Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Through the window I watch a titmouse flutter onto the dead bough of a fir tree. Busily she raps a sunflower seed against the crackled bark, and a brief finger of sun brushes her doughty crest.

The cat has stalked into the house and demanded breakfast. The boy has complained about his sunburn and vanished into the bowels of the school bus. The dog is dreaming of her youth. I am drinking coffee and imagining sourdough French bread, and oven-fried chicken, and spicy Asian noodles, and realizing how much grocery shopping I need to do to accomplish this graduation-party extravaganza.

Last night I dreamed about a house that I think that I have never lived in, though some part of my brain was trying to convince me that it was my childhood home. The house was shadowy and cramped and smelled like an ancient pilot-lit stove. The stairs were narrow, the ceilings oppressive. The air was heavy with dust, and everything--walls, chairs, windows--was tinted a strange dark blue. All of the doors had been flung wide open, but I was alone.

I am tempted to stop writing now--to leave "All of the doors had been flung wide, but I was alone" as my final statement of the day. It's a nice dramatic ending. Yet the sentence would give you a skewed idea of the dream. Being alone in this dusty place did not feel ominous, or symbolic, or anything of the sort. Rather, I felt as if I were simply wandering and happened to find myself inside a setting from my so-called history. I didn't recognize the place, but I wasn't disturbed either.

What strikes me as odd is my intense awareness of the scent of the dream-place . . . the old gas stove, the dust. My real house does not have a gas leak, nor is it dusty. So I wasn't transporting truth into imagination, though I think I may have been creating a sort of mashup of various houses I knew as a child . . . the gas scent of one grandmother's spotless, loveless kitchen in New Jersey; the dust of another grandmother's Miss Havisham lair in Pennsylvania. Yet the dream-place itself resembled neither of these houses.

And what about that blue? Why was everything blue?

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