Week 44 - One year on, a week of recorded dreams

On Saturday morning at 4am it was one year since my father body stopped keeping him alive. In many ways it feels like much more than a year, in other ways it feels like yesterday. In the past few weeks Iíve been having incredibly strange and sometimes disturbing dreams, many of which include, all of which can in some way be attributed to my dad. So I thought it would be a good thing for me to write down the dreams as I could remember them in the morning. Itíll be interesting and hopefully a cathartic exercise. Iíll only add the disclaimer that these were just dreams, and anything said in them by friends or family were just neurotransmitters talking.

 

… I suddenly realize that I have company.  My friend Hardin was visiting, and two women who I don’t really know.  They’re both black, around my age, and I think one of them is my sister’s friend Zandy, but I can’t really get a good look at her face to tell.  It’s dark outside and the shades are closed. With the room only lit by a few incandecant bulbs around which give a warm orange glow to the room.

I don’t even have to check the door, for some reason I know that it’s locked and there is no way to get out, so I might as well relax and try to spend the time in a more civilized manner.  At least the radio is on.

Oh, not this song. ”Bluer Than Blue” by Michael Johnson comes on.  One of the few things my father and I bonded over for years.  It came on while we were in Florida driving from Stuart down to Palm Beach to have dinner with my uncle and cousins at a place called Testa’s as I remember.  Excellent strawberry pie.  Sometimes he used to look at me out of the blue and say, “Hey, remember that time when we were driving and that song “Bluer than Blue” came on?”

Just as soon as it ends, another begins, “I Wish I Was a Girl” by Counting Crowes.  I had downloaded this song on my parent’s computer and my father had stumbled on it one day and I remember him mentioning how much he liked it.

Then it’s “Worst that could happen” Jimmy Webb (Who made this playlist?), which I couldn’t stop singing while my mom and I were in London in Oct of 2004.  My father dropped us off at JFK and I had gave him a copy of the CD to listen to, of which I asked, “Hey that CD is pretty good huh?” to which he replied, “Real good.” With the ‘real’ drawn out the way he used to.

I’m crying by this point. My eyes having to look at the blurry world through a sheet of tears; but the songs keep coming.  Songs from my youth, Billy Joel “You May Be Right”, James Taylor “That’s Why I’m Here”, Cat Stevens “Father and Son”, Joshua Kadison “Jesse”, Paul Simon “Me and Julio Down by the School Yard” (the first track on one of the few records we could agree on during our trip in June of 2004.

I didn’t want to sit there and go through this.  Certainly didn’t want my guests to have to watch this.  But the stereo wouldn’t turn off, and the door was locked, so I was trapped in this torture of songs.  One after the other, each as bad as the last, seemingly never ending. 

Then I woke.



It began with a hurry.  A friend of my mothers was hit by a car and we had to go to her.  Not sure if we’re on the way to the hospital or a funeral, I only know we’re late.  It’s me, my mother and a friend of mine named Sarah (from high school).  On the way out to the car I become overwhelmed with the thought of my dad’s death and stop, start crying and try to get my frustrations out by pounding on an institutional cement block wall with my fists as if we’re in a school or some other institution building.

My mother comes over to try to console me and suddenly I’m in her arms on the ground and hugging her. Minutes pass while she tries to calm me down, all the while I’m conscious that I’ve put Sarah in an awkward situation, having to sit there silently and watch me freak out.

My mother is also crying by now, also overwhelmed.  Telling me how lonely she is and that she’s almost at the end of her rope.  She tells me she ‘doesn’t know how much longer she can live by herself and still be her’.

Just then I woke up.



I’m walking around an indoor cemetery. More of a mausoleum I guess that has been build inside an old church.  Large cement sarcophagi  come out from the wall, and I’m looking at the last one toward the back of the slighty too well lit room that’s a cross between a church and a bingo hall in feel.

It’s the tomb of an astronaut who recently died.  There were flowers and cards on top. It was well visited.  And a plaque, which must have been prepared before his death because he had just died and it was worn looking, which mentioned a number of shuttle missions the man had been on in the late 80’s.

I suddenly realize that this is the same place my father is buried. So I turn to my left and walk up and sit down in a pew facing my father’s tomb which is one of them one in the middle of the room laying lengthwise toward the alter with many more to it’s left.

It’s marked only with orange spray paint. The kind they use to mark the street and walls during construction. It just says in big sloppy letters B i l l  <next line>  W a d ma n   and I begin to think about why his grave is unfinished almost a year later when the astronaut’s is all fancy and he just died a few days ago. I feeling of guilt washes over me as I realize that it was my job to get it done and I completely forgot.

The I wake up.



We’re all out to dinner at a nice restaurant.  Old and Italian I think, like the one in the GodFather where Pacino kills the guys with the gun from behind the toilet tank.

I’m in the bathroom, but feeling my way around because the lights are out.  Only a couple of nightlights break through the blackness.  I finally finish wiping my hand and open the door to leave (using the paper towel like he taught me) and as I’m walking down the hall back to the dining room, my father comes around the corner on his way the bathroom.  We smirk an awkward smirk at each other, say something 'inside' that only he and I would get and he goes past and I tell him that the lights are out in the bathroom.  He says thanks and walks by, and just as he’s about to open the door to the bathroom I notice a lightswitch at the end of the hall and flip it.  The lights in the hole hall go on, including the light in bathroom which I can see through the half open door my dad’s holding.

The smiles and walks in.  Only then do I notice a whole other dining room attached at the other end of the hall, who’s lights also turned on with the switch.  This room while silent before, was actually filled with people, being loud and a little out of control, like a busy pub after eleven.

I return to my seat and start chatting about something with my mother when I realize that my father hasn’t come back from the bathroom and I can only imagine that instead he went to the left out of the bathroom and into the other room where somehow I knew I couldn’t go.

Woke up.

 

I have other fragments as well.  Sometimes I’d wake up I the middle of the night remembering the dream, and I’d sit there for a minute or two going over the details and trying to make sense of it and commit it to memory.  Of course, sometimes I fell back to sleep and could only remember pieces in the morning.  Here are some of those:



For some reason, my mother and I were on a tour of the Carter institute or Carter Center or whatever it’s called.  And of course in the dream we were being showed around by Jimmy Carter himself.  A large, long glass building, midday, but unrelated to this week accept that I remember thinking about the fact that my father was dead and not with us while walking down the hall.

 


 

Another fragment was in the finished playroom in the basement of my moms house.  The lights were out and the only light in the room was coming through the sliding glass door in the pool room next door.  And it was recent in the dream but the room was as it was years ago with orange carpet and old furniture.

My uncle Bob, some engineer guy I didn’t know, and my mom were sitting around (my uncle and engineer on a couch pulled out from the wall, and my mom on a bar stool to their left) trying to decide how fix an insulation problem.  The strange thing was that I know my father was there too. Sitting silent and just out of reach of the light.  I didn’t hear or see him but I knew he was there listening, and not it a distant ghost sort of way, rather as if he were an active participant in the conversation.

 


 

I also had a dream were I got in a fight with my sister’s partner Mark over something stupid while he was washing dishes in the sink because I was in a bad mood after thinking about my dad.  I remember going upstairs in my dream and cooling off.  Eventually I came downstairs and apologized and thenMark and I ordered hamburgers from a diner downstairs. 

 


 

The other night I had a dream that I was meeting/racing my parents up to the Purdy's station on Metro-North, I was driving my mom's Audi up the highway and my mom and dad (still alive) were on the train coming out of the city too. I made it there first but when my parents got there I excused myself because I had to bring the car over to someone at the other end of the lot in order to get an official time or drop something off.

 

(hey, I never said they made sense)