YOU CAN NEVER GO HOME AGAIN II- Double Life of a Young Woman Series
The Dream Episodes continue...turning into something other than Pleasant.
Time passed without another return to my former home. This was typical. I didn’t expect to visit any time soon and, in the wink of an eye, weeks, even months transpired since the last episode.
In fact, as much as 6 months had come and gone on several different occasions, allowing me to forget about the strange adventures in dreamland…almost.
In retrospect, I realized that , rarely, did I ever actually physically visit the little apartment; the focal point of so much mystery. “Hmmmm, I thought, this is strange!” Maybe I avoided driving past or walking by because, doing so would somehow change or alter my memories; the feelings which are stirred by the thought of the place; and this did not require my actual physical presence. As in the saying ‘you can never go back to the past.’ Any attempt to do so, it seems, would mar the essence of memories.
Life went on as wonderfully usual. Beautiful spring days turned into long, lazy summertime. In my northern California home, the lengthy summers are not as tortuous as are the steamy, torrid months of July and August in other parts of the country. I had to pinch myself, when I realized how incredibly lucky I was to have such a peaceful place to be when so many were suffering the ill effects of summertime heat.
So, seasons came and went; weeks, months slipped away while I was in the throes of everyday activities which seemed to consume my time and occupy my mind; keeping the ethereal, mysterious nether world of dreamland at bay.
I had been quite busy with a particular piece of furniture; sanding, filling in nail holes and gluing areas which had weakened with constant use. I knew this unique table would be gorgeous, once I finished the restoration. This was quite a process, requiring not only “know how” but brute strength, as well. A heavy item, the antique country kitchen table was constructed of solid oak, of such an age that it almost seemed petrified. Finding the right reclaimed parts to replace the missing cross pieces and underpinnings was time consuming. And the act of simply moving the weighty wood took all my effort. One day, I spent the entire time sanding and shaping the old hand turned legs, using my Dremel drill for the more delicate, hard to get to areas as well as sand paper, steel wool and a good helping of determination. Before I knew it, daylight had turned to dusk and I was dog tired! Finally, I decided to let the task go for the evening and continue the following morning.
Dragging my weary body into a deep, hot tub was just what I needed! Lights dimmed, candles lit, soothing instrumental music in the background and not another thing pressing to take the joy of this relaxing soak away, I slid into the big tub and closed my eyes for a momentary rest…..
“The place looks somehow different, “ I thought, as I entered the front door, as I always do on my way to the kitchen to fix a bite to eat.
This initial impression vanished as quickly as it started as my attention was directed towards locating Lucky.
“Must check on Lucky,” was the next thought that came to mind. “She’s been acting a little strangely; not sleeping in her usual place - right next to my head as we share the same pillow every night.”
I looked for my sweet little kitty but did not see her anywhere. “I know where she is“ I reassured myself, “she’s probably on the back roof waiting for me to join her.”
I placed the groceries I had on the big burl kitchen table and proceeded to the ’mud’ room and out the door. I’ve always loved this beautiful scene; seasoned homes with large back yards filled with mature trees, wild vines, old barns or tool sheds. Most of the buildings I saw from this vantage point had seen ‘better days,” but, now, were aged and weathered. I thought this added to their charm. Like patina on old copper or touches of rust on outdoor iron furniture; the effects of time add to the beauty of such things.
No Lucky! I began to call her.
“Lucky! Where are you?”
Still, she is nowhere in sight.
I worry, sometimes, about my sweet girl. Although she has always been an indoor kitty, occasionally; I allow her out the back way so that she can experience fresh air. This area opens up to an alley way that rarely sees traffic. Mostly, children play and pups romp freely in the communal area.
Thinking she must be somewhere near and that I need not worry, I stepped up the stairs into the house to pick up where I left off…putting things away in the fridge and cabinets, straightening up my home and partaking of something yummy to eat.
But, wait! “What is this?” I am alarmed. “Has someone been in here? Something isn’t quite kosher! “ I have a feeling; an eerie sense that someone is watching me….just out of sight, it’s very unsettling.
Looking around, the environment begins to ‘change,’ almost ‘swirling in slow motion. Solid items; my bed, the chair, appear to become molten, as if melting. I think of Salvador Dali. His paintings of ‘melting’ clocks which seem to be oozing downward. So were my immediate surroundings, ’melting’ in large, tear shaped globules. The distortion continues; to the point that nothing is recognizable. Though it appears to be in motion and no longer stable, the floor holds my weight as I hold my position. The surreal incident continues to unfold, and my fight or flight response is firing rapidly. My immediate urge is to escape! Strangely, the exit is visible, even in the midst of the disturbing phenomenon.
My apartment looks like a living, moving entity.
I head towards the door thinking , as much as it is possible to reason in such a moment; that I should run! Leave! My mind searches for a logical explanation while also thinking about Lucky and the other kitties! “Where are they?” Now, it begins to seem much odder that Lucky did not come when I called her and is still absent. Very unlike her. Scanning the room, I see none of my feline friends.
Looking back towards the front door, I spy the handle start to turn, Quickly snapping my head from left to right, searching for something that makes any sense out of what is happening, I hear the lock click as the door begins to open!
“Hide!” is my first impulse. “ Be quiet and hide!”
The open passageway reveals a young man who has stepped through the threshold and is tossing a bundle onto …. Onto a futon type bed on the north wall! My brain is not comprehending this at all! A futon?
“What is going on?” As quickly as it had begun, the entire apartment has gone back to “normal…” someone else’s ‘normal.’ Not mine. All has changed; the futon where my chair should be, bare floor where I had placed a woven ‘rag’ rug; sports paraphernalia strewn about the place; everything is altered!
Survival instinct, again, tells me to get out of there, and fast. It is quite an understatement to say that the essence of this whole thing is not inviting and no longer feels welcoming.
In an instant, I start from my deep sleep. The water in the tub has grown chilly, the candles have all gone out and my music has stopped! How did this happen?
Eyes wide open, turning my gaze from side to side, uncertain of what I might survey; I realize that I am in my comfy bed, in my pretty room with morning sun filtering through gauzy curtains. It begins to dawn on me that, not only has "the dream" become more confusing, complicated and threatening but, it appears to have bled over into the present....how, and when did I go from tub to bed? Where is the evidence of my having even been in the tub?
“The Dream, again!” I thought. “Damn it!”
This time, it was completely disturbing. Upsetting and disappointing.
“Well, it’s been quite a while since I’ve done this,” I muse, “how long has it been…hmmm….at least three or four months, maybe even more….half a year?”
I had come to believe that, perhaps, this strange sequence had reached it’s final destination when, last time, the ‘young man’ who currently occupies my old apartment, had ordered me out.
To be honest, I don’t know who lives there now. The timing of these dreams, the date in which they take place has never been constant and, now that I think about it, Ive never been aware of what the date was…or was supposed to be…during my trips back there.
Another very important aspect, it occurs to me, is the fact that, when I am in the dream, “I” am the person I used to be…..sometimes….! Other times, “I” am the woman I am today. It is even more confusing though, as sometimes, I am the age and person of the present; when in the dream, I am not aware of my present circumstances - nothing about my life of today….but, only aware of the person I am. There is no cognizance of having ‘traveled” from one year to another; only a sense of my current self but, without all the trappings that are a part of my present existence!
These thoughts wend their way through my mind as I prepare for another gorgeous day while considering the ludicrous state of affairs my former life has cast into present day.
First thought! Coffee! Call Al! Tell him - it’s happened again. I think, “take steps one through 4...repeat, mix up, stir, agitate, swirl and….repeat!”
I am impressed with the realization that, once again, I am going through familiar steps….Have the dream…awake in a state….freshen up to remove the filmy realm from which Ihave emerged and.. call Al!
As I am preparing to do this, I recall our last really serious conversation about my ‘alter life.’ He had suggested that I attempt to communicate with the ‘other person.’ Be reasonable, logical and try ro make sense of a senseless experience. \
“Try to talk to him, Kath; do not tell him you live there, tell him you used to live there.”
“Use word association…figure out a prompt which you know you’ll remember and try to span the chasm between the past and the now.” Form a link!
“Yea, right!” I say aloud…”Easy for you to say!”
I realize that I am irritated and angered by this latest turn of events. The disorientation caused by the distorted room; the way in which it all “changed” instantly the moment the door opened to allow another person into the room…I was just a bit more than irked!
These encounters were beginning to become alarming, to say the least! What once was a reminiscent, nostalgic jaunt into my ‘past life’ of, well, more than several years ago, was becoming something of a nightmarish excursion. No longer bitter sweet, filled with that exhale of relief one feels when finally being able to relax…no, now waking up is equivalent to feeling as if I’d taken a step into the Twilight Zone.
Maybe I had!
Back to the present…
Listen to him lecture me, yet again, about ‘taking control’ and directing this play rather than being a pawn in someone else’s game.
He was right, of course. How else was I to either, 1) end this thing or, 2) become the mistress of my own destiny?
Did I really need to return, again and again, to that home of yesteryear?
Were the ‘feelings” which were stirred by this strange adventure really worth it?
Were all the conflicting emotions brought on upon waking from such an encounter really necessary?
I am beginning to think not.
End of Part II
Dear Readers: The above is a flight into fantasy, fabrication, embellishment and imagination. Contrary to Part I, this one contains a far greater amount of fiction.
Stay tuned for Part III where some things are revealed and some shall remain a mystery.