Thursday, April 01, 2010

In Dreams I Walk (and Fly and Sail and Ride) With You

Crazy, crazy dreams last night. Probably (no, definitely) had too many cinnamon crack balls before bed.

First up, I’m in a plane with pals Andy & Jeff. We’re the only passengers on the small airplane, and for some reason we learn that the pilot’s evil. (I don’t think he’s a terrorist in the sense we have in this century; he’s more like a Bond villain henchman.) So, we make our way to the front of the plane (it’s not a commercial flight, there’s no door between the cabin and the cockpit) and we fight the guy, throwing him out of the plane and into the ocean. Not that we know how to fly it. And not that there will soon be much of a plane to fly, given that our scuffle (with guns and knives and a decisive thunk with a fire extinguisher) has somehow damaged the structural integrity of the plane, and the cabin and wings are peeling apart as it drops out of the sky.

We land in the water, and somehow we’re able to keep the plane afloat and moving, even as the water continues to damage what is now the boat. And then we take the boat into New York Harbor, and up into the streets of the city, as we’re somehow able to balance the thing on its two landing wheels. We drive through the city, and photographers are taking all sorts of pictures of us, because of our amazing emergency landing/sea voyage/driving a boatplane, but also because I have lost my pants.

Yep, it’s a dream, all right.

Then another dream. I’m looking for Jeff, planning to have dinner with him. (I am again in pants, by the way.) Then, just as I see him in some distant food court, he calls me on my cell phone and tells me my cover has been compromised. So I go wandering through a deserted college campus with a box of lo mein. The only other person I could see was a security guard walking her rounds.

And then I meet an old friend—actually a giant of a guy I just met in the last six months or so, but here he is an old, old friend—and we continue walking down the melancholy streets. Then, a sweet girl I knew back in college joins us. And the three of us start talking a little about the times we had together, all of us a little sadly. And then the fourth member of our quartet shows up, a girl I went on a date with some thirteen years ago, but here she is another old friend. And I know that she is dead, and has been dead for a long time. And that is why we four friends no longer hang out together.

But we have that night, walking through empty streets and parking lots. One of us, the giant, spots a cardboard box full of clothes outside of a boutique, and pulls out a tattered sweater so big that all four of us could fit into it at once. This is our next Halloween costume, he says—a four-headed axe murderer. And we talk about it and negotiate who gets to put their arms through the arm-holes, and how we’ll all be able to drink what we want at the party, with only two arms for four heads. We resolve to practice.

And then, on a little hill between parking lots, the dead girl, Lora, sings a song. I can’t do justice to it here. It’s a light, flighty song about the insistence of existence.

It begins “Shining like an arrow in your bow,” and ends “You might think I wasn’t, but I was.” And when her song ends, it becomes clear that the four of us never hung out together, were never a group of friends. Our memories are constructed. All of it is false, from top to bottom. Even Lora is alive somewhere, and not dead and returned for this night.

Except her song is true: We might think she wasn’t, but she was. Somewhere, these four people, who do not know each other here, were connected. But even in that place, they could not hold together any longer.

This wasn’t the sort of dream I usually have, where I wake up, laugh it off, and move on with my day. I woke thinking that history was fluid, and that I could be in many places at once: Here in the life I know, and another place, and others beyond that. I felt like universes had revealed themselves to me in a dead girl’s song.



Rude said...

you have been watching too much lost.

Rob S. said...

Oh, man -- I've had alternate universes in my head since what was probably my third comic book, Tom. I'm glad to see the concept turning up on Lost, but it's far deeper in my DNA than that, believe me.

Rude said...

I was just saying with the plane crash and all...
that being said - I am picturing a young rob (bob back then) in his "I'm a legend in my own mind" tshirt thinking up worlds of orks and haflings.
Also while I'm on the subject I think of you every time emma asks to go on pbskids.ork.
love you brother!

tim m said...

My dreams are more vivid (like this) when I'm really tired. But, they are almost always weird.