Saturday, June 4, 2016

Dream No. 12688

"I gasp and hold my breath
These needs have changed so deep
To face you all and say
I've been awake for... Ever... Ever... Ever... Ever..."

I guess we had done this a few times before, and I only say that because I seem to remember vaguely a routine where we could run through that great big three story house that was in technically suburbia but really on the edge of an urban area I couldn't really say where, that great three story house, where we would break in, and then run up the crescent winding to the right, soft-carpeted white staircase, then rush through the long, thin hallway to the master bedroom, zoom, hit the wall with the tips of my fingers because my momentum was too great as I rushed to keep up with him, at his feet, and then past and through the walk-in closet to the secret room and the opening that led to the roof (I think they used to keep a pool table in that secret space but it's been gone for awhile now).  From the roof, we could skip past the air vents to the trash shoot, that was previously unused and it was a good escape route because it was always clean.  On times past, we would grab the bar above the shoot and fly down, it was a very long fall, like the water slide ride at Magic Mountain Hurricane Harbor, with that slight point of time where you feel measurably weightless, frightful, as your body succumbs to nature, leapt up from the metal, for a couple seconds of time your heart skips a beat and you feel suddenly destructible, like this might not end well, but all in all it was manageable and somehow we would always survive and skip out at the bottom again, to run off.  A relatively pointless mission, but we did it often.

This last time though when we made the run through, something was different right away.  I felt like we were being chased and I wanted to keep up with him but he was faster than before.  We ran through the front door and into the house but the house wasn't empty this time; there was furniture around and clothes hanging up and then a Latina woman emerged from some room in the house upon our entry, and she looked horrified.  I could tell she lived in the house, and she seemed distraught about us being there, bursting in and running up her stairs.  I tried to say something to her, words of apology or simple mitigation, but I asphyxiated on what I should say.  Instead I just ran harder and rushed up the stairs after him; he was already up the first flight of crescent, leaning right staircase, so I ignored the distressed woman and put all my energy into running.  By this time, my heart was racing not just because of the cardio activity but also because I thought for sure she would call the cops and I hate being interrogated about events I have participated in without any good excuse or reason why.

So finally we got to the bedroom, he was first because he is faster and a bike racer, and I only run amateurishly on a semi-broken treadmill that avidly attempts to injure me.  Immediately, I saw a child playing on the floor; it then occurred to me that this place had been bought; it was not abandoned as we had thought.  I paused for a second, debating on whether I should explain myself, but he was way ahead of me by this time and through the closet and probably out the door, and I again pictured having to explain all this to the disbelieving cops so instead of stopping, I ran on through the closet.  Unlike before, this time the clothing flapped and whacked at me as I ran through the secret room toward the roof and trash shoot. 

The Latina lady we saw moments before suddenly appeared in the closet next to me as I pushed somewhat frantically through the mess of clothing blocking me from the escape to the roof.  Instead of bellowing insults or threats of calling the cops, she said nothing, seeming to understand completely that she bought a house that was previously used for escape routes.  I could tell she didn't like it but she definitely understood it.  Her scorn was only half-menacing and more just like “woe is me” for not reading the comments better or learning this real estate fact from honest due diligence; she seemed to resign herself to understand that this same thing might happen to her on numerous occasions.  It is easier to accept bad luck than stew over it.

By the time I emerged outside from the secret closet doorway, there was a bright white of sunshine late morning and it forced me to squint my eyes, like Sunday mornings in San Diego after the time change in spring, that 11am middle morning sun of early March reflecting off of water and concrete.  As soon as my eyes adjusted, I saw another lady on the roof and my companion was almost to the trash shoot.  He looked back at me and nodded, not like a boyfriend and not like a friend, but the nod of someone sort of in between, and I felt myself reeling from indecision as I ran over and watched him take off down the shoot like we had done so many times before. 

The lady on the roof, different from the owner of the house, got to the trash shoot before me and sent her refuse down, before turning her head and shaking it at me, to connote I should be ashamed, or I should feel something, and I kind of wanted to ask her what I should feel because she had the look of being old and wise, but I figured her answer would be condescending so I just ignored her multiple looks of chagrin and came to reconcile that we had been using the trash shoot in different ways and that was okay.

But it wasn't okay.  When I got to the shoot, I looked down and saw all the traces of trash, black grime and pieces of indefinable gross, perhaps once organic substances lodged in the crevices that could get on me and streaked down the side of the metal sheets in disgusting threes, and then all I could think about was how all this shit was going to stick to my clothes.  I cringed as I thought about all the trash that goes down that shoot on a daily basis now that people lived in the house but it did not fully dissuade me because my confusing companion already made the move down and I was still afraid that the cops might not be far behind. 

Instead of dwelling on all the probably terrifying things that saw their end in that trash shoot, I took the bag that lady just stuffed in, turned it inside out, letting the garbage fall where it may, then I used it as a buffer to plunge through, much like a kid uses a burlap sack down a swift fair slide, caution to the wind style.  While I am and will always be sure of nothing, I do not possess any real fears (my only fears are imaginary things that cause me to twist and turn in nightmare-style indecision like static channels that kind of have pictures and words if you are brave enough to really squint your eyes and listen) and that makes me both powerful and damaged.  But when it comes to action, I'm usually full in.

So I leapt in the shoot with nothing to lose, and the fall down was basically kind of like I expected, but with a somewhat longer hang time of heart-dropping terror than I had described earlier, just long enough to make me slightly panic, but the shooting pangs receded when I landed completely fine.  When I looked up, there he was at the bottom, just waiting for me, with a smile on his face, trying to be all reassuring, and I guess I found myself thinking again, maybe he liked me as more than just a friend.  Then he nodded his head and said “C’mon, let’s go, I want to take you somewhere."

And he's off again and I followed him to an elevator where he clicked the “up” button, claiming he wanted to show me something.  I am not typically scared of heights, in fact, I am never scared of heights.  But I recalled then how in other dream states, elevators had always seemed to malfunction in some unnerving way; they would become unpredictable, breakable, shakable entrapments, like the time when I was in the Empire State Building elevator and it decided to shoot up past one hundred and two floors and just keep going high into the air, making me prepare for that crash I always somehow miraculously survived.  There was also that time I was in my apartment elevator in downtown LA and it did not have any walls and it was just a platform rushing up to the fifteenth story, too easy to just fall off, fall down, and almost die but then again, somehow I always survived.  But this time, the problem was very different.

I got in the elevator despite my concerns because this guy I have spoken of assured me of its safety and also told me that I would really want to see the cool view at the very top and I am a sucker for a cool view.  So we traveled up, up, up to the top floor and I realized then it was like the top of an Empire State-like building, with radio towers and pointy, somewhat lofty little hardly sturdy perches to stand on and look out.   We walked off the elevator and I wasn't really scared and actually I was kind of exhilarated and wanted to take some pictures but then my phone instantly dropped from my shallow short’s pocket and I couldn't rescue it with my numbed out reflexes, so I only watched helplessly as it fell to the little landing below us, which might as well have been a million miles away.

I heard a miserable little crack and I cringed again for the second time.  The idea of retrieval did not even cross my mind; I thought of the phone as gone forever.  It made me super bummed out too because I knew I would have to replace my phone, which would cost upwards of $500; I didn’t buy the worthless little insurance plan.  But that wasn't the worst part.  The worst part was that I had not recently saved any of my pictures and I had earlier that day taken a picture of a caterpillar I found on the ground that looked a lot like Heimlich, and I was amazed by it and I had plans to juxtapose a cartoon figure of Heimlich next to it and send it to some friends to show the resemblance.  I had taken about twenty colored photos, all cute and artistic, of this caterpillar, showing off its wild bright colors of greens and blues and reds, and now all of that was dead, died with my phone, and even though I could still see it on the ledge below, I was in full blown defeatist mode. Nothing would cheer me up.  

I was so mad about the tragedy of my phone and my companion was trying to console me and also encourage me to enjoy the view, but all I could think about was my lost phone down there and how even if someone tried to call it, it was on “Do Not Disturb,” with that little moon, so they wouldn't be able to get through.  But then amidst all this kind of moody, moping around on my part, he suddenly started climbing down the metal beams, presumably to rescue my phone, and I began thinking 'oh man be careful,' and then I was thinking 'dang, maybe he does want more because a friend is not going to risk his life to rescue a phone for just some random friend girl …' and this idea continued to plague my mind as I watched him work his way down to the next floor ledge, and grab my phone.

When he handed it up to me, I was thrilled for two reasons:  This meant that he was into me and he got my phone back.  I'd quickly learn one of those was wrong.  I turned on the phone and the screen was easy to see; it was not my own.  It was then I realized that apparently many people lose their phones on this landing, probably out of their pockets just like me or when trying to take panoramas, or when losing their footing.  I shook my head sadly to connote it was not my phone, and then I started to climb down to join the search party.

We both picked up phones left and right on that landing; I pointed out the ones with Apple signs and no covers, just like mine, but we couldn't find the one that was actually mine.  He chastised me for not putting a cover on it and I laughed in spite of myself.  We realized that it may have since fallen down to another level in the building which was coincidentally open enough to allow things to fall down between levels but also weirdly sturdy enough to hold twenty tourists on each level to look out over the city and take their stupid selfies.  We shared this terrible look, like it was hopeless, remote chance of finding the phone, but I wasn't ready to give up now that my hopes had been renewed.  So I started to scale down to the next level, and the next one after that, each level having a strangely plentiful number of lost and broken phones lining the ground. 

On the next level down, I met a fourteen year old girl (no idea how I knew by looking at her that she was just fourteen but somehow I did) who I witnessed grab a phone that in my mind could very well have been mine, Apple sign, silver, without a cover, so I approached her, thinking maybe I could reason with her.  She was immediately a bitch about it though, trying to extort me based on her discovery, saying to me, pay me $50 and then I'll hand it over to you.  I was incredulous, mostly because I didn't even know for sure it was my phone and I realized she was up here just trying to be greedy, so I told her to show me the screen of the phone first because I know I would be able to recognize my screen to the exclusion of all the other iPhone 6 lame screens, and as soon as she did, I noticed there was a cat on it, and I hate cats so I knew for sure it was not mine.  I dismissed her and walked away; she shrugged her shoulders and tried to scam someone else because other people were there looking for their own phones that were probably dropped absently from above, it was an epidemic.

The problem was that my phone was still missing and I was still bumming hard over it, getting super moody and inconsolable because of all the work I would have to do to rectify the situation and it didn't help that my companion, who might have been boyfriend material at one point during last summer if I hadn't have made an ill-fated off the cuff remark about something kind of stupid, seemed to have given up searching for my phone for other pursuits, checking out the view and on to other girls, so I resigned myself to climb down and forget about my phone.  It was then that I realized or perhaps now as I think back on it, that everything I want will and forever be just a little out of my reach.

"I'm alone in this
I'm as I've always been
Right behind what's happening
He's all lost in this
He's all like he'll always be
A little far for me to reach

I was just a girl like every other
I thought I was something fierce
I thought I was ten times smarter
Love would be something that I just know
But how you gonna know the feeling till you've lost it
I've been losing plenty since"

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