The Birthday Party in My Mind
Another year older and hundreds of dreams logged in half a dozen notebooks. No birthday party. No gifts. A sunny day with soccer fans roaming the streets, faces painted, country flags raised high. Later, an intimate dinner and movie.
With this I entered the dream…
Inside an old hotel I woke up alone in a bed that wasn’t mine. The television was on and the leftovers on the tray were half eaten. I opened the curtains to determine my location. Instead of the sun, streets, blue skies, mountains, or snow I found sharks, fish, turtles, whales and other sea life swimming near each other. I touched the glass; it felt cool against my skin. I backed away and centered my mind. Such a dream was far to rare to prematurely awaken.
I investigated further. I began with the closet. I would need to get dressed in order to properly search through this eccentric hotel. I found one black dress, stilettos with slits along each side, a hairpin and diamond necklace. Done. On the way out a woman was approaching.
“Good. You’re ready,” she said, unveiling a blindfold. “Now get this on.”
The other blond. I wasn’t surprised to see her.
“Hang on a sec,” I said. “I think I’ll pass.” Blindfolds can be tricky inside the dream. I didn’t want to wake up, but I also saw an opportunity to test the expectation effect once more. If I expect to wake up I will. If I expect prolonged blindness that’s exactly what will happen. If I was going to enjoy all aspects of this dream I would have to take the plunge.
“I trust you,” I heard myself say. The blindfold introduced a special darkness. I could see the dream in a whole new way. All the composing layers were exposed. Some of objects (the paintings, plants and chairs) in the hallway were made of hundreds of pixels with scrolling numbers while the walls themselves seemed to be breathing.
I was observing the Dreaming.
“Ready?” she asked.
With one hand on my back and the other on my shoulder she guided us down spiraled stairs that slid forward. She held onto the rail and we started to free fall. It was joyful! I smiled as I heard that familiar laugh. We landed on a slick floor and I watched the light grow brighter in the new space we occupied.
“Almost there, babe,” she whispered.
The sound of heavy doors shutting behind us. Her hand moving around my waist. She removed the blindfold and in thick pink letters I read: Happy Birthday.
People began to scream and clap. They blew whistles. Confetti fell from above.
I was completely unprepared. I swallowed the stubborn knot in my throat and smiled. It was a grand reunion with all the dream figures of past and present, family, friends and strangers. Blondie sang a song for me. John gave me a hug and said, “I’ve missed you”, Willows told me to embrace the wisdom of age. My vampire partner kissed my hand and bowed. Angie asked me to stay as long as possible. My family was huddled around a large fire cake. It was roasting floating almonds.
I studied the faces around me and for a moment I thought of my mortality. I could be dead and reunited with everyone I’d ever known and be convinced I was simply dreaming.
We played games and danced. A game called, “Guess the Dream,” was one of my favorites although it required a disciplined patience and understanding that seemed beyond my scope. Someone would drop selected objects around the hotel and players were supposed to pick up as many as possible and determine which dream they came from. I picked up soda caps, keys, letters, mittens, earrings, shoelaces, coins and other shiny things I never knew existed. They were ordinary. But upon touching them they filled my mind with visual clues. A quick flash. Memories of the dreamer. We seemed to inhabit a collective experience.
After running around the underwater hotel and taking turns playing the dreamer we entered a room without a ceiling. We were so close to the night sky the stars seemed to dangle over her heads like Christmas ornaments. The knot in my throat began to rise. The other blond put her arms around me. We danced like everything that happened in the past had been altered to make this moment appear more real. She kissed my neck and rested her head on my shoulder. The knot had grown uncontrollable…I felt the torment again. I swept her off her feet and carried her to the room. She felt light in my arms.
“Did you like the party?” she asked. Her eyes were drowsy.
“Shocking. I hope I’ll remember it when it’s all over.”
“You shouldn’t think about that. You’re still here.
We went into the room, moved the sofa and positioned it in front of the window. We sat together and let the calming effects of sea life filter through us.