Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Into The Broken Arms of Morpheus

From an early age Charlene had shared her nights with an endless parade of oddballs and twisted situations. While her friends dreamed about Strawberry Shortcake dolls and ponies, Charlene was caught in the backdraft of a tornado of surreal images. She double dated with gorillas and wandered through unfamiliar mansions clothed as a crone or Howdy Doody. She had spent countless hours pondering the meaning of a lengthy dream in which she, possibly as someone else, rode in an antique convertible down streets lined with animated jellybeans in a town populated by her ancestors; Grand Marshall of a parade traveling those vague side streets of the brain.

In her teen years Charlene tried desperately to grasp the meaning of her somnolent visitations. Like other girls of her age she dreamed dreams of teen heartthrobs. But why then, when she dreamed of Shaun Cassidy, was he a harpsichord virtuoso with green hair and six fingers on each hand? Was polydactylism an unexplored turn-on for her?

Charlene was at a loss. Short of actual couch time (she had enough people in her head already, thank you…) she probed and pondered every avenue of explanation. She read Freud which ruined a perfectly good relationship with her mother. She thumbed through countless dreambooks in the checkout lines and voraciously read every horoscope that crossed her path. She even sought out Madame ZaVirre and had the dark cards tossed before her. Stymied by the lay of the deck, Madame Z. muttered incomprehensibly, traced numerous ritual patterns with her finger on the cloth covered table and, after examining Charlene’s palms for unusual birthmarks, sent her on her way without charge.

Finally, in her 29th year, Charlene threw in the towel. Let the night do it’s worst. She would let the Daliesque waves wash over her like warm Caribbean waters. Not another garbled conversation would she jot down, not another errant image would grace her desk blotter while she doodled her way through a phone call. That night she stood at the bedside in her oversized tee-shirt, raised her arms high and loudly proclaimed, “Bring on the night. I no longer care. Give it your best shot!”

That, of course, was all that it took. Like a classic fairytale (well, okay, in Charlene’s case it was more like a fable with a talking inchworm…) she was asleep in moments and, almost immediately, Morpheus appeared to her and explained all in a few short sentences.

You see, throughout history the gods picked one person into whose sleep was imported all the interrupted dreams of others. In San Francisco a candidate for gender reassignment is awakened by a car alarm… In Oklahoma a librarian’s reveries are cut short by her cat’s need for attention… the balance of their dreams would shift directly onto Charlene’s pillow and into her slumbers. Suddenly it all made sense. And just as suddenly she no longer fretted. Their meanings, arcane as they may be, were clear and undisturbing. Her dreams became no more relevant than scenery that whizzes by the car window at sixty mile an hour; the blur of a picket fence without meaning.

Charlene never shared this with others and, even when she married later in life, she would occasionally share her dreams with her husband but never give a clue as to the deus ex machina running the show from behind the curtain.

Through all the years of her life Charlene wore the mantle of responsibility with a certain pride and an understanding that she was part of something much greater than herself.

1 comment:

  1. I think I'm in love with your brain.

    Really enjoyed this one.


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