I couldn't get to sleep
. I didn't get up yesterday morning until it wasn't morning anymore, but noon. I knew that even though Byzantine
had come back from drill, even though I'd been cooking most of the early evening while talking to discofever
on the phone from Tulsa, I was due for a long night. At first I tried to sleep. I gave up after an hour of turning and made some tea, read a few pages of a book I am reading called A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius
by David Eggers
. I got online, talked to piq
for a while, wrote an email to David Eggers telling him about E2
, that for some reason he should check out the site. I tried to fall asleep again at 1 but likely didn't actually fall asleep until 2. The following took 3 hours.
I am at my parent's house, which has land all around it. Land broken up in the oddest ways, at the oddest angles. My parents, in real life, have never had a house, but in the dream, I am still living there; I never left in this version. I am younger, maybe a teenager, and so I am bumbling about more than I would now. My hair is long, as it was then but not now. It was late night or early morning, and a man had come calling about buying any of the property that my parents owned. The man was short and squat and had a small, fat mustache and thick glasses. I walked out there with him. At the back of the house there is an alley, above which there was a single streetlight that was not illuminated. I was outside (the man had not yet come out) when all of a sudden, the light came on. This light looked broken to me, so I asked the man how he did that, how he made the light come on. He said he hadn't done anything.
Outside there was a small, swollen and overgrown row of vegetables. Some trucks and tractors parked haphazardly in the dirt. Looked like a farm. When we walked back inside, the house was oddly illuminated by small dim florescent lights like the kind my mother actually had used in many of the apartment kitchens where I grew up fearing the dark. I was frantically trying to find a business card of my parents' that had a current phone number, but all I seemed to find were old ones bearing the Maryland numbers of all the failed businesses my father had in real life. The box where I was looking seemed to contain more slips of simple paper with numbers written in my mother's lazy hand than actual business cards. I was intent to find business cards. Then my father emerged from their bedroom, young and gaunt, the way he looked before he quit smoking when I was 9 or so. He seemed annoyed that the man was there so early, and I felt a sudden wave of shame that I hadn't been able to do a better job of showing him around, but at the same time my father seemed to know that this house was unfamiliar to me, that in truth I had never seen it before.
I was narrating a sad documentary about my own neighborhood, only it's not the one where I am currently living. I narrated in a hushed voice, like the boy in the movie Gummo. I said, "This is Alphabet City. It was once a busy place, with lots of things happening. Now, people don't talk. They fear that if they speak, hope will die and this will be how all places that were once bustling like this one will end up like this place." As I spoke, people were frozen in their activities: a man drinking from an aluminum can a Pepsi with a logo from the 80's. A bus still on the curve of an off ramp. I said, "None of these homes are paid for anymore, abandoned, but people still live here." The houses, all in rows, were like the shotgun apartments that were common in New Orleans even now. Everyone that was frozen in time was black. While I could hear my own whispering voice, I could not see myself in the dream. I was only a voice floating over the still frame of the scene, people stopped in mid motion. I was the only voice.
I woke with a start when my alarm went off at 5am, just a little while ago. I ate some raspberry granola with soy milk and then I spooned half a cup of apple apricot sauce. The time I spent sleeping seemed to fly. Part of me wanted to get back into the dream. Part of me wished I hadn't dreamt it. It was simply too real.