#253: DREAMING OF SAUSAGES AND AN INTRUDER, A SON'S SENSE OF FUTILITY, AND SOME LEE
I had the most vivid dream last night. I think I was able to remember it, because I woke up at 3:30 this morning and could not get back to sleep. The Pointy Stick People really got under my skin yesterday, and the wounds began to fester at 3:30 am.
But that is not the point. The point is that I had this long, involved, vivid dream that I remember from beginning to end. Also, it was cool.
The Fiery One and I left our apartment in Montreal to go for a walk in the middle of a warm winter night. We didn't know where to go or what would even be open at that hour, so we just wandered around for an hour or two. On our way home, we passed a vendor selling fat, greasy smokies. The Fiery One and I each bought one and split a half-loaf of bread to wrap around the meat. The air seemed festive, and when we ran into a few of our apartment neighbours on the way into our building, we all stopped to chatter and eat together before hurrying on our separate ways.
We ran up the darkened, narrow stairs to our apartment a few floors up, giggling and working our way through our sausages. I dropped mine in the dark, laughed, shrugged my shoulders, and decided to leave it rather than feel around for it on the floor. We ran into the apartment, threw ourselves into bed, turned off the light, and went directly to sleep.
I woke up a little while later. My head was fuzzy, so I stumbled out of bed intent on finding the last half of the smokie I had lost in the hallway. It wasn't until I was feeling around on the floor for the sausage that my head cleared, and I realized that I had neglected to put on my glasses. No wonder I couldn't see anything! I grabbed my now floor-linty sausage, brushed and picked off what I could make out, took a bite (it was such salty goodness), and headed back to our apartment to get my glasses.
Without my glasses and in my half-asleep state, though, the hallways proved to be difficult to navigate. I am terribly blind without my glasses, and especially so in the dark, so I was feeling my way along the walls and hoping to turn a more familiar corner. I found a door that very much resembled mine and pushed it open. There was a low light in the room, which I didn't remember turning on, but the bed was where it was supposed to be. I was relieved to have found my way back, because I was barely dressed and had been growing panicky wandering the halls in the dark by myself.
I put my hand on the shoulder of what should have been the Fiery One and then recoiled with that queasy sort of moment-of-discovery horror. I could tell right away that the person in the bed was not the Fiery One. The apartment was not my apartment. I wanted to run but knew that would be stupid, because I could hardly get around slowly let alone at top speed with my sight as bad as it was.
The person was a woman about my age. She reminded me a lot of my friend, Nightcrawler, but this woman was caucasian. Her black hair sat stiffly in a 1950s style, chin-length coif. Although she had just rolled over and sat up from sleeping, she wore a pair of cats' eye glasses and a sparkly silver and green vintage evening dress. After her initial confusion, she seemed not to mind my presence at all, and in fact, she seemed to take quite a liking to me. She began telling me a story about how she and her old professor had this torrid affair, and that evidence of the affair had come out in front of his wife at some semi-formal event, and then she had run into him again on this very night, and he had hinted at rekindling their old flame, but she thought that was a ridiculous idea, because what happened between them happened because she was a silly undergrad and he a handsome professor, and now she was a serious artist and he had gotten fat. I decided that she and I would have to be friends.
She agreed to show me back to my apartment. We found my apartment quickly, and she walked in moments ahead of me and found the Fiery One in the middle of what was quickly escalating into a violent break-in. While the intruder, a tall man with long sandy hair and beard, was ordering the Fiery One and my new friend to go and stand behind an overturned bed, I stole into the room, spied my glasses on a side table, and put them on. Everything came into sharp focus.
I scanned my eyes around the room, trying to figure out if there was any way for me to safely distract the intruder and free my comrades, but I could see that there was no way for me to do so without endangering at least one of us, so I ran out of the apartment. The man turned and saw me just as I was leaving, but he didn't come after me. He, too, had to choose his best course of action.
Now that I could see and the sun was starting to rise, I was able to run through the halls until I found an apartment with an unlocked door. I burst in and found the tenant, another woman around my age, standing in her kitchen and bracing her counter against what she thought was a physical attack on my part. I hurriedly assured her that I only needed her telephone to call the police for an emergency situation.
I heard the intruder running down the hall toward the apartment I was in, so I yelled at the woman to hide as best she could and prepared myself for a confrontation.
And there, thoughts of the Pointy Stick People invaded, and I woke up at 3:30 in the morning. I have been up ever since. Damn those Pointy Stick People.
Actually, no, I will not damn the Pointy Stick People. Today, they had all put their sticks down and were playing rather nicely.
A friend just showed me a photocopy of an assignment her son wrote for school. In answer to a question asking what his goals were for the future he answered that his goal was to have no goals, because if he had no goals, then he wouldn't be disappointed when none of them happened. That is so terrificly sad that an eleven-year-old boy feels such futility.
Aw, he reminds me of me at that age.
More Li-Young Lee
Stay away from phenylpropanolamine. It can cause strokes and is found in such non-prescription medications as Alka-Seltzer Plus Colds, BC Cold Powders, Comtrex Flu Therapy, Day & Night Contac 12-hour, Coricidin D, Dexatrims, Dimetapps, Naldecon DX, Permathene Mega-16, Robitussin CF, Tavist-D 12-hour, and Triaminics.