Art by Day Huynh

“You need only claim the events of your life to make yourself yours. When you truly possess all you have been and done… you are fierce with reality.” ~ Florida Scott-Maxwell

Last night I dream of David. I haven’t dreamed about him in a very, long time.  I was one of those real-feeling, ordinary-day-feeling dreams.

This last week has been intense and concentrated, filled with reading and writing and two long phone conversations with an old friend who reframed some sad events of the last few years. During the course of our conversation, my friend told me about a phone call that she had with David.  A call that either I did not know about or had completely forgotten. Either one is possible. It concerned her, not me any way. But hearing about it after all this time blew a little bit of life into the dusty ghosts of my imagination.

In the dream David and I were re-buying our first Indianapolis house. It was a sweet little house, baby tutor in style, brick with leaded glass windows throughout and all on one floor. I can wax romantic about it, but I recall that the kitchen was wholly inadequate and the refrigerator and stove were old enough to sell to an antique store.  We never baked in the oven because it no longer heated up to any specific temperature and the freezer never kept ice cream frozen.

I’m not sure why we decided to repurchase the house in the dream but we were happy to do so. We walked around the side of the house on a little path and slipped inside the side door to retrieve a few things that we had left behind. (In reality, neither the path nor the side door were a part of that house.) David retrieved up a large flat box with artwork done by our friend, Jim Jones. That box is real and sits in my storage room. I retrieved something of a cloth bag, like a pillowcase but in the dream it had some other, important but undisclosed, use. The owner of the house was asleep and we crept around looking in the basement and in the back hall for our stuff.

In reality, we would never do such a thing. In the dream it was thrilling, although my stomach churned in fear. We justified our breaking and entering. After all, we were buying the house, it was going to be ours very soon.

After we retrieved whatever we wanted, we stood on the front sidewalk looking at the house. David commented that he was going to put a very large flower pot on a terraced part of the front lawn and plant it with a big, colorful flowers. I knew that one of those plants would be the red cana bulbs from my father’s garden. I enjoyed sharing this idea with him although even in the dream I knew that David never cared about gardens, we did not have a terraced front lawn in that house and there was nowhere on the front stoop to put such a pot. Still, there was some sort simple Joy in the making of this plan.

Our time living in that house was a beginning time. We were both at our first post law school jobs, we were disappointed that we haven’t gotten back to the east coast after school, Cheshire was enjoying her schooling and making friends, I was playing with my first garden and we were all exploring Indianapolis as our new home. The house was small but it was larger than the largest apartment that we had lived in. The living room’s plastered walls curved up to the ceiling and were painted a luminescent dove gray. The living room was a single step down from the tiny entry hall and there was a small fireplace surrounded by irregularly cut stones. The house had our first curved front door, a feature of all three of the houses that we owned.

I woke up filled with everything that I’ve describe. Not nostalgic, not wishing for return.  Perhaps high on remembering.  This morning I feel as if something more has been integrated. I am both seeing events of the immediate past in a different light and accessing memories that have been hidden from view. What an amazing harvest from this strangely, magically intense week. Time, even time sitting with a propped up a broken wrist, is never wasted.

2 thoughts on “dreaming

  1. I did not remember dreams for a long time after David died. Also my life I’ve always remembered very complicated dreams, and I’m dreamt often. .I always wondered and still do whether there is a mechanism in the brain that sorts out night time dreams and protects us from some of them. And I agree with you, when David is in a dream it does seem perfectly natural and not surprising in the least.

  2. I love it when I have a dream where Paul B. plays even a small role, and it feels perfectly natural. I can’t recall ever having had a dream since he died, where he was the central character. A little strange, since we spent over 50 years together. Maybe I’m just not remembering those dreams.

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