Sunday, June 5, 2016

"What's Next" for a Thousand

In the dream, I awoke to sand covering my carpet. It was a supposed beach recreation meant as a romantic surprise. I was confused. Who would throw sand on a perfectly clean floor? Worse, I wasn’t even in my own home. Whose home was this, and how did I get here? I look down at myself and see that I am still in my strappy nightgown. Why would I have left the house in something so skimpy? I discover later that I was taken during the night and carried to this place I have never been. I am horrified because, first, I am not wearing any panties and, second, I must have forgotten to lock my door. I wander the sand-covered home and find a man named Wade standing in the kitchen. There is a huge PowerPoint display with clues as to the surprise flashing across the screen. It seems Wade will be my guide on this adventure. I am excited because Wade, at first, is like one of those guys in Facebook memes, sexy and charming, posted often with a “Hey girl” quote. Later, Wade will turn into a scary, unshaven mess who more closely resembles someone one would see in a cheaply made murder movie. I am not comfortable in this dream and want out but can only make that happen by properly answering the quiz show questions that flash across the giant screen. “Great,” I tell myself, “I’m fucked.”

I awake in real life and begin to mentally review all the foods I ate the day prior. Salad, grapes, whole wheat toast. Dry-fried okra, a tofu black-eyed pea sauté. A reasonably portioned glass of Pinot Gris. I check to see if I am wearing underwear and if, indeed, my door is locked. My carpets are clean, and my kitchen is devoid of motivational movie screens of any kind. What can explain the weirdness of what happened in the night?

I rack my brain to wonder if I have a fear of intimacy of any kind or if I am possibly afraid to let go of control and to have a little messy fun in my life. I pull up dream dictionaries, take a few notes, get absolutely nowhere with interpreting this mess. Is my life a game show being emceed by an ever-changing dude named Wade? That would be fun but makes no sense. And now I remember I must add value to the reader’s life or take my words and go home.

Maybe Wade is God.

I am at a point in my life where I am trying very hard to write the script. I have not much cared for the previous chapter of my life and have grabbed the pen from the hand of God in an effort to draw ponies and rainbows and multi-colored unicorns in a land that rains glitter and hangs sparkly clouds. In the story of my life, can’t I have feathers and frills and chocolate-covered cupcakes in every chapter, on every page? Why do things sometimes have to be tough? Why do there have to be death and divorce, addiction and sorrow? Why must there be days of loneliness so crushing it sends one to bed with boxes of tissue and eyes that are red?

Pain is the path to growth. This is what I’m told. When someone tells me this I secretly imagine them burning in hell. And then I smile and say out loud, “This is what I’ve heard.”

“It is always darkest before the dawn.” “If the Lord puts you through it, he will see you through it.” “If you want to see the rainbow, you gotta make it through the rain.” I know a couple of people who are dying. Or at least they’ve been told. How’s that for dark? Where’s the rainbow for them?

If I put my academic hat on for a sec, I know that pain and joy are relative and that it is through the experience of each that we know the other. Would it be easier to have a life of okay-ness than the ups and downs promised at birth? Is a life of okay-ness really a life? Does life exist if it is clean and controlled, as I preferred it in my dream? Life is messy. Life is hard. Life is also fun and joyous and free. Life is all of this. And I, like it or not, am not always the one in control.

Fine, then, Wade. I’ll take “What’s Next” for a thousand.

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