Friday, September 09, 2005

What Dreams Haunt My Earliest Memories

I took an interesting drive down memory lane this afternoon.

Driving home from visiting a client in downtown Spokane, I encountered road construction and an unexpected detour. I cursed under my breath and lamented the closure and/or "detour" of nearly every major roadway in the city. We've had more construction than usual this summer, and no matter how cleverly I try to plan my route in advance to avoid unneccesary delays, unforeseen detours just seem to "crop up" out of no-where; like today.

The detour route led traffic away from the main arterial and into a quiet residential neighborhood lined with trees. The orange detour sign indicated which of the sideroads to follow, but suddenly I found myself feeling strangely familiar with my surroundings. I drove one block ahead of the detour sign and stopped at the next crossroads. A street sign to my right read: Calispel. Across the street to my left stood one of several houses I lived in as a little boy, before my parents divorced.

The house was an old two story dwelling converted into a duplex. When I lived there with my parents and my baby brother, the landlord occupied the ground floor, and we occupied the upper story. I had a small room to myself, only slightly larger than a walk-in closet, with a dormer window facing the street. I was only four or five years old at the time.

Memories from that house hold a certain hazy, if not surreal quality for me. I started to become aware of my dreams during that time, but I did not easily distinguish between my inner dreamworld and the outer reality.

Once I dreamed my parents were arguing and my mother started throwing my father's beer bottles out the kitchen window. When she couldn't find any more bottles, she started throwing glass plates and bowls. I clearly remember seeing her, her long dark hair flinging wildly as she screamed; I distinctly remember the sound of shattering glass; it seemed so real, and truly, I thought it was real, but when I got up the next morning, the kitchen window was whole and unbroken. I ran outside to the yard expecting to see broken beer bottles and smashed kitchenware, but there was nothing; only the green grass and the happy, calm blue sky above.

I ran back into the house and up the stairs to our little apartment, and nearly out of breath, I confronted my mother, "Mom...what happened to all the glass?"

"What glass?" she said quite softly, almost sweetly; altogether different than I remembered her sounding the previous night.

"The glass you threw out the window!" I stated impatiently.

"Don't be silly," she said, "I didn't throw any glass out the window."

One night, not long after the mysterious incident with the disappearing broken glass, a little red-headed boy wearing a blue and green striped shirt woke me up to play with him. I followed him out of my little room into the kitchen; it was dark, and I could see the light was off under my parents' bedroom door down the hall. " quiet," he said, "I want to show you something. Follow me." He tiptoed across the kitchen floor and opened the cupboard under the sink. A bright light shone out from the opening and the little boy crawled in. "Come on!" he motioned for me to follow. As I approached, I could see what looked like a sandy beach or field on the other side of the cupboard. The sun in that other world shone as bright as day. I started to follow him, but felt suddenly afraid. I awoke with a start.

The dream seemed so tangible and real...I ran from my bed and threw open the cupboard fully expecting to see the same strange opening to the other world. Once again, there was nothing extraordinary... only pipes and a few cleaning bottles.

I had other bizarre, otherworldly dreams, of people walking through walls and floating like ghosts through the air; but one final dream stands out with chilling clarity.

I awoke in the middle of the night, or at least, I thought I awoke. The house was dark, except for an eerie blueish light shining from the bathroom. I felt compelled to see what was causing such a strange light, but at the same time, I felt a terrible sense of dread. When I entered the bathroom, the door slammed shut behind me and I saw a tall man dressed in a black suit standing on the ceiling. Now I knew this had to be a dream, but as much as I tried, I could not escape; I couldn't scream. The man lowered himself from the ceiling and stood hovering in the air above me. He smiled a wicked grin with a perfect set of shiny white teeth, and would have seemed handsome were it not for the aura of pure evil surrounding him.

He smiled, but he spewed hatred through his perfect teeth; "You know Barry," he said, "I don't like you very much." He then picked me up by my ankles and plunged me head first into the toilet water as he laughed.

I woke up screaming; drenched in my own sweat. What a terrible and graphic dream for a four-year-old. Oddly, I remember very little of the experiences I actually lived in that house, but the dreams remain with me still. As I parked my car across the street, I could close my eyes and still see that horrible man. Why did I ever dream such awful things? Why did fate bring me back to this house today? Why did the universe ask me to recall this horrible memory at this time in my life?

I feel vulnerable and weak sharing these things with you, my unseen audience, but I also feel lighter knowing others now see what dreams haunted my earliest memories.


Chelle said...

The man you speak of in your dream, sounds so much like you. When I read it, he made me think of you. They say that each person in your dream represents yourself. Maybe it was you who did not like yourself.

Chelle said...

That sounded really horrible. I dont mean that you are evil.....