I don’t know, doctor. Things just aren’t right. I think the overall problem is compounded by these dreams.
So you’ve been having dreams. What type of dreams?
Well … I guess I really can’t describe them. I mean, I’ve never tried to describe them. I probably couldn’t even describe them to myself …
You can try here. Just relax, lie down. Close your eyes. Think of yourself as resting easily. Think of the world as black, your body melding into the blackness. Think of the universe as a giant sponge-like void. Think of yourself as water infiltrating the sponge.
Infiltrating the sponge?
Infiltrating the sponge. Try to control your breathing. Focus on your breathing. Slow. Deep. Easy.
This is helping.
I know. That’s what it’s supposed to do. I’m a doctor. Think of the world as a giant mound of ice. Think of yourself as a flame, melting into it.
Now try to tell me about these dreams.
It’s like I’m in the future, I don’t know when. I’m married to some woman, but I never see her. There’s just this sort of implicit acknowledgment that I’m married to her.
You’re not married in the waking world?
I’m not. But I’m married in these dreams.
How often do you have these dreams?
Every time I try to sleep.
Are you having one now?
No. I’m not sleeping. I don’t think I’m sleeping. Am I sleeping?
Tell me about these dreams.
Well, there’s this woman.
You think you’re married to her.
Yes. And I think she’s plotting to murder me. I don’t know how I know this. I’m paranoid in my own home because I’m certain she’s trying to murder me.
Are there children around the house?
What is the house like?
It’s just a house.
What does it look like? How many rooms does it have? Is it in the city or the country?
It’s the house I live in now. A two bedroom one-level in the suburbs.
And there’s this woman you’ve never seen that you think is your wife and she’s trying to murder you.
She hasn’t actually tried yet. But she’s plotting. I’m sure of it. This is really hard to explain.
And so I lock myself in whatever room I’m in. In any room in the house. To keep her out. I go to the kitchen to cook something or get a drink of orange juice. I lock all the doors I can. There’s a hallway opening in the kitchen that has no door. I turn to face the opening, always within reach of some weapon. The kitchen is the safest even though it can’t quite lock me in completely. All sorts of instruments of death in the kitchen. One can always feel most at ease in a kitchen, even without a crazy wife plotting to kill them.
So she’s crazy.
I don’t know if she’s crazy or tall or fat. I’ve never met her. I say she’s crazy because crazy people plot. This is what crazy people do.
This isn’t true. But please go on about the dreams.
I always feel most vulnerable in the bathroom. I feel exposed. No deadly weapons in the bathroom to protect myself. Just a little razor I use for shaving. There are two doors, I lock them both tight. I can’t hear her walking or laughing or breathing but I know she’s there. I can feel her on the other side of one door or another, standing with her eyes closed, plotting. She’s waiting for me to come out of the bathroom because she’s not going in after me. She’s holding a knife. She’s very calm and patient. She will wait until I die just so she can kill me.
How do you know it’s a knife?
I just know. It’s a giant knife. It shines, even in the dark. Like it gives off a certain amount of light.
To be cut is the most invasive of violent acts. Body raped by steel.
I’m tired, doctor.
How do you leave these rooms in your dreams? How do you get up the courage to face whatever is on the other side of the door?
I don’t. That’s the thing. I wake up because I’m so frightened and tired. I’m tired of waiting to be killed. I’m tired because I wake up, because I have no courage to face her. Each time I try to sleep is a different room, same wife. I wake up still stuck in whatever room I’m in.
By not facing our fears we allow time to control us.
Sometimes I wake up and I’m holding something tightly. I’m clutching handfuls of bed sheets. I’m holding a book. The pages are creased and torn in my hands. One afternoon I woke up holding a knife that I must have got from the kitchen. I had no prior history of somnambulism. It was a huge knife. I could have killed myself in my sleep.
Dreams of violence and paranoia as inward manifestations of our primary urges.
I always wake up sweating, dying of thirst.
Our brain matter absorbs the body’s nutrients and uses them to sustain our doom.
These dreams are in the future, doctor. I don’t know how I know. I just know.
The future frightens us. We cannot control it. We are fascinated by the violence around us.
I want to wake up, doctor. I want to sleep without being frightened all the time. I’m so tired. I want to live in a world where the future doesn’t matter, not even for a microsecond. I want to be able to dream peacefully, forget my backward flaws. I’m tired of stretching out on the crux of this world. I’d rather operate as a vigorous fixture of my own rules.
The world we know is created by us. It’s not the real world. It’s the world within the larger world.
I can’t sleep during the night because it’s too dark. I can’t sleep at day because the noise blinds me.
When we fail to mesh with the world we create, we lose all identity.
The strangest thing is that I’m deeply attracted to this woman. My wife who’s plotting to murder me. I see myself making love to her facelessness. She’s silent and holding a giant knife, the shiny point scratches my temple while we screw.
Desire is destruction. Our most primitive truth is not to reproduce, but to destroy ourselves.
I’m tired, doctor.
Every conflict forces us to either run or stay and fight.
I think of what type of offspring we would create. Me and this mad wife. I wonder if one night or day I will wake up and I’ll be on top of her, strangling. I won’t be able to disprove her existence. I wonder if our children will plot with her or against her. I wonder which of the forces of good and evil they’ll adopt.
Our identity lies in the liquid shape of our actions.
I’m tired, doctor.
We are the sum of our dreams. Take all the maddening irregularities and add them up.
I’m in the bathroom again. I’m locked in.
We cannot hide from the truth.
The walls are bare, doctor. Pure white. I smell gasoline.
Take all the lessons about life you’ve ever learned and watch them burn.
The mirror is rimmed with fire, doctor.
Our strongest moments of clarity reside in complete submission.
So much blood in the tub.
We see what we never thought we’d see when we simply allow it to take shape before us.
My throat is dry. I’m having trouble breathing.
When we are too afraid to kill ourselves we thrust our imaginations into guilt.
I’m bleeding, doctor. My throat.
Our lives flow away from us in pigmented thickness.
I’m tired, doctor.
We spend our entire lives speaking to ourselves. From idea to thought. From thought to language.
I’m dying, doctor.
Our voices carry eternally. They are the tokens we keep. They add substance to our memories. A whisper becomes a breeze in the cold night across the galaxy.
I think I’m falling asleep, doctor.
Death is a state of eternal subconscious activity. I think you’re cured. For now.
One thought on “Dreams”
omg. so multifaceted and ripe.
So I’ve been reading you from most current to your older works, but Jenny said I should read this one so here I am. Again, you had me laughing out loud, a few times in fact. In part due to some of the comical resemblance to my own line of work, “I know. That’s what it’s supposed to do. I’m a doctor.” ;->
I do believe five diff. readers could interpret this work five different ways, where in lies the brilliance of your writing. It’s so multifaceted w/ meaning and possibilities that the personal reflection could mean a host of so many things depending on the individual reading it.
And I love this, “No. I’m not sleeping. I don’t think I’m sleeping. Am I sleeping?” =^)
I hope you had a good weekend, and your newest piece is phenomenal. It left me grabbing for my own neck b4 I even realized what I was feeling/doing.