If my dreams grew on trees I would probably run out of them. Fortunately they do not grow on trees. I like the concept that dreams represent the mind's way of dumping the random minutae and detritus having accumulated from a day's worth of consciousness. If this is the case, I am a walking Islip. I remember far too much.
What often strikes me is how seemingly insignificant things pop-up in my dreams, things I experienced then immediately forgot. Last weekend I drove to Chicago with a friend. It had been warm when we left St. Louis but through the windows of the car it seemed windy and possibly chilly in Chicago. At a stoplight downtown I glanced to my left and noticed a group of people standing on the corner waiting for the light to change. One girl wore a pair of cut-off blue jeans. She didn't look exceedingly warm, but she wasn't shivering. I turned to my friend and told him that it probably wasn't too cold outside; we could get by with a jacket or a sweater. I thought nothing more of that crowd of people and our conversation.
Three backpack straps cross my arms on each side. I have three backpacks on my back. Instinctively I turn to face my shadow. I see my arms and legs, but my shoulders, neck and head have merged with a giant shadow of the things I carry on my back, rods, odd lumps that I presume must be blankets, sharp delineated edges that may be boxes of food or canteens.
Perhaps I am to go hiking even though I just woke up. I wonder how cold it is outside. Should I be cold just standing here in a tank top and shorts with no shoes? I turn to look behind me. I see a crowd of people standing by a drug store with a facade of a log cabin. One girl has on a pair of cut-off blue jeans. She looks warm enough. She is talking casually to someone beside her. When the light changes they cross the street and continue away from me. I assume it must be warm. I don't need to change my clothes.
I turn around again and find that I now sit on my bicycle. I had wanted to change it for a mountain bike when I first arrived. The skinny tires won't fare at all well on the trails. I stand on the pedals and gently manuver it to the edge of the ditch. I hop it over the curb, but the wheels land in a funny position and the bike throws me over the handlebars in a wide parabolic arc, an arc so wide that I sail over two buildings and land on the other side.
I don't land on my feet, but when I stand I notice that my shadow no longer shows the outline of the backpacks. I brush the dirt off my arms and walk inside the building. The front of the building has a large porch with wooden rockers and tables on it. The main door leads to a corridor from which sprout various stores and stalls. I see a diner immediately to my right. The sign over the open door says, 'Daisy-flaun Restaurant' with yellow letters on a stained wooden bord. I stick my head in to take a peek and see if I know anyone inside. A line of young men dressed in victorian garb sit near the window as they read the morning newpaper. Many of them are smoking pipes and cigarettes. A few have put down their papers to eat breakfast. For a moment I think I am looking at a line of steam boats along the docks in New Orleans. A women in a pink and white checkered polyester apron calls out to me. She asks me if I want any coffee. I tell her no. She tells me to go to the back sauna along the hallway. Two gentlemen are waiting for me there.
I wander slowly along the hallway. The rooms all appear to be empty. In each room the floor falls abruptly away from the door, at least four feet beneath the door. Some rooms just have the drop- off. In others the room has been filled with what I think is water.
In the last room on the right I find two men swiming around the room. They laugh and splashing each other while pushing off the walls, kicking from side to side. One fellow has slick black hair and an angular face. His fingernails are long. I know him. The other man is older, perhaps in his late thirties and has a greying moustache. I have never seen him before. I stand in the doorway for a bit until the first man notices me. He stops swimming and stares at me for a moment. I know he has blue-grey eyes and I know that he might well be looking through me. He throws his head back with a loud laugh and beckons for me to jump in the pool. He introduces the other man as, 'my friend Jassren the flirroptorer.' Jassren speaks with a foreign accent as though from the middle-east.
I jump in the water and sink immediately. The fluid is far less dense than water. I struggle to kick my way to surface but pushing off from the bottom does nothing more than jumping in air. I cannot jump high enough to reach the surface.
I see Jassren extend a hand in my direction. I take it and he pulls me to the surface. The first man has swam around with his back facing me. I run my arms under his armpits and around to the top of his shoulders. He is telling me that the fluid is lighter than water . . it has beneficial qualities for one's health . . it takes some time to get used to floating in it, and that requires a certain amount of body fat to be able to do so. . . I pinch his neck and tell him to stop accusing me of being too skinny.
He laughs warmly and with a deepened voice that sends pleasant vibrations through his torso. 'Ahhh .. we know just where to fatten you up, don't we Jassren . . ' Jassren agees whole-heartedly. He swims over to a wall and grasps and handle to catch his breath then swims back out to the middle while treading water. He tells me of the food served in the Daisy-flaun Restaurant, of the other places to eat in town. After our swim we will certainly feast, but I don't want to feast, not yet, I am perfectly happy where I am.