I was dreaming last night. I always dream, apparently; and my occasional sleep witnesses always testify to it not being a very pretty picture. Actually, fuck “pretty”: Apparently, the “picture” is not even tame.
And every morning, when I make my bed, I must agree with them: As I untangle a mount of sweat-soaked sheets, feline hair, crumpled up pillows and turned out blankets, I always wonder:
“What the fuck went down in this joint last night?”
Sometimes, I am able to remember these wild dreams in the morning. But they have to be particularly disturbing for me to launch into the research of their meaning. One thing is for sure, though: My brain is never at a deficit — for bloody metaphors. (Now, okay: They aren’t always “bloody” bloody, but when they are, they make Quentin Tarantino’s flicks seem like Disney toons in comparison.)
Some metaphors get written down. Most of the time though, the dreams simply get retold to their participants:
“Had a dream about you,” I usually start.
“Oh yeah?” And the poor, non-expecting suckers always get so excited: They are clueless as to what I’m about to unload onto them. “What about?”
“A’right: Here we go. You’ve asked for it.”
As I watch my dreams’ cast members get petrified and puzzled, their faces deconstructing into a Miro-esque canvas, I think:
“I could’ve given Freud a fucking head trip or two. Dora’s got nothin’ on V!”
And in the mean time, my people have no idea about the challenge of my having to choose calmer vocabulary to describe the utter atrocities they were doing in my head the night before. Still, even when watered down by my mercy, this shit ain’t “pretty”. Or “tame”.
“So… Yeah. You go figure this one out now,” I tell ‘em. “And, um… Have fun with that! Yourr velkom.”
During the times of coping with loss, such as death or a break-up (same shit by the way!), my dreams get even more intensified. It’s hard to believe that my head can go even further out, and yet it does. Sometimes, I get more than one viewing in one night. Several scenarios, one madder than the previous one, play out against my closed eyelids. So, no wonder I tend to get reacquainted with insomnia during times of change: It’s not that I have troubles sleeping: I just don’t want see this sick shit again.
But last night, I had a dream that made me realize that I’ve finally hit the bottom of my current, death-related disturbance. Just two nights ago, in my dream, I got struck by a weird looking black snake with erected scales. I woke up screaming. (Lovely!) So, when I finally talked myself into hitting the pillow yesternight, I was prepared to be awake — and screaming — in a matter of just a few hours. Instead:
I dreamt of San Francisco.
It was like that one passage in Tony Kushner’s Angels in America that signifies the end of the world, or death; or the ultimate love: “In the Hall of Continental Principalities; Heaven, a city much like San Francisco.”
All the major players of my life were scattered around a Victorian house in a small vineyard, somewhere by the Ocean. (We couldn’t hear that ancient monster, but we tasted its salt in the air.) And I couldn’t see all the cast members, but somehow I knew: Everyone was there.
My godchild who’s grown into a less dainty version of Frida Pinto was writing poetry on a crocheted blanket in the tall grass of my front yard. (Or was it a dissertation on curing cancer via meditation?) Her mother — my best friend, the love of my life — was reclining nearby, gently stroking her daughter hair, looking older, like her own mother; yet still in awe of time.
Younger women, related to me by spiritual adoption, not blood, were dusting off a rustic wooden dinner table by the bushes of lilacs.
I could hear the voices of my friends:
My brother from Bohemia, whose contagious laughter was punctuated by the clicking of shutters, was making my motha feel young and beautiful again: He was making her howl;
Women who had married other women and gave paths to more women; who have granted me a dozen of artistic births throughout my own life but never claimed authorships of it — they were gathering giant strawberries from heavy vines underneath apple trees;
Broken hearts that have been replenished by my love — but never fixed — were nibbling on platters of Mediterranean snacks coming out of my kitchen on a verandah with chimes;
Exhausted artists, always so hard on themselves but so kind on me, were napping in hammocks and tree houses;
A fellow insomniac with the voice of Tom Waits was sitting on the front steps, and with his poignant imitations of the human race was making me do spit takes, over and over, into my glass of Malbec;
Lovers who have loved me — but loved my freedom even more — were arguing over a game of backgammon in my master bedroom;
A reincarnation of Nina Simone was singing anecdotes to gypsies up in the attic while they unpacked and dusted off my books;
The sound of wood chopping resonated from the garden: Dad! Dad, refusing to give up on his country’s habits, was getting his pre-dinner workout on.
Were we all living together, or had we gathered there, to rest; to drink away the night? Had I flown in my hearts to celebrate the news of another book contract — or some incurable disease?
And what had happened to the world, in the mean time: Had we had survived another Chernobyl? Were we even closer to the coming of the end? Or had we snapped to it — finally! collectively! — and retracted our mistakes, apologized for the gaps in our love and redeemed ourselves with more kindness, served for dinner?
I didn’t know. But this morning, as I untangled my sweat-soaked sheets, I remembered the talk with my brother from Bohemia, whose contagious laughter just a few nights ago was making me feel young and strong again (and it was keeping me awake from my nightmares).
“Is the end of the world still coming; or is it the beginning of it?” I asked him then.
“But does it matter?” he answered. “We’ll still be kicking ass — with kindness.”