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Sideways

March 5, 2010

I sat on a red leather booth waiting for Suzy to arrive. I looked around and realized that out of all the dream bars I’d been to, Sideways, was the clear favorite. It’s not a big place. Soft purple, red and yellow lights. Very interesting people. And the bar serves cold beer and liquor. No need for ice. When she arrived with two martinis I smiled. After so many months of not seeing her, she hadn’t forgotten our tradition.

She dropped a pearl into my drink and said, “Wake up.”

This is how I achieve lucidity around Suzy. She’s one of those dream figures who’s interested in waking life and curious about how I could exist in two places simultaneously.

We ordered food and a second round. Her whole demeanor changed suddenly. She looked sad and had clearly been avoiding answering particular questions.

“After five years it just didn’t work out with Jay,” she admitted. “We tried, but in the end I was tired of fighting.”

Now she was living alone and completely depressed. Of course, this wasn’t what she showed me. She showed me anger and resentment and told jaded accounts of their relationship. I knew she was hurting so I ordered a third. Another hour passed.

The fourth never came. She was sauced and needed to get home right away. As I tucked her in, she pulled me close and tried to kiss me. There was a time I would have reciprocated, but not now. Even with those soft blue eyes…

I took a careful look around her apartment. I touched her alarm clock, kitchen counter, the walls, the door knobs, utterly amazed at how sturdy everything felt. No matter how many times I’ve studied this environment I’m always stunned by the vividness.

I walked to Star’s place, a long and chilly journey, passing Sideways and watched as the crowd danced near an open window. I hurried to write down some notes on the dream. If I wasn’t going to wake up soon, I knew I’d be risking forgetting the details of the evening.

One knock and Star opened the door. She was wearing a white tank top and denim shorts. Barefoot. I tried my best to remain composed, but she was a vision. She gave me a big hug and said, “We have company.”

By the far window a woman stood in a light red dress. It was Six. When she turned around, our eyes met, and the memories of previous dreams came flooding back. The last time I saw her she was lecturing me about my love life. As truly beautiful women tend to do, she glided across the room and raised her hand to me. I kissed it and closed my eyes, taking in her scent.

“I was on my way out,” she said. “Come by later. I have something for you.” Wasn’t it nearly midnight? I couldn’t be sure. I couldn’t sense time. I nodded and she left, never once taking her eyes away from me.

I hadn’t seen Star for over seven months. She kissed me and made tea. Her hair was short again. Blond with blonder strands throughout. We talked, our lips inches away from each other, for the rest of the evening. Things grew much warmer into dawn…

I never got around to satisfying my curiosity about Six. What did she have to give me? Why was she looking at me so intently? Like recurring dreams and characters go, I’m sure I’ll find out soon enough.

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