Monday, April 28, 2014

Why I Didn't Sleep Well

            My dream flickered like a silent movie in an old Nickelodeon machine. It started curiously enough at an outrageous party where every single person was far too drunk. I wasn’t feeling like I was having any fun. So I started toward the door. As I worked my way through the bustling intoxicated crowd I saw my late Uncle Rich in the doorway. He looked normal enough. He was wearing a red sleeved baseball jersey type undershirt with a gray chest part. His hair was classically disheveled. And I was aware of his height over all the other people in the room.  He moved out of the doorway into some hallway and I had to really push people out of my way to get closer to him. When I finally got through the throbbing throes of the crowd I realized I was carrying a baby.

“Oh shit,” I said. I looked around to see where the hell I might have picked up this baby when I saw my Uncle Rich again down a narrow hall. I called out to him and he stopped. I hurried toward him, still holding the baby. When I got close to him, he turned and opened another door behind him. He said something to me.

“Hum muff murble, kafurmer,” he smiled at me and motioned me through the door.
            “What? What did you say? You’re speaking Polish aren’t you? Damn it,” I said as I went through the door. The baby was gone from my arms and now I was concentrating on what my Uncle had said but I just couldn’t make it out. It was so muffled and static filled. The door closed behind me and I found myself at a quaint little small town train station.

It was a sunny and warm summer day at this train station. It was a calm and quiet day and since I had nothing particular to do I decided to sit on a bench and watch the train roll into the station. I sat and as the train pulled in I started to feel very excited. I couldn’t help but wonder who was going to be on this train. Who was I waiting for? The train rolled in slowly and I could see through the windows of the passenger cars very clearly.

She was actually looking out her train window when our eyes met. “Oh crap,” I thought as our eyes met. It was a woman I dated for a short time a few years ago. She had the cutest features and one hell of a beautiful body. We used to do crossword puzzles together and I haven’t done one with anyone else since.  She was my petite prize who really hurt me. She saw me sitting on the train station bench and I could sense things were going to get embarrassing.

 She got off the train and started walking toward the train station and I ran up to catch her. I just about caught up to her before she stepped into the station. I called out her name but she pushed open a swinging door and stepped through. I followed, not reading the sign on the swinging door, and I peeked in. I heard her speaking.

“Nothing like going to the gym a little drunk, am I right? Man, you girls sure know how to make a girl feel short. What’s with all the tall gals in here today,” she quipped and joked.   I looked at her and she was getting undressed in front of a locker. I called out to her, I was very focused on her and I hardly saw the other women around also getting undressed. She noticed me, but kept undressing while other women sort of gasped that a man had invaded their holy sanctum. I stammered something but she just looked at me.

“I will be out in an hour Michael. Just wait around and I’ll see you after the gym,” she said to me.

             Something about this seemed okay so I stepped back from the door and walked back down the train platform.

 “What kind of pervert are you,” asked a female voice from my left. I turned and saw a woman, whom I didn’t recognize, staring at me with her hands on her yoga panted hips.

“I’m sorry about barging in there, I didn’t know it was a gym, I was just talking with my friend and, well, I’m sorry but I didn’t know there would be women in there changing clothes” I said.

The woman looked at me with distaste and distrust but she seemed to recognize my sincere apology and she started walking away.  I thought that my apology for accidentally peeking into the women’s locker room at this train station was now passed but I was wrong. I found myself being escorted toward a large municipal type office building by an African American woman. She was holding a clipboard and asking me all kinds of questions. The questions ranged from casual to medical.

I found myself at a strange admissions counter, surrounded by a fast moving work staff. It seemed like a hospital and a homeless shelter and a police station all mixed into one facility. I realized my jacket was gone and I felt a sense of panic creep in. The black woman was now wearing a white kerchief on her head and eyed me with suspicion as she continued to ask me questions.

“What’s your name? You are disoriented? You should be after all the weed you smoke on a daily basis,” she said.
            “I don’t smoke weed,” I said.
            “C’mon, you can tell me. I know you smoke at least 21 joints today,” she said.

 I looked at her very seriously.

 “I assure you Madame, I do not smoke marijuana,” I said clearly.

I turned away from her and headed for the set of double glass doors and I stepped outside. It was dusk now and I remembered that my jacket was missing from my shoulders. I turned back to the doors, thinking to ask where my jacket had gone but the doors I had just passed through were locked. I stepped back and heard someone yell from behind me.

“You’re in my spot,” said a gravelly voice.

I looked back and saw I was standing in what looked like a homeless person’s makeshift sleeping area. There were crumpled clothes and food wrappers all over. I looked right and saw other homeless people setting up their spots for the coming night.

“Get out of my spot. I want to sleep there so I can be first inside in the morning,” said the gravelly voice.
            “I’m just looking for my jacket,” I said.

I walked away from the spot though and started wandering the sidewalks and streets amid the throngs of the gathering homeless. I had to find my jacket. I then realized that I should call someone on my cell phone, they could help me figure out what I was doing there and maybe come and help me. I reached down to my pocket. The pocket I always carry my cell phone in, yet it was gone. My phone was nowhere to be found. “Great, I lost my jacket and my phone,” I thought.

I started rummaging through the scattered bits of garbage and clothes strewn about the city sidewalks looking for in, disrupting the homeless people around me. They started to shout at me and tell me to go away.

“I need to find my phone and my jacket,” I shouted at them. I was acting crazy. I felt crazy. I felt like somewhere in this dream I had really lost my mind and maybe I really did belong at that clinic/office building place.

I ran off from there but continued looking for my lost items. Then I saw some guy, some teenager, wearing my jacket. He was standing over a concrete wall overlooking the other homeless people and the trash can fires starting behind me. I called up to him.

“That’s my jacket,” I yelled.
            “It’s mine,” he called back.
            “I can prove it’s mine with a magic trick,” I said back.
            “A magic trick,” asked the guy.
            “Yes. If I can guess what’s in the right hand pocket you have to give me the jacket,” I said.

The guy reached into the pocket of my jacket and I saw a scowl on his face.

“There are keys in that pocket, specifically a keychain with the Magic 104.3 radio station logo on it,” I said.
            “Give me your wallet,” said the guy in response.
            “Listen, I don’t have any money in my wallet. I have like two bucks in my wallet, I’ll give you the two bucks if you just give me my coat back,” I said.
            “I want your credit cards,” said the guy.
            “I have like 17 bucks on my credit card, that won’t do you any good. Please give me my coat back,” I said.

There was a commotion behind me and I turned to look. The world seemed to be collapsing and there was urgency to getting my coat back. I looked back up at the guy.

“Two bucks for the coat,” I yelled.

The guy seemed to ponder this proposal. While he did so I started to remember that I wasn’t crazy. I wasn’t homeless and I could get out of this. I remembered that the reason I didn’t have my cell phone was because this was a dream. It was just a dream.

I woke up in my bed to hear the sounds of a truck being loudly unloaded in front of the Dunkin Donuts across from my apartment. I instinctively reached down to my leg where my cell phone would normally be on my person and remembered it was on the nightstand next to me. The clarity of the real world slowly washed over me and I fully recognized I had been having a nightmare of sorts.

It was a nightmare where I was in control of nothing. At least until the end. The helpless feeling lingered with me for a bit as I rolled over onto my other side. I wiped the drool from my chin and remembered the part where I saw my ex getting undressed in that strange train station locker room.

“What was she doing there,” I asked the darkened bedroom, “I hope that baby I was carrying is okay. Wow, Uncle Rich too. Weird, weird, weird.”

I drifted back to sleep only to dream more about panicked Valentine’s Day cards and my failure to get it to the right woman. It seemed so important, yet I screwed up signing the card, a simple handwriting mistake had ruined it and I was stunted into inaction just staring at how I’d ruined the card. This morning, when I woke up and headed right to this computer to write about all this, I felt a mournful sadness still lingering on my mind.

“I didn’t sleep very well at all did I,” I asked myself.

So, here we are.

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