It always fascinates me how certain things show up in my dreams over and over again, with no apparent reason behind them. Obviously, there is one, but search me what it is.
I dream about train stations. I don’t know why. I’ve looked them up in the dream dictionaries. None of that crap applies to me. Subways, railways, elevated… historic or futuristic… it doesn’t matter. I dream about them. Sometimes, there are people; sometimes I’m alone. Sometimes I know where I’m going; sometimes I’m just there. Sometimes there are trains and sometimes I get on them.
Descending the escalator into the station, I’m immediately overwhelmed by the jumble of corridors, an underground labyrinth in which I will assuredly be lost. Where am I? Crap! I’m already lost!
Overhead I can hear the roaring turbines of a commercial jet as it taxies down a runway. The signs appearing now on the ceiling as I sink slowly beneath them show myriads of destinations and departure/arrival times. Crappy techno music assaults my ears. Unending announcements in a droning robotic voice echo through the corridors like electronic nasal congestion.
I hate this station. Three tiers of Traveler’s Hell. The only way to get from one area in the airport to another is through the nest of subway terminals beneath it, a spider-web of confusion every time I go through. And I’ve been through way too many times.
I’m standing forlorn at the boarding gate. Steam belches up from the powerful black locomotive as its engine coughs, and the heavy drumming of its pistons climbs. It’s leaving and I’m staying. Stephen is on board that train now and there’s nothing left for me to cling to. I belong on that train. I feel I do. I belong with him.
The whistle blows loud and shrill, curdling my blood like a banshee’s wail. Two more coughs of steam, and the steady chug, chug as the engine lurches forward, slowly at first. I watch helplessly, arms wrapped tighter and tighter around my chest with each chug, as the giant metal monster steals my love from me.
At last, I stand alone in the empty hall, staring into the past. The angry reminder of petroleum grease and pitch wafts up from the tracks below, to mingle with the sickly sweet mixture of coal and iron in the steam.
I follow Diane through the giant glass doors of the station. Bright sunshine gives way to the dimly lit building and I have trouble seeing. She’s pushing ahead at an impossible pace, but calling out to her is pointless in the crowd of people bustling past each other in both directions. I can see the gate ahead and she’s nearly at it.
Diane has my ticket. If I lose her, I can’t board the train. Someone steps on my toe and I trip a little. Damn it! These are nice shoes! I look down to inspect the damage and next to my foot is a piece of paper. It’s a ticket for the train. I pick it up and blink in disbelief. “Anne Schilde,” it says on the receipt. It’s my ticket!
My hackles raise. Diane is nowhere in sight now. She’s trying to keep me off the train! Isn’t she going to be surprised when I show up in my seat! Only I’m suddenly stuck in a stampede of people funneling through one tiny turnstile, while the attendant stops someone with an invalid ticket.
“Don’t lose your ticket,” you reminded me. I double-check it as I’m walking down the steps at the station. BART access included, it reads, and the fare balance looks correct.
The new high-speed subway, non-stop to San Francisco, won’t be leaving New York for another twenty minutes, so I have time to kill. Karen and Wendy are already in the waiting area according to the text message, and I can picture them huddled over Wendy’s laptop.
I pass a group of three blonde ladies huddled together chatting. A little blonde girl, about seven or eight, lies sprawled on the ground next to them with her arms and legs bent unnaturally as if she’s fallen unconscious, but the ladies don’t seem to care. I’m about to stop and help when the little girl sees me watching her and smiles at me.
What crazy thing always shows up in your dreams?
© 2012 Anne Schilde