I jolted to attention – spine stick straight – searching for breath and clutching at that place on my body where my heart supposedly continues to beat internally. My heart must still be there, for I felt it pounding for a few seconds as I remembered where I was. Home. In bed. Safe? Not sure if that descriptor is accurate. I don’t feel safe at all. Regardless, my jarring body movements would dictate that I’d had a bad dream. And apparently, I’d been thrashing around for a while because my blanket was off the bed and my sheets had lifted to expose my sad and aging mattress. I think I’m prone to some movement during slumber but I’ve never taken the time to videotape my normal sleeping habits. I think this episode was out of the ordinary.
I usually do dream. They are generally very vivid. For a while during my college years I’d been very interested in dream interpretation. But more often than not I found that interpretations wildly fluctuated. So, I started enjoying them for what they were – extensions of my wild imagination. Last night, however, felt really different to me.
I was wearing a beautiful royal blue silk dress. This dress did exist in real life and I’d even worn it once or twice. It belonged to my step-grandmother. She’d had it made for some fabulous event that occurred before I was born. I was born in ’68 for those of you who don’t know so this dress was really old and it was just beautiful. I am very fond of vintage styles and material, so wearing this dress was an amazing real-life experience. Anyway, I was trying to get to a party. I was staying in a hotel downtown with a group of people – a mix of family and friends. Most of them had already caught a limo to the party but I had to wait for a bus. As I was waiting, someone from the hotel came out and told me to move all my stuff out of my room because they just gave my room away to someone else. In a confused state, I unlocked the door to my room to find all my stuff gone and the mattress all rolled up like something you’d find at camp. It was cold and devoid of any personal items. Then I heard a voice tell me they had my stuff and that I should find them so I could have my stuff back. Despite a desperate search, I couldn’t find them. I went to the front desk to see if they would place me somewhere else but no one would help me. Two young co-workers were laughing and giggling – perhaps even flirting with each other – as I frantically tried to get their attention by pleading and eventually screaming. They ignored me. My dress got older. Became faded. And started to wear out at the seams as I continued to unravel myself.
I woke up screaming for help. Clutching my chest. I know it was just a dream but I had the overwhelming feeling that I’d just been kicked out of my life. In fact, when I made that statement to my friend, she said “I think you have been.” It was a sobering thought.
John Lennon wisely said “Life is what happens while you’re making other plans.” I had plans, man. I had given myself the luxury of this year to spend with Ben and Madeline. I have very limited means and I should have a job but I thought it was way more important to spend time with them this year while I got my sh*t together. This summer was going to be one to remember. We were making plans. Making PLANS. making plans.
I know that we’ll find times to have fun. I know we’ll make every effort to find the JOY despite this crummy development. There are camps to go to. Activities to enjoy. Snuggles to savor. Life. It’s not happening according to plan but at least it’s still going to happen. I don’t know how, but we’ll try to make the best of it.
And then it all hits me. The tragedy of it all. Panic tries to set in. And then I tell myself to shut up and find the fricking JOY. Find the GOOD. Savor the NOW. You’d think I’d have learned that over the last nine years. Through almost losing Bean multiple times. Obviously I haven’t learned to embrace the now, or I wouldn’t still be getting smacked in the head with the same lesson.
So, I’ve been kicked out of those prior plans. That life. And I don’t have a choice but to live this one. So I’m just going to do it.