I’ve been getting weird lucid dreams lately. Really weird.
Take, for example, last night. I dreamed that my mother – gone for a number of years now – was lying on her bed in our old house, looking quite youthful. I’d say she appeared to be in her 40s. She propped up her head on a bent hand and elbow and looked me square in the eye. “I’ve met someone,” she said rather airily. “He’s quite different.”
In the dream, it occurred to me I still had a father, with whom Mom was still married. Yet, he was nowhere to be found. Mom gazed over and said, “Now, here he is.” And in comes some guy who looked nothing like my father, wearing a plain polo shirt with these pants that had rectangles of cartoonish pictures all over them. He stood about average height, brown hair and eyes, with a thick brown mustache. He gave me a long gaze but not an unfriendly one. Rather, he seemed a bit surprised I was there. Mom smiled and this stranger gave my mother a kiss on the lips. I felt rather uncomfortable, like I was intruding. Then I felt like I should be accepting. I still didn’t know where my father was, or what happened to him. I asked Mom where she met this interloper. She said she saw him by a neighbor’s porch…
…and then I woke up.
Which was annoying, because I wanted to know how this whole thing turned out. I felt angry with my mother, who obviously was betraying my father. Of course that’s ridiculous. Both have exited this astral plane and are off doing whatever one does there. Still, it left me feeling weird.
I often dream about getting on a train, destination variable. As I search for a seat, they’re all squished up, broken or taken. The train never stops where it’s supposed to. The stairs leading down to it often wind up ending at the wrong track. Or if it turns out to be the right train headed in the right direction, I still wind up getting lost.
Oh, and there’s the elevator dreams. As they ascend they become unstable, shaking and rattling to the point of queasiness. Somehow I get off in one piece, in a place that’s either incredibly familiar or frightfully foreign. I get on in an office building and exit in the middle of London.
Planes, too, have a similar effect. I’ve dreamt about many an emergency landing but landed safely. The pilot assures us we’re going to be okay, even though he’s taken off and landed a thousand times. Or we wind up in some strange place, like in the middle of a city. The plane crashed, we’re all fine, then we go shopping.
One dream I constantly revisit is The House. I’ve been in it many a time. The bottom floor is a typical Victorian-style house with a nice yard surrounding it. Then as I wander deeper inside, it seems endless with rooms. With each step on the stairway, the house gets shabbier and shakier. The attic’s thin wooden floors appear fragile, dangerous. It doesn’t stop me from walking across them, though my heart races. No one’s chasing me. I’m almost always alone.
A riff off of the house dream is The Shore House. I grew up at the Jersey Shore, so it’s my former house in this series of dreams. I’ll step outside and head to the beach. Its white sands and warm water appears inviting. I’ll swim in it for awhile, until the undertow makes it almost impossible. The tide comes in. Waves grow exponentially in size and strength, curling in anger, ultimately engulfing the shore. Our house is defenseless; the waves crash right though the windows in this dreamscape. Since our house was a block and a half away from the beach, it spells the end of its abilities to protect us.
[In real life, Sandy nearly did take away our house. It destroyed my brother’s. And if you went up to the beach after Sandy had her way with things, you’d see the ocean reclaimed a few of those properties. Blank stilts stood naked in the ground, the former house destroyed by the angry sea.]
As you can see, all of these dreams have a common theme – uncertainty. I just can’t depend on what I know to be true, because nothing is. Whatever I’ve believed in turns out to be false. Whatever I’ve seen as truth turns out to be veiled in shadow. Digging harder to figure things out only makes it worse. Then I wake up as the dream retreats, leaving me befuddled, wondering what my subconscious is trying to do to me.
Then again, I do experience wistful dreams. These, I never want to end.
I’m with my parents again, enjoying their company. Maybe my aunt and uncle will show up, too. Even my grandpa. Everything lies ahead, there’s no limits to anything. Dad no longer has Alzheimer’s. Mom’s thyroid issues are gone. She sings, Dad smiles. I’m their little girl again, we’re at home, making dinner, sitting around, folding clothes. I feel their love surrounding me, warming me, assuring me it’ll all be okay, don’t worry.
These dreams are so ordinary, so simple…like a videotape parade of memories. These dreams bring tears, but happiness too. For those few moments, we’re together. We’re a family again. They never left; they’ve just went into another place. I’d like to believe it’s really them, gazing down from the heavens, reminding me there’s still looking out for me.
But if nothing else, my parents and departed family will live on not only in my dreams, but in my heart.