Across the pond

We are in England, probably London to be specific, and it's my first time there and things are just weird. Tamara is there, as well as some other people I can't quite place. We are marveling at how the streets of London are covered entirely in cobblestone and brick. We're in some kind of covered outdoor mall that seems almost to be underground. It's huge and there's no sign of grass or anything living — besides incredibly sophisticated Brits — anywhere.

Somehow we get out to the countryside to an apartment building, and I make my way through the rooms — an empty living room, a bright-colored bedroom, a crisply appointed nursery — and wonder who lives there.

We (me and a dude, maybe Phil? not sure) are on a bed in a room that is not ours. We have decided to pass some time by doing what people do... And things are going unremarkably until someone — a youngish blonde Brit — walks into the room, spies us, and walks directly into the bathroom. In our embarrassment, we try to cover ourselves, but end up feeling sheepish. Was this her bed?

Outside there's a rolling field and some children playing. I'm walking down a gravel road with Phil when I remember I wanted to get a picture of something, so I grab my camera and sprint back to the direction we came from. I'm standing atop a hill and looking over some trees across the countryside, when I notice that the sky is darkening and churning at one point. And there it is, a huge, wide, Kansas-tastic tornado on the horizon, twisting and bubbling its way toward me. I snap several pictures and curl my lip in disappointment that the majesty and enormity of such a spectacle can't be captured by my little digital camera.


My feet are always dirty, so I'd never look there

I love dreams like the one I had last night; dreams in which I simply wander around a significant place from my past. My grandmother's house in Nashville is quite possibly the most important setting from my most formative, pleasant, and angsty childhood memories. Last night I wandered from room to room taking in the exaggerated green carpet, the doorways from room to room, the dark wood beams over the den where I wasn't allowed to watch Family Matters if my grandpa was in the room. It was like a ghost town. No one was around and I was slightly aware that the place as I knew it doesn't exist anymore, yet I was as there as I am here right now. I felt the sad sensation of knowing I'll have to leave a place way before I'm ready.

I wonder, was I there? Is there some dimension of memory open to spiritual traveling, as long as I'm asleep? I loved Stephen King's Bag of Bones for several reasons, but the dreams his character described were finished off with the most terrific descriptions of waking up with cuts on his knuckles and dirt on his feet from whipping through the woods in the middle of the night. Or whatever time it gets dark in the Dreamiverse.

I'd like that. I'd like to wake up with sore fingers from whammying the organ in the living room proper or the smell of that green lye soap wafting up from my armpits.


It's weird what taking a Vicodin before bed will do to your brain as it tries to shift from full consciousness to sleep mode. I can't speak for everyone, but for me, it's like it turns off some kind of focus filter in my head, so that every fleeting thought — no matter how random or scary or funny or weird — just goes ahead and voices itself in my mind instead of being stifled by whatever mechanism usually keeps my thoughts fairly consistent and targeted, even just before sleep.

I just wish I could remember some of these fleeting thoughts. They are like bits of fiction I've not yet created. Names and locations and actions and scenarios that aren't from my life or any other life I recall observing. They are almost like pieces of collective consciousness. And maybe they really are, floating in the ether.

So, last night I dreamt a long and epic dream about running from something ... in the dark ... in a car ... though it didn't feel like I was me. I was just there.

And then later I had to choose from a shelf of archetypal outfits to be judged by who, I'm not really sure. Each outfit was contained in a small themed jar of sorts, and each was labeled with a name that was as much a hint as to its contents as it was a confusing bit of extraneous information.

One greenish outfit (that had a lot of weird camouflage-colored plaid) was labeled reporter, while another outfit that was more glammy yet stark white was labeled Interpol (I assume this one and not this one). There were lots of others, and matching handbags to go with each outfit.

I picked the reporter jar and then had to run back to get the right size. Not sure what the hurry was, but I felt I was being timed and would be judged on my choice of outfit. I don't remember actually getting the outfit on or how I looked in it. I just remember frantically thumbing through jars and boxes of the outfit's component, looking for my size.


Baby bump

[from Friday night]

I look down, and there's this thing on me -- this distended, somewhat lumpy belly -- that feels not entirely of me and yet mine all the same. I have no idea where it came from, but I observe it for long enough to hazard a guess that, if I am indeed pregnant, I must be seven months along.

Instantly, panic sets in. I didn't plan for a pregnancy. What am I going to do about my job? (For some reason, I start feeling guilty because I am yet another woman on the design desk who has recently gotten knocked up, which means they'll have to find a temporary replacement for me.) What am I going to do about my life? The fear grows as I realize that I probably would not be okay with getting an abortion this late in the term. I tell myself that it will be fine; lots of women have unplanned pregnancies and it ends up being a great thing for them.

Then I try to figure out how exactly I got pregnant. I try to recall the last time I got laid and quickly do the math. No ... it doesn't add up. I have no idea how long my tummy has been growing, and I don't know when any of this could have happened. So I wonder if I'm even pregnant at all.

I'm in some kind of big, bustling room. There are lots of people around. I'm searching for a doctor of sorts. I finally find one. Seems like I recall him being a middle-aged man with wiry reddish hair and a copper-colored beard and mustache. He seems frazzled enough without having to diagnose whether or not I'm pregnant or carrying around a giant tumor in my stomach.

As he takes notes, I can tell that, yes, even if I can't remember how it happened, the reality is I'm going to be having a kid in two months. And the fear, it grows.


I Don't Speak Jazz

I was playing in my old high school band at a carnival at night. Lindsey Turner was sitting beside me with her trombone. Mr. Haffly was directing, and he kept telling Lindsey to be quiet and behave. But she was comical and agitated - like she had just slammed twelve shots of espresso. Lindsey kept pushing her luck and sniping under her breath. He finally ordered her out of the ensemble and to the equivalent of the carnival's "principal's office." She sat there a second and then said, "Really?" but he was serious. I grabbed her sleeve as she passed and whispered, "Meet me outside and I'll drive you home!" Then Haffly told me to be quiet.

Then I was slogging through the carnival looking for Lindsey. The ground was muddy and wet and the cuffs of my jeans were being dragged through the muck. My feet felt wet. I walked all over the carnival grounds, inside and outside the fence. I had a companion, but I don't know who it was. "Where the hell is Lindsey?!" I kept saying. My companion said, "She's with Phil - way over there. Look!" I looked across a great big field and there was Phil, walking through waist-high weeds at night. "Hey, Phil, is Lindsey with you?!" I yelled. "No!" He hollered back and kept trucking. "Why the hell is Phil in that field?" I asked my companion. "Because he's a hiker," Companion replied.

Suddenly I was walking with my sax, so I started improvving while I was looking for Lindsey. I walked past a fence gate, noodling around the "All I Know Is Tonight" tune by Jaga Jazzist, and I walked right past Mrs. Haffly. I didn't realize it was her til I passed her and she said, "Hel-LO?!" I turned and she was glaring at me like, "What the hell?!" I turned and said, "Hey! How are you!" but then I remembered that she was mad at me because I skipped my lesson that day. Steve Haffly sidled up and asked, "Cindy, how did Tamara do at her audition?" and she replied, "She did awful. She informed the judge that jazz is another language and she doesn't speak it." I was appalled. "HEY!" I started to yell, but she walked away. "I did not!" I called after her, and Companion led me away to find Lindsey. My sax was suddenly gone. We rounded a warehouse and I found Lindsey and Mrs. Haffly with their arms around each other heading into the warehouse to hang out with everyone else. "There she is!" I said to Companion, and headed in. "Hey!" I said to Lindsey, and she gave Mrs. Haffly a funny look. Mrs. Haffly said, "Egotistical bitch!" I asked Lindsey who she meant and Lindsey shrugged. "Where were you?" I asked. "Around. Cindy is mad because all three of her female sax players skipped their lessons today." I felt awful. Then Mrs. Haffly walked back by and she said, "Tamara, if you want to do your lesson tomorrow I will drive you home." I smiled, "Okay, sounds good!' I felt relieved.

Then the dream segued into a long storyline about electricity and muddy trails that I can't recall now.

Then Alicia came running in to a doorway, crying hysterically. I asked her what the matter was, and she replied, "A lot is the matter!" And I followed her outside and the wheel to her father's maroon Buick that she's using while her car is in the shop has turned sideways and been pushed out from under the car like the axle had snapped into.

If you'd ever ridden in this car, you'd know why I dreamt that.



I was in downtown Corinth, and thre was some kind of event going that everyone was flocking to. I was uninterested, and really just wanted to go home and make some ramen. As I walked toward my house, a bigass storm blew up out of nowhere and hovered right on the edge of the historic area, threatening to wreak havoc. Big, bruise-colored clouds, eerie wind, etc. And since I'm terrified of that kind of storm, I started hauling ass. But there was a big swimming pool in the middle of the street. And since I guess it made more sense to me at the time to swim it instead of simply running around it, I jumped in. While madly doing the butterfly stroke across the pool (the butterfly being my least strongest stroke), my pants and underwear came off. I looked behind me, and the pool had become ridiculously huge and the clothes were floating too far away for me to go after them. I reached the end of the pool, jumped out, and ran toward my house. The storm disappeared. People walking by gave me dirty looks and mumbled under their breath, obviously disapproving of my lack of skivvies. *weird dreamy lapse in time* I'm fully clothed and driving toward Savannah. I get a call on my cell phone, and it's a woman at the TennTucky wanting me to approve a $200 purchase on my debit card. I tell her I'm not even at the station, and she tells me that my husband is. Then she asks me to verify that my name is Jessica Barrier Brown, at which point I start screaming to call the cops because someone has stolen my cousin's debit card and is attempting a $200 fraud. I'm suddenly at TennTucky, and this really fat, unattractive redneck is the one with the card but he's threatening to beat me up if I call Jessie and tell her her card's been stolen. Tamara's working behind the counter and saying she can't do anything about it but maybe we should go cruise around in Pickwick. I decide this is a good idea and we go to Freddy T's for sushi and then bump into that Keenan girl we knew in high school. She's turned black. Like, she has literally become a black woman. We chat for a few minutes and she walks away. Tamara sighs and says she always loved Keenan's car.

That's all I remember.