A pool. And the woman I’m with. Stepping to the edge, ready to dive in, there’s this slippery layer. It’s all dream-scape. The pool. The gelatinous rim encircling this private pool. The woman stands at a screen door, ready to walk back into a house while I swim. She’s cut short – stopped where she stands, struck by the combination of my tone of voice and angry face. Something slick all the way around the deck – the concrete edge of the pool. So slick, I could easily have slipped!

She should have cleaned it up – should never have allowed something unsafe like this to develop. Should have at least told me! The least she could have done was to tell me! That’s what I’m saying to her. Anger so very justified shapes everything I feel and say. I see shock on her face. Good! A look of irritation quickly turns to hurt. I see the transformation. My message is getting through. Good! This slick shit? Absolutely no excuse!

My fingers touch the slippery rim. It’s a two foot wide strip of something that feels like snot. Dream-scape. I know. It has to be a dream. Anger is a viscous thing, rolling, boiling. My consolation is her tears. Plainly now, I see her face collapse under the weight of my words, all just dream-scape. The power of this anger. The effect It’s having on her is intoxicating. Her mouth opens but no words follow.

From twenty feet, the distance from the pools edge to where she stands, I watch her hand on the screen door, her feet frozen. It’s taking all she has just to stand there, to look at me. That open mouth – just a round hole. Shock and pain contort her features. Good. Perfect! Dream-scape. I have more to say, every word drips pure meanness – intended to hurt, Sharpened to cut deeper.

I’m “rushing.” The intensity of anger, the clarity. It feels so good. The slick rim she didn’t clean away – didn’t say a thing about. I could have slipped and… she deserves it – every bit of it – has deserved this for so long! Then my fist. Devastation is complete. Her face and head distort, cartoon-like. Dream-like. God it felt good. It felt… It’s a dream. I know it now. I didn’t want it to be, but I know. And now… Oh god, I hit her!

Just a dream. It’s just a dream! Doesn’t matter. It was that kind of dream. God damn, I hit her! “A dream,” I say. Another voice reinforces the fact. Neither help. I hit her. I hurt her as bad as a man can hurt a woman.

Consciousness here, is just a wide space. I’m somewhere in the middle. Knowing I dreamed all this, I can wake up now. It will all go away now. But it doesn’t… won’t go away. I did all that. I still see her face. God no! It’s supposed to stop. I get to step away. I’m not really – I wasn’t really doing that. Didn’t do that! Half way up and out. Consciousness, just a wide space and I’m getting closer to the outside edge. Mostly awake but still caught in the horror. Can’t walk away – can’t “wake” myself away from… Oh god. I said those things and did… that. No! No!

The sheet over me is wet. My body… sweating. Awake now, really awake, but still dream captured – feeling completely responsible. Ya, only dreaming, but somehow I’d actually done it. Dreaming about a swimming pool and a space twenty feet wide and that slick stuff and her. And what I’d done.

Sheet pulled back, I slide my legs over the side of the bed. Now she’s awake too. A cautious voice, “What’s wrong?”, she asks… must have felt the tension. Red numbers… the clock. It’s two am. I sit in darkness. Horrified.

The bathroom. Then a drink of water. I know she’s listening, wondering. Can’t explain, can’t speak. Not those words. None of it.

When I’d given her the ring she had held it, a look on her face, surprise and pleasure mixed with a question. Reaching, I took it from her hand and held it between us. “This is my ring,” I explained. “This ring is the truth of who I am and the truth of who I’m not. It’s the truth of who I want to be and who I want to be with. “Will you wear it?” I asked.

Minutes pass as I lay back down in darkness. Though perfectly still the shock of what I’d dreamed was shaking the space between us – the space a man and woman share. Space that can’t be measured but real as the darkened room we both stare into.

When words came they hid nothing. I heard myself apologizing, asking forgiveness for dream imagery, dream words. “I would never do that to you” I said. “You know that’s not me… Not something I’ve ever done and never will.” More things, a few more words, but not many. “I’m not the man I want to be,” I said, reminding both of us of what had been said before. The explanation of a dream. Ya, just a dream, but one that had to be exposed right then – that night, without regard for numbers on a bedside clock.

Some things are real and not real. Man or woman, sometimes boundaries are too sharply defined. Agentic forces, rigid! Demanding! Just as at times, boundaries are erased too quickly – Eros in a rush – too big a hurry to demonstrate more than we are ready to accept. Again and again we remember and forget. Some things are real and not real.

A melody floats on the edge and I realize it’s the lyrics, not the music – I need those words, “right now!” Relived, I’m reminded that they’re in a certain file. The machine comes to life and a mercifully quick search brings them to the screen. A song we’d heard performed. A Stuart Davis piece:

“Friend, I’m with you when you cry, closer to your face than the water in your eyes. Cry, those tears become my own. I know that you are homesick, even though you’re home.

“I whisper in your ear, ‘You are already free.’  Soon you will laugh, and remember that you’re me. You were never lost, the Heart was always full. The Heart is all there is… Invincible.

“Friend, I’m with you when you weep, when both your eyes are closed and you don’t know you’re asleep. Dream, at night you dream of harm. You dream that you are lost, but you’re sleeping in my arms.

“I whisper in your ear, ‘you are already free.’  Soon you will wake up and remember that you’re me. You were never lost, the Heart was always full. the Heart is all there is… Invincible!”

Soon we were sleeping again, as now, dreaming, while waiting for Awakening to awaken.

Song lyrics from “Invincible” by Stuart Davis.

Author Tom Carroll

Author Tom Carroll

Tom Carroll is author of The Oracle. You can find out more about him on his website at this link.