Dreams are why I write. I love to capture them. Sometimes I wonder if dreams are more directly connected to our lives than we think. I’m not sure what that would mean for me. I’m sure my dreams rank right up there with being as crazy as anyone’s. But they seem so real and often so intense, I’m sure they are real. I find myself being someone else almost as often as not, and a lot of the time I realize when I wake up, I had no idea who I was.
This morning I dreamed I was an old man, not very tall, about five feet seven maybe. I had long flowing white hair, skin that was overly bronzed from too much sun, and a lot of wrinkles on my wrists and hands. I was leading someone from a room full of people like a cafeteria, down a hallway and out into a gravel parking lot. “You’re not gonna shoot us, are you Mister?” he said. It’s funny, I don’t remember at all what he looked like. Only that he had on a striped T-shirt and he was very afraid of me. I didn’t have a gun. “No I ain’t gonna shoot you,” I said. I pushed him through the door at the end of the hall. “They are.”
The parking lot had several cars parked in it. Their occupants were all standing grouped together, almost all of them carrying weapons and two with automatic rifles. There was a row of hostages bound and gagged lined up on their knees with their backs turned to the group. A young Hispanic man with a handgun who seemed to be the leader, yelled something at me waving his gun, and I pushed my victim down the stairs where a girl grabbed his arm and dragged him off toward the others. He screamed not to kill him, but my ears refused to hear any more. I didn’t want any part of this violence, but I was in fear for my own life and my cooperation was keeping me alive.
The parking lot was next to a hotel that had a big circular driveway that wrapped around a swimming pool with tall palm trees along either side of the drive. The pool was really more like a pond that had a diving board, and there were ducks all over, some in the pool and many on the bank. I excused myself from the massacre to walk over by the pool. The leader yelled something angrily at me, but the girl and her boyfriend agreed to go with me and keep an eye on me so we left together.
There was one kind of duck that was not like the others at all. It was very colorful, bright yellow with a red head and neck that when it puffed itself up would swell up and completely surround the head, giving the appearance that it had turned itself inside out. I commented about the ducks but the young couple were kissing and ignoring me as we walked along. I walked around the side of the pool and stared in and two of the yellow and red ducks jumped from one of the trees above my head. One of them nearly hit me and I turned to look up.
Craning my head up caused my mouth to open and I felt a sharp pain as something hit my teeth very hard. I spit it out into my hand and stared at it, a small square ceramic tile that had turquoise and green glaze on one side of it. I closed my hand around it and looked back up again, half expecting them to rain from the sky, but there was nothing and there was no place the tile could have fallen from.
I lagged about as long as I could and then the young couple insisted we had to go back now. It was almost dark and I had a plan for my escape. At one end of the parking lot, just past where all the hostages now lay dead, there was a narrow pathway through what looked almost like a corn maze. I knew there was a small field behind that led up back behind the hotel to a fence where I could make my getaway through the back yards of a nearby residential area. As soon as no one was looking I slipped through as quietly as I could and then ran for my life. I hopped through a long succession of back yards before finally stopping exhausted to curl up and go to sleep inside a red, yellow, blue and green, snap-together toddlers’ fort on an enclosed porch where I wouldn’t be too cold.
The sound of forks against plates and the smell of sausage woke me up. I peeked up from my hiding place and realized the porch belonged to a friend. I could see him in the kitchen through the back door screen, eating his breakfast and he saw me too. I wasn’t an old man with white hair anymore. I was a young black boy as was my friend in the kitchen. “What the hell, you doin’ there, Charlie?” He slapped his fork down on his plate. I jumped up and raced into the kitchen. “Shut up!” I said in a loud whisper. “You can’t tell no one I was here, ya hear? You can’t tell no one you saw me. You gotta promise me okay?” I was telling him as much for his own safety as mine. He knew a couple of the people in that gang. “Not nobody,” I said, “not a soul.” Just then a motorcycle pulled up and the guy riding it was the cousin of the Hispanic guy with the pistol. “I wasn’t here, you didn’t see nothing!” I jumped off the porch through his back yard and through another succession of them.
The yards got more and more difficult to cross through. I was myself now, running through the yards, but still running from the same gang. I surprised one elderly couple when I had to open the doors through their sun glass veranda, but they just sort of stared as I ran through. Eventually I cut around the side of a house and down a curved narrow hedge-lined path where I found my way blocked by a black-haired lady watering a garden of geraniums. “Excuse me Ma’am,” I reached out and grabbed her hips and scooted her forward and out my way. “Oh!” she cried. She sprayed the water straight up in the air and some of it rained down on us. “Um, I don’t think I’m very comfortable with you being my yard like this young lady,” she said. I turned and smiled at her politely. “You needn’t worry, Ma’am. I promise I won’t be in it one second longer than necessary. I started into her yard and found myself surrounded by huge moss-covered stone walls with no way out except the way I came.
Like any dream there was so much more. I could describe many of the yards in great detail. I passed several places that were connected to other dreams I have had. And of course I could have a lot of fun speculating about symbolism and what it all means. But I think this is enough to satisfy me for now, good enough to be my first post.
© 2010 Anne Schilde