Beauty, like ice, our footing does betray; Who can tread sure on the smooth, slippery way: Pleased with the surface, we glide swiftly on, And see the dangers that we cannot shun.
- Dryden, English Poet, Dramatist, and Critic (1631-1700)
I just woke from the strangest dream.
I know there was quite a bit leading up to it, but my recollection starts mid-dream, and my wife and step-daughter are there at a school, Megan’s in her wheelchair and Rayna’s there cheering and we’re in the infield of a track stadium, coaches mulling around, athletes running the track, and I decide to kind of fade away into the crowd and try to discreetly exit the scene.
I remember jogging around handball courts at the school.
My plan is to head to the liquor store. It doesn’t take Freud to interpret this part of the dream, but yes, my wife is a Muslim and I occassionally (perhaps more than occassionally) rebel against her wishes and look to get away from it all and have myself a little rendezvous with John Barleycorn.
My plan was to grab a 40 oz. beer, but I suddenly realize that all my money’s back at home, so I have to turn around and double back around the school and make my way back to our house. The dream is lucid right here, because we do indeed live behind a school.
I’m in the house and I’m running up a flight of stairs and now the dream is turning surreal as I’m in a house that’s no longer the single-level, two-bedroom home we live in and there are five, maybe more bedrooms here.
I’m opening doors, and I’m curious why they have so many bedrooms in this house when half of them are empty. I remember how clean the empty bedrooms look, devoid of furniture, the carpets freshly vacuumed and the vacuum tracks are nice and straight without a single footprint to mar them.
Then I hear a knock at the door. As I scramble back down to the bottom of the stairs, the door is already slightly ajar and I see a big hand coming around and grasping hold of the side of the door. I try feebly to push the door back closed, but I’m not willing to slam the door on this intruder’s hand and I get the sense there’s no point in even trying to overpower the intruder and shut the door.
Through the door step two giant figures, each of which practically fills the door frame on their own. They’re wearing police uniforms, but I barely take notice of the uniforms, I’m transfixed by the angelic face of the one giant police officer in the lead. For all his size, he has the face of an angel and his hair is the slightly curly, cherubic, bushy-type hair you see in the paintings by Rafael.
In the manner of the trained police officer, the two cops are equally soothing and stern as they make it clear it’s in my best interest to just do as they say and lie down peacefully. As much as every fiber of my being wants to resist, no way do I want to fight them and rack up some charges for assaulting a police officer, so they manhandle me (gently) and now I’m on the ground.
In walk the doctors wearing the white lab coats straight from central casting. They tell me everything’s going to be fine, and out comes the needle and I know they want to sedate me so they can take me away. “NO! I don’t want to go!” I try to squirm but the cops have my arms pinned firmly to the floor.
The needle goes in and I can feel the cool fluid entering my veins. I’m determined though, I’m so sane I’ll just keep pleading with them even as the drug kicks in. “This is a mistake, I’m totally fine, just let me be, I’m not harming anyone and I’m not breaking any laws.” And I go on and on. I’m impassioned in my pleas, but I make sure not to come anywhere near to sounding hysterical as I see the doctors are taking notes on my every comment.
Now the drug starts kicking in and I’m trying hard not to slur my speech, telling them that’s not fair, it’s the sedative that’s making me lose control of my lips . . .
This is all a big mistake I tell them. I’m asking them to reconsider, I’m begging them, beseeching them, and then I woke to the sound of my own voice pleading with them not to take me away.