Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Dear number one in a recent lineup of terrifying dreams,

So. I am supposed to take my grandmother to visit her neighbor Gus at the new house he is building in the wilds of eastern Ohio. For some reason, this fills me with inexplicable dread. Child-style dread-- like when you had no words for what was coming, but knew it anyway. The night before our drive I dream of being in a shadowy compound where helpless young girls are captive to some terrible, unseen person, or persons. The girls are all bound at the wrist, hands tied behind their slender backs, held in gloomy cells, coops, or packed earth-floored rooms with no windows. No light.

In this dream my arms are bloodied from previous struggles. I move quickly, and the scenes change with frantic speed. My trusty switchblade cuts the rope from each of their tiny wrists, and I whisper for them to follow me, to run. It is too realistic, so urgent that I free them that I stumble along in a pathless frenzy. When they turn their faces to me I cannot see them clearly, they become only roped wrists and giant eyes. It is as though Henry Darger is illustrating my most primal fears. I am convinced that this drive must be taken armed.

The next day, my grandmother and I follow Gus' perfect directions. The latter part of the drive is filled with the intense certitude of inevitable discovery. On our paths final road a compound appears on my right, but my grandmother is talking about dinner already. There are no signs of peril, only a single truck at the end of a tree-lined drive. We come to the house Gus is building in his woods. He isn't there yet. His dog runs around us in the car. A cat sleeps on bales of hay, then disappears. We take turns peeing at the edge of his woods. I treat our bodies with insect repellent. The house is lovely. Thick planks of lumber dovetail at its corners. Gus arrives and we chat. He and I each drink a beer. Oma wants to eat, so we head to town for what turns out to be a gorgeous meal at a fantastic diner. Pictures of 4H kids and their sows line the walls. Oma wants to head home. As we pass the dance hall on our way back out of the nearest town, I wonder what had me so frightened. We stop at someone's roadside stand for tomatoes, beets, and honey.

Though my subconscious is usually unbearably obvious, it takes all of this proof to show me exactly whose hands I was freeing. Whose wrists were felt bound. I am grateful no one had to bleed.

With sympathy for the unsure,
The D.L.

1 comment:

dr von drinkensnorten said...

The return of the daily letter!