recurring or otherwise – never add up to anything tangible. They don't lead me to some great discovery about my life. And they certainly don't come true. Though it wouldn't hurt my feelings to find diamonds in my drain! At least I could afford to pay the plumber. Unless he pocketed them, didn't tell me and billed me anyway. (Note to self: if you ever need a plumber to take apart a drain, watch him like a hawk.)
Well, it's my bed time. I'm going to crawl under the covers and spend a few pages adventuring with Ethan Gage in The Emerald Storm by William Dietrich. If, after that, I dream of my dead husband holding a picture of me in a wedding dress... well, I'll focus on how fabulous I look twenty pounds lighter and leave it at that.
Good night, all. Sweet dreams!