August 29th, 2008

Narrative Dream

I am, in general, against talking about dreams (you always get that sentence when someone is about to talk about his or her dreams). Most dreams that I’ve heard narrated are very boring, and mine certainly are. They are actually often textbook anxiety dreams, about forgetting I registered for a Spanish class until I am forced to take the exam. And I’m not wearing a shirt. Blah blah blah.

About once a year, I have a cool dream, in a narrative format–a tv show, a movie, once a magazine article (the whole dream was text), or else just a series of events that *could* form a narrative, if I wrote them up properly. Often I *do* write these dreams into stories, though honestly, it never really works out. So I thought I’d spare myself the disappointment, and just sketch out the dream here. Feel free to quit reading now.

So I found myself in need of a place to live (though much less discomfitted by this than I would’ve been in real life) and took a room in the house of a middle-aged couple who had two teenaged daughters. The ethnicity of the couple kept shifting between white and Chinese, but the daughters were both adopted Chinese orphans. Them being teenagers would put their adoption somewhat before it was easy to get babies from China, I believe, but my dreams have never been long on historical accuracy.

The man of the house was the butcher at a No Frills, and the woman’s job was unclear, but she was somehow heavily involved in political activism. I seemed to be going through a tough time in my life, not only because I was homeless but for other reasons that weren’t really mentioned in the story (this dream is so obviously a short story). Anyway, I was out of the house a lot, but when I was home I mainly hung around with the guy, who was short and heavily muscled and *smoked* (what year did I dream?)

He really liked his job and enjoyed telling me about the ins and outs of butchering for mass sales (I don’t actually think that goes on at No Frills). The store was, oddly, owned by Mel Gibson, who was apparently an all right guy. The daughters were fascinated by him, and their father would bring home candy wrappers that Mel had discarded, which enthralled them, though I think they also might have been selling them (on eBay?) The wrappers were made out of silk, delicately embroidered with Chinese characters in blue thread.

For a while, something kept me very busy and I wasn’t interacting with the family much, and then I realized that the girls and the wife didn’t seem to be there at all. I asked the man, and he said the girls had gone to summer camp, and the wife was just busy. We were sitting around late at night in the living room, him sitting on the couch and smoking, me lounging on the floor. It was very comfortable, but somewhat forlorn. He confided to me that his wife was a lesbian, but it had been necessary for her to have a husband in order to adopt the two girls from China (that’s not correct, actually, is it?) and she had felt it important politically that she take them. The marriage was ok, more or less, she just had her focus mainly political activities. It was not clear to me whether this was a euphemism for affairs, and I wondered if it was to him.

The man related this to me more or less easily, considering the emotional import of what he was saying. I was sad for him, but he didn’t seem to register his marriage of convenience one way or another. He loved the daughters, and seemed to have a good deal of respect for his wife. We sat in silence for a while in the living room, and then I woke up.

I was wide awake in bed

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So Much Love by Rebecca Rosenblum

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