I had a nightmare last night. It was so frightening to me that my entire body shook, one tremor so deep, it was felt from head to toe. That, combined with the moaning in terror, woke me and it was then that I noticed the wee Spike had moved and that he was looking at me as if he didn’t know me. This is what terror does to people: it makes them unrecognizable.
In my nightmare, I was dressed in a hospital gown and was locked in the courthouse, the Supreme Court building in New Westminster no less. I was seated in the bathroom doing what most people do when they’re seated in a bathroom. There was a window next to the toilet but it had these greyish-yellow drapes, drapes that prevented me from being seen but through which I could see the hallway on the other side. Beside that window, a door, a door no one ever used and for some strange reason was never locked. Still, no one ever came or left through that door, not even myself, or even attempted a sideways glance at it. I often wondered about that. It was as if I was not really there. How composed, I thought, how dedicated were these people, to not even give in to the urge that must have been there, to glance at the door which held me. Of course, I could have left at any time. The option was there; the door, open. Truth is, deep down, I was afraid of the consequences. I was terrified of being found guilty of this crime I was unaware of having committed. I had assumed that the people who worked here, the judges, court clerks, records clerks, were good, decent law-abiding people and that I was safe here. I was in good hands. This was, of course, a belief that was about to expire as most beliefs do, in a very ugly fashion.
I was aware that this day was the day of my release. I had been here, held captive, while the government examined and studied and tried to poke holes in my reason for existence. I had no idea what it was I was supposed to have done, what crime I had supposedly committed, but they must have. They were responsible to me during my stay, providing me with meals, a television, cleaning my room (which, in this dream, was a black empty area fading into nothingness, over there, across from the toilet.) and offering me books to read. The books contained large, glossy photos of wildlife: polar bears on northern ice, giraffes galloping across an open African plain, toucans completely incapable of camouflage poised in Amazonian trees. I couldn’t get enough; I looked at these photos for hours. I imagined the smell of the crisp northern air, the shrill squawk of the toucan in his leafy home. That was all there was, really, to my life: these photos…and, this bathroom.
Staff entered my area from the other side of the bathroom, opposite the window. I had looked in this adjacent room several times, in my bare feet, shuffling along the walls for a few feet before heading back. I thought no one had ever suspected; I didn’t know my every movement was recorded. I don’t recall feeling anything at all about my stay here, only this constant excitement inside, an inner satisfaction, barely containing my pleasure at the thought of my imminent release. Today.
On this most important day I was perched on the closed toilet lid, watching the comings and goings of courthouse staff. I did this most days and I was pleased that no one could ever see me. But on this day, and all of a sudden, someone detoured from their hallway route and walked right through my door, right into my bathroom. I was so surprised I almost fell off the toilet. I was also immediately afraid. This felt so not good. The woman, a total stranger to me, was bent at the knees crouching, as if she were about to spring to attack me. I found her stance absurd and almost burst out laughing. In fact, everything about this moment was absurd. Absurd and horrifying. I knew what was coming. In that moment I knew they would never let me leave.
She lunged at me and I pushed her. I pushed her and I ran. I ran around the corner and in and out of the rows of book shelves that stood in the room next to mine. As I ran, the room became lighter and I could hear the sound of people talking and their heels on the hard-waxed floor. All of a sudden, it was as if I burst onto the scene and people stopped walking and talking. They stopped dead in their tracks, shocked at the sight of me sweating, wild-haired, arms held out in front (for protection and to keep my hospital gown from falling off the front of me).
“I never touched her! I pushed her, that’s all!” I shouted and my shouts echoed and bounced off the walls of this huge place.
The moment these words left my lips, I regretted saying them. I knew that, to these people, this self-righteous bunch, I HAD touched her. Oh yes. I had touched her and now it was too late. I was never leaving this place and that dark, dead thought covered the whole of me, like thick, black smoke, even before the unknown woman whom I had pushed came around the corner with a small but nevertheless bleeding gash on her cheek wearing only her slip, now torn, her whole look disheveled. I had done this. I had indeed touched her, anyone could see that. Her finger pointed straight at me and she cried out with a shaking voice, “Grab her! She attacked me!”
I began to fight sleep at this point, and swam for the surface of the real world. But not before I frightened my wee dog and kicked the life that had escaped my body into a dark corner of that cavernous room as they dragged me by my arms back to my room.
Then, I was awake. Awake and glad to be awake.
I comforted Spike, who by now was whimpering slightly and checked the time. 3:05 am. Too early to get up but I didn’t want to go back to sleep until I felt sure that I wasn’t going back there.
I realized my son was up, getting a drink of water, himself unable to sleep. We didn’t speak but I felt very comforted by his presence and fell asleep almost immediately after seeing him.
I began to dream again, but…wow…strange.
I was working for Gene Simmons and Shannon Tweed, tutoring their son (who was blonde and about 7 years old, and also a genius). Shannon wanted Gene to fire me. Her exact words to Gene were, “Yeah, all you need is someone ELSE relying on you.” I really didn’t want to be involved. So, I walked out of their home, my youngest daughter in tow who was about 7 years old as well, stole a firetruck that was parked at the side of the road, drove down the road, was suddenly driving in the other direction (aren’t dreams cool?), pulled a 360 in someone’s front yard, managing to run over a small child who was covered in grass and dirt (which, incidentally saved his life and was a set of circumstances the authorities never questioned but ones I wondered about) before returning the firetruck, which I parallel parked easily.
Upon questioning, I denied knowing why I stole the truck, and because the child had survived with nary a scratch, it wasn’t even pursued. I was helped out of the firetruck by a handsome fire fighter, his hand in mine. Damn, that firetruck was my chariot.
K, I’m going to take a shower.