I have a recurring dream. So much so it’s not a dream I’ve had merely a handful of times, but in dozens of variations, always the same at the core. I’ve had the dream so often I recognize in sleep when it’s coming. Truth told, I’ve grown weary of it.
I had it again this weekend.
It’s not the result of sleeping naked and visions of tattoo parlors and being licked by a rockabilly rebel. Or the warm non-physical embrace of a curly haired boy who encourages me - through vodka fueled sadness - to walk in the shoes of a strong, beautiful woman.
In this dream I'm on my own, or want it that way. I’m moving or have moved homes and find my life wrapped in boxes and too much sticky tape. Sometimes the change of address features just me, most often it includes the family I once had, all in-laws and prodigy in tow. Never with a man or a mate. A couple of times friends from the past have appeared.
The move and initial time to settle is always chaotic and I’m always unhappy. Once the front driveway sank, grand slabs of concrete simply swallowed by wet, rich dirt I could smell. Another time the wood privacy fence, more than 12 feet tall and wide surrounding the front of the home, was torn down in the night by a crew of workman; I awoke in the dream feeling panicked and exposed to neighbors peering into roof-to-ceiling plate glass windows. In one version the backyard went on as far as I could see into the distance, but it contained only dead grass and weeds. I recall a house laid out in a maze of hallways and rooms connected one after another, so big I lost count after four floors of exploring. Everyone had already called a room, leaving me no space, no place.
At some point the despair comes, the feeling lost. Sometimes I’m just being ignored or not heard. “This is a mistake,” I say. “Why did I come, why did I change everything?” Because no one wants me here and they tell me with actions and without words.
But then I remember I have a home, a place to run back to. The two homes are always the same; the one I live in now and the one I lived in then. A townhome I never sold the mortgage on, that may sit empty or hold the remnants and relics collected over a near decade. The other times it’s a shoebox apartment, home during "The Ramen Years", cheap but clean with 1970’s avocado-colored appliances and little breathing room made warm and cozy on nickels and dimes. I still have a key to the mailbox and the front door. Once I went in and found someone else living there.
Perhaps the dreams remind me how I feel safer in my own head and my own space. There’s no surprise or unknown in the comforts of “home”, no confrontation. But there I’m always alone.
Then last night I had a sex dream about a boy I went to high school with and everything was all better.