Monday, August 27, 2007

Requiem for a dream...

An intermission in Kenya/Uganda story time.

At the conclusion of one of those maddening work days in which it seems like everything went frustratingly wrong, I returned to Scott's house. For what seemed like the first time in quite some time, I didn't have anything that necessarily needed done tonight, and there wasn't anyone that I just had to see. I had an open schedule, so to speak.

Though only 5PM -- early by most standards -- I was wiped. I surrendered. Succumbing to the idea that I'd catch twelve blissful hours of sleep, I headed upstairs to my (decidedly temporary) bedroom and laid with a book I've been meaning to finish since Nairobi.

I'd only read perhaps twenty pages when the urge became too great. I lofted the book to the floor, turned over to face the (cancerous) wall, and departed the world.

Just moments ago, I awoke -- only two hours later. I had a dream -- a wonderful, enthralling, believable dream. But I woke up. Seriously -- I'm feeling sad because I woke up, and it turns out that the little reality my mind had created for me isn't real. (I think I'd make an ideal candidate for heroin addict.)

To wit, my dream:

We (and we are many -- perhaps a dozen mid-twenties to early-thirties singles) lived in a huge old victorian home that had been converted to apartments. The halls were enormous and efficient and echoed the constant tip-top of inexpensive but stylish heels and the shuffling of white-socked feet and giggles and lovers' quarrels and plans being made. It felt like home, despite it being shared.

In the fading twilight, a group of six or so of us decided to go out and play. Play in the sense that you went out to play as a kid. The excitement was palpable. We rushed to the grand park of our gated neighborhood -- which seemed only to encompass our house and another, similar mansion (but darker, and perhaps a bit more brooding.) Reaching it, we decided that we'd play with our 'powers.'
Now, I'm not one to have 'superpower' dreams... in fact, I can't remember ever having had one before... but I suppose this one qualifies. Neither I nor anyone else's power was altogether 'super', but we did have abilities that are impossible in the waking world.
My 'power' was an effete sort of magnetism that could, when I focused really, really hard, affect objects within maybe an arm's reach.

I sat atop a fence surrounding the park, watching others run, laughing, back and forth before me. In the wan illumination of a very few streetlights, I counted happy young people playing tag and sharks and minnows and Hot Lava! amid the park's dark green, rubber-coated swings and monkey bars and slides and seesaws.

I turned to my left and saw -- sitting near me and also on the fence -- the object of my quiet adoration. I felt my heart swell as I took in her silhouette. God, she was so beautiful... I've known her for so long, and I've been little closer to her than 'friend.' She is brilliantly smart... she is overtly caustic but truly caring beneath the veneer... she... I love her. I love her, and I can feel it in me.

She gave me a wry, impish smile, and I understood that she wanted to play with me. She was close enough, I decided. I focused my mind, intensely. I felt the rush of blood to my temples, and I heard the whoosh-whoosh of my pulse behind by eardrums. I clenched my hands and drew the circle of my vision in, tighter and tighter until it collapsed, flashing an utter black before I was presented the world again in grey-relief.

The pendant on Mila's necklace lifted from between her breasts and began floating towards me, straining against its simple gold chain. The countless painted bangles she wore on her right wrist all shuffled to the top of her hand, collecting tightly and slowly causing her arm to raise, pointing at me. Her hair softly lifted at the ends, as though I'd rubbed a balloon over her scalp. Giggling, she jumped from her perch atop the fence and tore off through the park.

I ran as fast as I could, following her as she twisted in and out of trees and towards the other old home in our neighborhood, a dark but unexpectedly unfrightening (and mostly vacant) hospice-care home occupied by aged people and a couple well-intentioned lunatics.

Somehow, she'd given me the slip, so I searched for her along hedgelines and behind locked sheds and around the trellised porch. I crept over to the stairway leading up to the porch when suddenly Mila flew right by me -- flew -- atop a saucer, like the kind you'd ride in the snow. She'd apparently got in the thing and tried to surf the rail alongside the stairs down to the yard from the porch. Somehow, she became oriented all crooked-y, and she landed half on her back, her delicate, feminine hands white-knuckling the saucer's sides as she made her impact. I heard a sharp crack amid the muffled thud of her collision with the ground, and she took in her breath suddenly as though the wind had been knocked out of her.

I raced to her side, Mila now free of the disk and laying sprawled, her hair in disarray, and noticed a deep look of fear exploding from behind her otherwise placid brown eyes. "I broke my back, Justin," she said, not timidly. She began turning over to her side, drawing one hand as if to point, saying, "... right here.." I softly grasped one shoulder and made her return to her previous position.

"Sweetheart, I don't know... it was a nasty fall, and I'm sure it hurts... but it's unlikely you broke your back. You're hurt, yes, but maybe something's just out of whack, like a slipped vertebrae or something... given that you just moved around a little... from what I understand, if your back was broken, you probably wouldn't be able to move like that..."

"Maybe," she replied, hesitantly but clearly accepting my care, "... okay. But it really hurts." Tears welled up in her eyes, and she took one of my hands with hers, clenching it... through which I felt a connection -- a charge of emotion -- that told me that maybe -- just maybe -- she loved me, too.

I gave her hand a soft squeeze and said, "I'll take care of you, love." She understood. I felt the true weight of love descend over me... I felt compassion and responsibility in equal measure. She was mine, now, and I would take care of her.

I left her side, insisting that she remain still, and raced up the stairs, where I ordered someone to go inside and bring back a stretcher or something similar. Without question, he ran into the building and shortly returned with an enormous gurney, made strangely of thick green plastic. It didn't have corners; instead its edges were formed by soft, rolled-up extensions of the green, gritty stuff. Super-super-ergonomic. It was so wide in expanse that were it not for the indentation offering accommodation to only one, surely three or four patients could lay side-by-side in comfort. Very strange.

I pushed it from behind, crashing down the steps towards Mila. Once I'd reached her, I pushed down with my foot on some sort of lever, and it collapsed to ground-level, at which point three or four of our playmates had gathered and assisted me in getting her on top of it. "Just to be careful," I told her, as I brought the safety belts from under the bed and across her delicate frame and snugly locked her into position.

Someone had taken her shoes off, leaving her insanely cute socked feet exposed to the now chilled night air. Magically, a small blanket appeared, and I placed it over her. She drew into the tightest of fetal positions -- despite the safety restraints, and balled up for warmth and comfort and (as it seemed to me) in a sign of her contentedness with my care. I pinched the blanket between her body and the gurney, making sure to wrap her feet like a burrito -- I don't want those toes escaping, I thought with a smile.

All set, I lifted the gurney back up with the depression of another lever, and I began pushing her back towards our house, which sat at the bottom of a significant hill from where we were. I began guiding more than pushing as the bed and my precious Mila picked up speed, but I was absolutely confident that I wouldn't make a mistake, despite the cries of "Justin, be careful!" from the group we'd just left. I pushed at the gurney's corners with just enough force and at precisely all the right times to avoid obstacles and race ever faster towards our own front door.

The end.

p.s. I am aware that there is definitely some sort of depravity to be found in dreaming about being in love with a celebrity. Sue me. (Though I think it is what she represents, rather than she as a person with which I was/am in love.)


somebody else's hero said...

Sounds like someone needs to get out and play more. Not always easy when there is so much stress around. That's one reason I just got the hell out of the house last night and said 'to hell with my routine', which is usually ESPN, the gym and then sitting down to write. It was nice, and it was essentially a date, and it was fun, and I needed to get out and play, too.

As for the Mila, well, as I said last night, she is remarkable and reminds me of the single and very hot Serbian doctor/massage therapist I ran into Sunday at Kiss Cafe. Something about foreign blood and dark features and curvy girls -- I just can't help it.

Adam said...

What kind of a monster would actually divide such a beautiful thing as an actual Victorian mansion? Besides Soviets in the 1920s, of course.

I adore the fact that you used the word "sweetheart" and the phrase "slipped vertebrae" in the same sentence.