I had a dream. Not at all like the one Martin Luther King, jr. had. Actually, I’ve had lots of dreams. Haven’t we all? Missing a class. Forgetting where the class is located. Falling .. oh .. falling …. Showing up to work or school naked .. your teeth are falling out…fear of failing a test .. being chased .. the mind plays so many scenarios when it’s left to its own ramblings. How do you come up with these crazy ideas? Who writes these scenarios? Are we all really motion picture directors? And, how come we seldom remember them?
The dreams I seem to remember were recurring. And, as I look back. The all made quite a bit of sense. The most haunting dream went something like this … I lived with my family in a very large Victorian house. I might even describe it as huge. And, for some odd reason it was divided into two completely different homes. The left side was just a normal house. Living room, dining room, hallway, bedrooms, kitchen, bathroom .. the standard stuff. The furniture was simple and comfortable. The ceilings and lighting were bright. We pretty much lived the life of Dick and Jane. Everyone was loving, food was plentiful and life was good.
And, then there was the other side of the house. Nobody ever went over to the other side. It was dark. The front door was jammed. The rooms were furnished with couches and armchairs and rugs from the 1930s. I walked into that room once in a rare while. Looked around and left. Oh, I forgot to tell you the most bizarre thing about this “other side” of the house. The roof was totally decayed. The rafters were rotting. The black tar ceiling tiles were shredded and precariously hanging ready to fall at the next drop of rain. While i was never there during a rainstorm, it was clear it poured right through into the house.
I owned the house. I lived there for many years. I continued to visit that side of the house. But, I never talked about it with my family. And, I never attempted to fix the roof or call a roofer. I always woke up in a cold sweat.
It took me a good while to figure out what this nightmare was all about .. until I stepped back and looked at my career. I owned my own business. We produced TV spots and corporate marketing films. It was what one would call a “project shop”. You hunted for work. And, after many attempts, you landed a job. You produced it and handed over the final product to the client. The very next thing that crossed my mind was, Oh, I guess I’m out of business. So, I went back on the hunt for the next job. Sometimes it came fast. Sometimes I waited months for the next project. Fear set in as time passed. How would I pay my bills? It was a career path I chose. When the good times were good, they were great. And, when the bad times were bad … the ceiling was falling.
And, then I retired. And, so did the dream…
I also had another recurring dream that haunted me for many years. When I was 19 I was drafted into the US Army. When my draft notice arrived my Dad said something I never heard him say before. “Oh, fuck.” My mother immediately called her brothers and sister in Montreal to see if I could move in with one of them. Since I didn’t really have a plan for my life, I figured “how bad could this be?” I was young and didn’t have a clue what to make of this situation.
The first four months were miserable. The worst days of my life. Being bossed around. Being told to do things I didn’t want to do. Being told what kind of job I would have for the next few years. Being told where to live. It all totally sucked. But, I hunkered down and 23 months and ten days passed pretty soon. (I was released slightly early to start college for the Fall Semester). On the lasl day I collected my DD214 (Honorable Discharge). It was my ticket to freedom.
About ten years later I had a dream. A letter in the mail. It was another draft notice. I opened it. I was to report to Ft. Hamilton in Brooklyn in two weeks. I screamed .. YOU’VE GOT TO FUCKING KIIDDING ME! I gave my two years. LEAVE ME ALONE! And, then I woke up in a cold sweat. I’m not sure why this dream ended but I’m sure glad it did.
“Are you sure this isn’t a nightmare? And that we won’t just wake up?
Because dreamers always wake up and leave their monsters behind.”
― Alexandra Bracken,In The Afterlight