You Can Never go Home Again - Double Life of a Young Woman series
YOU CAN NEVER GO HOME, AGAIN
“You can’t be here.” The young man said with as much anger in his voice as he could muster.
“You no longer live here. You have to leave!””
As he stated the order in a trembling voice, I looked around me, thinking; “What does he mean? Isn’t that my chair right there!? This is my room! Pasha is cat-napping in his basket, as always!”
I stepped back from the indignant boy-man as my eyes swept the interior of these familiar surroundings. What in the world is he talking about?” I think.
He stood still, staring at me as if I had a third arm. He seemed to be backing away from me and I could detect fear in his stance. I looked back at him with a ’ confused questioning’ expression on my face. For an instant, the thought crossed my mind that a third person might be in my apartment, standing just behind me and that this person was the one to whom the man spoke. I quickly turned my head to see….no one. There wasn’t anyone else there; just the two of us.
“This is my home,” I told him, “I live here.”
He didn’t move a step; he just stood there slowly shaking his head, seeming not to grasp my words. I repeated myself;
“This is my place…” and let the thought fall mid sentence. Something was not right.
I cannot actually speak. I know I am forming the words on my lips but, no sound emits. He isn’t reacting to me; it’s as if he can’t hear me. I ask him, “what are you talking about?” What are you doing here?”
He stands in one place, staring as if through me. He begins to back away, repeating his first command; “You no longer live here….you must go home. You’re not wanted here anymore.”
I am astounded. And frightened. As I consider his actions and words, I begin to notice that my upstairs apartment in the old Victorian home no longer looks like mine. There are clothes strewn about that are not mine. I see books and binders, bric a brac on the walls and posters that I don’t recognize and my stereo system is missing.
I’m beginning to become quite alarmed! What is happening? The front room which serves a dual purpose as bedroom - front room combination begins to grow dark. Soon, I can no longer see clearly, just the outline of objects; unfamiliar things which are not mine. In this newly dim atmosphere, my eyes begin to adjust and I am able to discern more and more of the environment around me.
“What? What has happened?”
Pasha has disappeared without a trace and my chair is no longer there. The young man, so upset just a second ago, is now looking in each and every corner of the room and walking quickly back and forth between rooms. His face holds the look of fear and worry. As I stand there, he rushes past me hurriedly grasping the door which leads to the stairway. I see his trembling hand turn the inside lock as his other hand turns the knob. Out through this entry way he runs, and lingers for just a second on the landing with a glance back into the open apartment before jogging down the stairs and out to the wraparound porch. Down the last stairway to the street, and off he dashed. In his haste, it appears he forgot to close the door.
“Why did he stop talking to me….and why was he in my apartment? He thinks it’s his! How dare he!” I thought with a bit more than irritated annoyance.
As I turned to walk back into the apartment, I was amazed that the door was closed and I could no longer go into the apartment. The lock had automatically self latched, leaving me outside while, I was sure my cat, Pasha, was inside somewhere.
“No matter,” I thought, which seemed strange, indeed, given what I’d just gone through.
I woke with a start! Heart pounding! Oh no, I’m having those dreams again! My face was flushed as I perused the lovely bedroom in my breezy Cliff May home; the one with all the windows which look out to tree studded gardens in a 360 view of all that I adore! My home. Thank God.
Reeling with the aftereffect of my confrontational, upsetting dream, my first thought is to jump out of bed, splash cold water on my face in an effort to wash away the feelings of sorrow and disillusionment the dream has stirred.
The refreshing water seems to cleanse away my abrupt and startled awakening, and the view out the large windows with a sweeping panorama of the present, helps to ease the edges of my dream and bring me ‘back to reality.’
Soon the effects of the dream have subsided a little and I begin my everyday am routine.
Mornings are a favorite time of mine; and this one is no exception. As I pull back the drapes which cover the floor to ceiling windows looking East, I can just see the beautiful rays of light as they seem to float on treetops across the street. Shadowing is exquisite at this hour, all things given extra dimension and perspective as the earth spins, allowing the sun to come into view. Filtered by many large, leafy Oaks and Evergreens, sunrise is a magnificent event here in my Northern California home.
“Coffee!” “Where is the grinder? Ahhh, last evening, I had purchased a pound of local French Roast from the little gourmet store just a mile walk from my house. What a treat! I placed a good heaping helping of oily beans into the grinder and then filled the coffee pot with fresh water. Today, as I have for years, I am preparing to drip my way into a caffeine induced high. Coffee makers, percolators, French press, one cup brewers, and Starbucks instant instant be damned! I’m doing it my way…the Melitta way! I’ve always loved this method best. Well, actually; my all time favorite way to make freshly brewed java is using a Chemex with the round filters made specifically for that brand. These are harder and harder to find so, Ms. Melitta works fine for me!
The pungent aroma of strong, bold coffee accelerates my return to the present, pushing the foggy memories of my REM moments out of my immediate conscious thoughts; aiding the landing “back to earth.”
Steaming hot cup in hand, I check the time….a little after 8 am… and decide it’s ok to call my friend to tell him that I’ve had “the dream” again. He knows all about these recurring episodes about my former years, and, he shared many of those years with me; he was there for the gory details. So, I have no doubts about sharing this latest installment of what is turning out to be quite a story.
Dialing his number, I take a long, satisfying sip from the delicious beverage. Can there be any better way to start one’s day? “I think not!” I find myself saying aloud…..
The phone rings several times before he answers…
“Hi Kath!” he says…what’s up?”
We have always had a friendship which allows breaking all the ‘rules’ which state ‘you should not call before such and such an hour,’ and ‘you should never do this,’ or ‘you really, absolutely cannot say that!’
No…our friendship is and has always been entirely unique, accepting and open. No judgments, well…almost no judgments between us or about one another. I know I can tell Al just about anything and rest safely in the knowledge that he would never use it against me or cause me distress, in any way.
So, I find my way to the overstuffed couch with the coffee table of a perfect height, set down the dark, rich brew and begin to retell the dream.
“Boy, Kathy, did you try to tell him you used to live there? “
“I didn’t have the time, Al,” I said, “He acted very fearful of me and, while it’s happening, it’s like I’m there…during that time and I am just as confused and scared as he is. And, here’s the weird thing, Al. The place began to change; to become different even while I’m standing there but, even though it has to be happening at the same time, I never saw it! It seems like no time has passed and years of time have passed all at once, and, suddenly, I’m in a different time and a home which is no longer mine. All of a sudden, the interior of that apartment became his, not mine…and , in the dream, I am feeling as freaked out as he is.”
“Wow!” exclaims Al, “Hey, try this. Try to remember right now! This conversation.! If; no I should say , when you have the dream again, tell him that you used to live there….don’t try to convince him that you do live there.!
“Here“, he continued, “let’s think of some kind of prompt or word association that you can call to mind at that very moment so that you can communicate with him. If you can do this; maybe he won’t be so afraid of you and you two can talk about what’s happening.”
As he is saying this, I am reminded of the ‘secret code word’ shared between Houdini and his wife; one which was supposed to confirm, leaving no doubts, that there is an afterlife. Unfortunately, she died before he was able to make that connection. I ponder this while seriously considering Al’s suggestion.
“Well,” I began, that’s a good idea but, I’m trying to tell you, when this is happening, I am in his time; not today; not this present time. Not 2011! Do you see what I mean? Anyway, it doesn’t really bother me; it’s just a little upsetting when I wake up a little disoriented. It’s ok, just thought I’d tell you it’s happened again. No biggie.”
“No!” he quickly barked at me, “this has been going on for more than a few times, now, and though you say it isn’t bothering you.. it has to be disturbing in one way or another. And, Kathy, have you ever wondered why you keep going back there in your dreams?”
He had a point … he actually had several valid points. He was right. I had begun to wonder why, other than that it was a profoundly pivitol point in my life; I returned to that apartment again and again. My dream sequence had taken a bit of a turn in that, as it repeated itself, it changed, as well. This last encounter was the most direct; and the most real. Someone actually saw me. Unlike my previous visitations, this one was uniquely different because the young man in this particular incident, saw me. My former dreams were comprised of other characters; this young man was a new face.
Why Do I Love It So?
I’d never been ordered out before when returning to my upstairs apartment in my dreams. This small flat was, and is, one of the favorite places in which I lived during my exploring, experiencing days. I was so glad that it was located on the second floor of a beautiful old Victorian home on a big, broad street lined with huge trees. There were lots of different styles of older homes; some loaded with gingerbread, others with simple lines. Large, elegant homes beside cottages and cabin like dwellings. A perfect mix!
Never say Never!
When I first heard that the small single apartment would be available, I rushed over immediately and saw that there were several people on the porch swing. I approached them in order to learn what I could. Fortunately, they shared an apartment there. Shortly, I learned that the manager actually lived on the premises and was, pretty much, always home. With my eye on the prize and no second thoughts, I marched up to the Manager’s door and rapped loudly. When he answered, I introduced myself and said, “
“Hello. My name is Kathy and I really want to rent the upstairs apartment. I have the rent and deposits required and I can give you excellent references.” (Failing to secure this cool place was not an option; I was not going to take ‘no’ for an answer!)
Amazingly, within several days, I was moving into that pretty little place
How do I Love Thee?
I spent 6 years there, living and loving and learning about life. It was my home; and there was quite a while during which I felt I’d never leave; I loved it so. So much of life’s wonders, trials and tribulations happened upstairs in Apt. # 3.
For all these reasons, awake and asleep, I found myself wandering back there in daydreams and, most recently, what has become nightmares. I guess Al was right, I needed to figure out why this kept on happening and, more importantly, why, in this latest sequence, I had been ejected!
In the past, my dreamlife had taken me to the little apartment. During a series of these occasions, I am convinced, I actually spent as much time there as in my present home. I’d walk through the kitchen seeing everything in its place and as it should be. In the refrigerator would be the big, home made loaves of bread and soup which were a daily staple. Fresh fruit, milk for coffee, brown sugar, honey and all the things I loved were available when I needed it.
Just across from the fridge was the old farm sink with high backsplash and deep draining boards. And, off to one side, the ever present bag of Friskies Cat Food for my sweet kitties Lucky, Pasha, Miss Footer and Mama. The large redwood burl table that a former boyfriend and I had sanded and finished, was the focal point of this warm kitchen. This kitchen came with an old, enameled four burner gas stove with heating oven and baking oven. The stove stood on 12” legs. Perfect! There was a built in china cabinet with paned glass doors on top and 5 drawers below. The upper shelves were filled with fun and functional things. Off the kitchen was the small bathroom with large, deep clawfoot tub, pedestal sink, knotty pine wainscoting and pine flooring. I loved nothing better than to put on jazz (Chick Corea, Miles Davis, Earl Klugh, John Klemmer) and take a long, hot bath. All the cats would line up beside the tub or on the toilet seat. Heaven.
Out the back was a little room that could double as a mud room or wash room with a door to the back stairs which led to the alley way behind the house.
Often, I’d sit on the roof I could easily climb on from the stairway, and watch the clouds roll by. Heaven!
This was why, I believe, I ventured back, over and over, in my dreams.
Variations on a Theme
When I had ‘gone home’ previously; I’d ‘exist” there, following my usual, every day life, with few oddities or differences. I recall being aware that someone else was there; and having a strong sense that I was getting away with something; that I was actually in someone else’s apartment home (because, certainly, even in the dream I knew I wasn’t really supposed to be there and was, actually, trespassing); but I continued, anyway; moving about and making myself at home, happy to be there.
I clearly remember, one time, thinking, "I wonder why I'm not being charged rent? They must know I'm here." Though I was aware that I was intruding, in a way; the strange calculus of the entire experience lent itself to illogical conclusions, conflicting realities and contradictory 'states of mind' causing one thought I was sure of to absolutely be at odds with the next!
Often, I’d ‘just miss’ the current occupant and leave with a great feeling of relief; and glad that I would be able to continue spending time there while still feeling that it ‘wasn’t quite right.’
I worried that I’d be “caught” while harboring an increasing thought; “I really should not be here. I am just barely escaping discovery. It’s been very close on occasion. But, I don’t want to leave this place….” I lament.
I decided to use Al’s strategy and try with all my mental prowess to be aware of both the present and past next time I found myself in my home of 15 years previous.
END OF PART ONE