Friday, August 24, 2012

Dreams, Stories, Films

One of the things I miss most about Mom is our morning dream debriefing. She dreamed like I do- surreal patchworks of oddities, nightmares that didn't seem scary at all in the describing, and dark horrors that were like movies we just watched with mild interest. Shane rarely recalls his dreams, and Molly doesn't like to talk first thing about hers, not that it's appropriate to share mine with her yet.

 Lately, I've been so tired and medicated that I've been dreaming normal things with an obvious source. It's disappointing to admit I dreamed I met Orlando Bloom after falling asleep watching Lord of the Rings. It’s lame to be 36 years old and have a celebrity boy crush dream, but more I’m just annoyed my dreaming brain is lazy. And so this morning I was very happy to wake with a proper surreal science fiction story whole in my mind.

A Dream Story

I’ve never met my best friend. We connected in cyberspace, after the term had aged out of coolness but just before the web and our real lives had merged so seamlessly. We were using an old weblogging platform to write our lives, and we were both in early pregnancy when we met. A friendship conceived when our children were grew as they did, and now Alexis and her little Remy and her husband Mike feel like family to me. Then it sounded a bit odd to admit I had a soul mate I’d never met face to face, but now it’s understood that we form relationships through this no-longer-new media. Then the tools became an intuitive and necessary extension of our minds.

Now is a new world, a new planet. Like my family, Alexis' has relocated here. Sadly, just as in our world, our families are states apart and we haven't met face to face, though we remain close. We speak more often on the phone now, and I haven't seen any computers. Possibly the new government, The Bureaucracy, doesn't allow them. Things are idyllic here. There are rolling hills and only a few homes on each road. Shane and Molly and I live with an extended family that are vaguely related to us and new to me. There's a matriarch who makes my mother's french toast and perfect coffee. It's a comfortable and huge farm house of a dwelling. The size of the kitchen the Matriarch shoos me from is large enough for dining in and the vast shelves and cupboards are full.

Soon, I discover that there is an invisible wormhole in the middle of our unpaved road. When I cross the street, I arrive at Lexie's street and we're both delighted to see that we are now neighbors for practical purposes. Molly and her son Remy are around three, and shyly they begin to explore the still-new home together. I meet Mike for the first time, and I hug him with the tentative hug that says: We both know we are family-tight friends by association, though we don't know each other yet. After a joyful afternoon, my daughter and I start across the road.

We puzzle for a moment because the way home, the wormhole, is invisible. Oh- There! A puddle is iced over in the hot summer sun. We stand on the ice carefully, and then we're transported with a violent lurch. And then we settle, and the view is our little hill.

We walk to the tiny shack that is home. It's empty, and it's only the two us. Shane is gone, a memory long since scarred over. The Bureaucracy has a hefty welfare program, and I know we'll have plenty to eat soon though at the moment the tiny kitchen holds just a bit of food. We are strong, and we'll be fine. I look forward to visiting Alexis and her family very soon. She's my dearest, my strength. My closest neighbor is Ellen, whom we've known for so many years. She's my sister, as good as. She looks after us too. In fact, she brings baby Jane to visit today and brings lunch. We talk about William, and I'm happy she still has a husband, though she is calling him a new name. Not Will or Billy, not a familiar name, but I can't remember it. I invite Ellen and Jane to come with us to visit Alexis and Remy and Mike. Ellen is wary, a little, of traveling through the warp, but she agrees.

It's fun watching them meet. They've each heard a lot about the other. Ellen seems amused by Lexie's aesthetic; Her home and clothes more flamboyantly bohemian than mine. Alexis has her dreadlocks glittering with beads and jewels. Ellen's style is simpler and more traditional. She enjoys my friends, though, and we have a cocktail. It's a warm and friendly visit, talking about motherhood while the children play. All of the kids are five or six years old.

When the loud, singing children tire out, Ellen and I walk the girls across the road. The way is easy- stepping through the warp is seamless. Ellen and Jane have gone home, and Molly and I walk up the hill to our place.

Her Daddy's waiting, handsome and golden in the sunshine. He's smiling mischievously in front of our small but shining minimalist home. As we approach, I see he has keys and then I see that the car is new. He sweeps up Molly, and I start toward the passenger side. He shakes his head, and I see that he means this to be my first lesson. I'm nervous but excited, and open the driver's door. He reminds me there are fewer obstacles up there than on the ground, and so I buckle in and we rise. The hover car flight is giddy and dizzy and wonderful. I can't wait to tell Alexis I drove one. I don't think I really believed they were real until I piloted one myself. I'm practically skipping across the road for our next visit.

She's combing out her hair! We giggle like teenage girls as she explains how she removed the locks, and I admire the long, long dark golden hair. It's very pretty, and very different. Does she live alone? Maybe. Remy and Mike aren't there and it's not remarkable. We're visiting more often, and I'm blasé about the wormhole trip now.

I walk back alone across the warp and the dirt road. The big country house is full of people, and the telephone rings. I answer, and a frightened young man tells me he's accidentally wrecked into my sister's car. Trinity is dead. My husband (I don't speak his name and I don't need it. He's my partner; doesn't need a name. We use affectionate terms) rushes to me, and hushes the children. He helps me make calls to Gregory and my other siblings and I go about the business like I did when our mother died, knowing I'll fall apart later.

I'll go to Alexis' to tell her and seek comfort.

"How many kids do you have this time?" She has three, and her smile is crinkled with more laugh lines. I ask, "Mike?" and she laughs, "Yes. You?" I tell her "Shane. For now. And just Molly. Newborn." Then I whisper worriedly, "Are you ever married to someone different?" and she smiles soothingly: "Of course." But I have to go. The Bureaucracy doesn't allow long visits. They'll be checking. We hug each other tightly.

The next time there's no time for family talk and catching up. The war is coming, we are sure. There must be a war, we hope. Surely there is a resistance. We speak furtively, in hurried whispers.

This time we are both grieving. There are no children. They haven't been born, but we both know there were visits when we each had our child. The men are at war. We are both helping pass communications along through the resistance. We both look and feel awful.

Things are shining and both families of three are familiar. Alexis' family's condo is neat, clean lines and bright, large windows. The men are still in their uniforms from their offices at The Bureaucracy. The toddlers are playing quietly. Mike and Shane are sipping from brandy snifters and discussing the problematic relationship of their wives with a condescending, relaxed tone. The looks she and I exchange are much more serious. Grave.

This time it's worse for us, each being alone. The past lives as happy mothers are tearing at us. She and I tend to be off in time as well- she's far older; I'm younger this time. It's meaningless to us, though. Age is time and time, we have broken. All that matters is to find a way to fix us in time, with our children and husbands safe with us.

I flash in to her, eyes wide and sleepless. I look for Remy. No. I go.

I have Molly, she has Remy. We hold their small hands in twin steel grips. We can't hold. Time flips with a clicking, whipping sound like a broken reel of film.

I'm older than I've ever been. Long gray hair in a pile. My husband is young, 40. I know what must be done, and we walk across the road to explain. He helps me manage the hill, then the pitted road. "'We are like two magnets, both ends a positive charge. We push things apart. We aren't supposed to be together," I explain to a young Lexie. Shane gives me a twinkly grin. "I could have told you that. You may as well be the same person." He doesn't understand the necessity of solving this. But the insight is just a philosophy. Changes nothing.

Next visit it's just us in the room. The son and the daughter and the two spouses are alive and safe but aren't with us. The war rages loudly outside. The windows rattle and we are terrified. Then we take deep, fortifying breaths in unison. We clasp hands and the sound muffles and drops away. We walk into the warp together.

It's over.

And then after I was properly awake, I remembered reading a while into the quiet night with my girl sleeping softly at my side, long after wizard story time was finished. I remembered that Goliath from Fragile Things was the last thing I read. It's a story from The Matrix universe that I'd never seen. Gaiman was commissioned to write it for the movie's website years ago. So the plot isn't mine, not really. But the storytelling is mine and having a sad, scary 'feature dream' made me feel like myself again, even if Neil & the Matrix incepted me. And no, the sister named Trinity didn’t immediately tip me off to my stolen dream: My brain is conditioned to work at minimum, lizard brain levels until the coffee. But I was out of coffee, so I had to make tea. And this furthered my vague feeling that my brain was disturbingly obsessed with Mr. Gaiman because while my kettle whistled I thought of the perfect tea Amanda wrote about making for the flash mob wedding to Neil.

Thanks & creative joy to
  • The Wachowskis and Neil Gaiman for flawless storytelling (Matrix Revolutions Never. Ever. Happened. It Didn't.)
  • Alexis Yael and "Ellen" for being real life sisters who follow me to dreams.
  • To Lexie and Water-Brother-Not-Lexie's-Husband-Mike for editing and feedback. 
  • and to Lana Wachowski & Alexis for providing gorgeous vicarious dreadlocked hair for a pixie-buzzed woman to enjoy.
  • for the incredible anticipation I now have for Cloud Atlas and Neil's new Sandman storyline.

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