Tuesday, March 15, 2011


I was strolling through the airport with my father, carrying my worn, trusty, ten-year-old veteran of a backpack (which was presumably stuffed full of clothing and other necessities for a trip) and a furry, light blue Blue's Clue's briefcase (which was surprisingly light -- I couldn't fathom what could possibly be in there) that I have never seen in my life.
Eventually, we reached the car, which was parked next to an oddly-situated information booth.  I threw my bags in the back and got in the front passenger's seat.  Strange.  Earlier on I had been under the impression that I was about to travel somewhere by plane.  Perhaps my flight had been delayed for an egregious amount of time.  It was raining pretty hard, but that didn't bother me.
Without ever seeming to have traveled anywhere, Dad and I were in the house again.  My bags sat heaped on the couch, and I puttered around the kitchen, preparing a bowl of soup.
Looking at the soup can, I had the strange feeling that it was very familiar.  "Where'd these come from?" I inquired.
Dad, who'd been standing at the back doorway since we'd come home, suddenly appeared at my shoulder.  "Don't you remember, Green?  You helped Bjorn make those this summer."
At that particular moment, I had no clue who Bjorn was...but after looking at the soup can for a while more (it read "Bjorn's Amazing Stew -- That Smoky Flavor You Won't Find Anywhere Else!" and had a picture of a chimp on a Hawaiian island playing guitar and smoking a cigar on it), memories started filtering back (these were really a mish-mash of events from other dreams, but oh well): making soup on the patio with Bjorn, trying to decide what ingredients were going to be in it; the night-time scene of somebody's back garden, filled with ferns and frond-y plants; walking along a beach somewhere in Thailand with Bjorn and a group of other peope when I was just four or five, stopping because we found an interesting carnivorous plant that would leap into the air, catch and devour anything that was thrown it's way; collecting seashells on a beach in Florida with Bjorn; and finally, the late nights from back when the now disbanded yoga club met up at the house with the fern-filled back garden, training themselves in balance and ease of contortion.  "Oh," I said.  "That Bjorn."  Understatement.
I finished preparing the soup and then ate it, savoring the smoky flavor that I now knew came from copious amounts of chili powder and burning the soup on the bottom of the pot before canning it.  By the time I was finished, it was nearly eight-o'-clock in the evening -- we were going to be late!
Dad and I bundled back into the car, Dad hurriedly explaining to me all the while what I was supposed to do when we got to the airport.  Suffice to say, I heard everything he said, but didn't understand a snippet of what I was hearing, so by the time he dropped me off at the information booth where the car had been parked approximately two hours ago, I was utterly confused.
I decided I might try going through security, so I strolled over to where I knew it to be.  Upon arriving there, I tried to check in and follow normal procedure, but my passing through the metal detector set off a horrid alarm.  So I tried again.  Same result.  I beat a hasty retreat back to the little gray information booth, sat down on a train track that dead-ended when it hit the building, and put my head on my knees in despair.
Quite a while later, a duo of airport police officers' shoes appeared in my limited line of sight.  They told me I couldn't sit here anymore.  I jumped up in indignation; where else was I supposed to go?!  I didn't know how an airport worked!  They were already strutting away, though.
Fortunately, the man inside the information booth was kind enough to give me some assistance.  He said that if I took the escalator directly in front of me going down, turned left and took the moving pathway heading that direction, I could bypass security and still board my plane on time.  I thanked him, picked up my bags and walked to the escalators.
These presented another conundrum.  Both the escalators were going up, and there was no hope of just walking down them because they were moving too fast.  As I stood there, unsure of what action to take, a man came up behind me, pressed a button in between the escalators that I hadn't seen, and one of the pairs of stairs reversed the direction it was moving in.  The man stepped casually onto the escalator.  Well, that solved the problem.  I followed suit.
The escalator was moving more rapidly than I had expected.  At the bottom, it flung me off, nearly landing me on another rapidly moving walkway.  I managed to straddle the path like you would a treadmill, and carefully extracted myself from the situation.  I then prepared myself to ride the up-going escalator and hopped on.  This time, I was ready for the dismount, and hopped off at the right time.  I then took the down-going escalator again.
When I got off this time, I noticed there was something different about the room I was standing in.  The back wall was missing, and through that hole I could see moonlit ferns swaying gently in the breeze.  Forgetting my plane, I strolled into the garden.
Everything was there, just the way I remembered it.  But that also meant...
Before I could finish that thought, the large pit-bull I had been expecting to see rounded the corner of the house, saw me, barked and started to advance towards me.  Knowing this scene all too well, I turned and ran, jumping into a raised fern-bed that the dog couldn't reach and concealing myself in the ferns.  Now, if I wanted, I could make my escape by jumping over the high picket fence that walled off the garden.
But I waited.  The dog barked below me as though it had treed a raccoon, incessant and angry.  Still, I waited.
Eventually, the French doors on the house slid open and out stepped a scowling little girl wearing a white sundress that glowed in the moonlight.  "Hush, Puckett," she said, walking over to stand below the place where I was hidden.  Yes, this was exactly like all my other dreams of this place.
She looked up and was about to discover me when, out of nowhere, some shelving to her left collapsed and tipped over on top of her and the dog, burying them in boardgames, buckets, cans of Bjorn's Amazing Stew and other items.  I turned, jumped over the fence, and was devoured by a carnivorous plant.  "Well, that was a new addition," I thought wryly.

Monday, March 14, 2011


It was a cool summer afternoon, and by that I mean that it was seventy degrees Fahrenheit (at the least) in the shade, and if you were lucky, the humidity was low enough for things to be bearably hot and stifling.  My boyfriend (here referred to as Mandrake) and I, my siblings (Sol and Rose) and my mother were strolling through Minnehaha Park, a place I've been to a bare few times in my life, but that I'm still greatly enamored with.
Evidently, a festival of sorts was taking place there today: people lounged about on blankets thrown over the grass, children ran barefoot from the hills to the stream and back again, live music was playing and food was being made available. 
Mom and Sol parted ways with us, saying they were going down to the stream to cool off.  Mandrake, Rose and I shrugged and ambled over to where a group of people were performing an acapella line-up.  Suddenly, they started singing Jason Mraz's "I'm Yours."  Rose and I jumped up and joined their circle, which was now singing and dancing, as the song was quite familiar to us and we were fond of it.  Mandrake watched bemusedly from the grass, perhaps humming along.
By the time the song was over, the whole park was singing and clapping in time with the music.  the performers finished with a soulful flourish, the crowd clapped and ululated, we bowed and congratulated each other.  It was only then that I realized the person next to me was a boy from my past -- he had been one of my closest friends for a long time, and it had been about five years since I last saw him.  We'll refer to him here as Mac.
As I gaped at him in surprise, he looked over at me smilingly, offering a hand to shake, but as he took in who I was, he dropped his hand and his expression changed to mimic my own.  Of course, afterwards came the general excitement of encountering someone close to you who had been gone for many years.  I thought to introduce Mac to Mandrake, but he seemed to have disappeared without my noticing before now.  I was vaguely worried, but I figured he could take care of himself.  Besides, I suspected that he had transformed into Mac for some reason I couldn't put my finger on.
Anyways, Mac, Rose (she was happy to see him, too) and I spent the remainder of the afternoon in merry frolicking and catching up.  It was a pleasant enough dream.

Unremembered Date

It was drizzling lightly as my friend (here referred to as "Elayne") and I walked down a rutted and muddy track bordered by fall-season forest that led to an open field.  We had just met up there, seemingly by coincidence, and were heading to a cultural dance event that was to take place at the field.  I had recently escaped from what promised to ultimate doom.  Let me tell you about it.

I had been traveling with a band of knights, though they were not exactly the paladin-type knights-in-shining-armor one normally envisions when talking about these things.  Sure, they had the swords, the armor and the brawn, but they were, in character, more the scruffy, roving, take-what-you-can-get-when-you-can-get-it rogues that can either cause a person great mischief or great fortune.  Fortunately, it seemed I was in their good favor.
However, we had become trapped on a raised platform of stone, about five-and-a-half feet tall, that was surrounded by a low stone wall.  For some reason, we couldn't escape.  The motley crew of men were huddled around a fire they had built, feeling grim and desolate.
That was when the first cloaked figure rode by on a horse.  As he passed, he flicked something silver high in the air.  It landed on my palm with a satisfying "plip" sound, and I saw that it was a quarter.  On the back was the California quarter design.  One I've never encountered before.
I turned triumphantly towards the men, only to realize that they were staring at me in shock and horror.
"Put.  That.  Down," one of them hissed.
I tilted my palm and let the quarter drop to the ground.
"No, I meant outside the prison!" he said, hysteria rising in his voice.  "Now, only three hundred and thirty-two to go...Oh, we'll never make it out of here alive."
Bewildered, I stooped to pick up the coin, but could not part it from the stone of the platform.  It was stuck, though by no means that I could see.
At that moment, another rider came past, flicking more coins into our hollow as he did so.  It became clear to me that if the hollow was filled with three hundred and thirty-three quarters, the whole place would go up in flames and no-one would be able to escape.
We spent the next hour madly trying to catch quarters and throw them out into the forest or somehow pry the quarters that had landed on the floor off of it.  All to no avail.
It was a while before I got a grip on things and just left, jumping to the ground from a hole in the wall.  None of the knights noticed me leaving, and in no time at all I found the path and met up with Elayne.

By this time, we had reached the field.  I was surprised to see that there were no Morris dancers present, except for Elayne and myself.  All the rest of the people were from a local Hmong traditional dance group.
Elayne and I walked up to them and began to learn a dance.  It was fun, but I can't remember any of what we were doing.  About halfway through, I noticed Elayne had disappeared.
I made my excuses to the dancers and set out to find her.  Eventually, I discovered a track much like the one we had followed into the field, except that along this one there was a railway upon which rested sleek, black, carriage-style train cars.  One of the porters beckoned to me to join him on the train, but I, distrustful of him and the train, shook my head and stuck to the muddy path.  I hoisted my skirts and walked.
At last, I arrived at -- you guessed it -- the Mall of America, though in this dream it was a different version, made all out of reflective copper and silver, black velvet and poshness.  It had a kind of steam-punky feel to it, though this was more ominous.  I had a feeling that Elayne was in trouble.
I found her in an elevator, staring blankly into the shining metal wall at her reflection and whispering quietly to herself.
"Elayne," I said softly, reaching out to touch her shoulder.
At the sound of her name, she whipped around, turning her blank stare on me for a fraction of a second before her facial features returned to their more normal state.  "Oh, hi there, Green," she said pleasantly.  "You should check this out, it's really jazzy," she chirped, turning to face her makeshift mirror again as her eyes glazed over.
I stared at her in confusion.  There was nothing reflected in the metal except the pair of us.
"It's really cool.  I got these implants in my eyes that allow me to see things written on pieces of glass or other reflective surfaces.  It's like somebody breathed on a cold windowpane and is writing in it with their finger," Elayne said, still transfixed by her reflection.
"What sorts of things?" I asked, grimly fascinated.
"Oh, stuff like relevant advertising, the latest gossip," said she, as if it were perfectly normal to want to read about these things non-stop.
"Alright," I replied, trying to hide my worry.  The elevator bell dinged and we stepped out into a part of the mall that looked a little more like shopping centers usually do: all sparkling lights, polished surfaces and easy-listening music.  I privately shuddered.
"Ooo, let's look in there!" squealed Elayne, pointing to a jewelery store immediately in front of us.  I decided it was best to humor her at this point, so we walked over.
A Jamaican man met us at the door and led us on a tour through his shop.  He refused, however, to show us the back room, claiming that there was something extremely dangerous, a medusa, in there.  But, while he was distracted by a girlishly giggling group of customers, Elayne and I crept into the off-limits room.
Inside, we found Elayne's older sister.  She turned around and smiled cutely at as, then continued arranging jewelery on a mannequin.  For some reason, Elayne and I both agreed that it wasn't safe for her sister to stay with the Jamaican man anymore, so we brought her with us when we left.  He didn't notice she was leaving.
We caught the carriage-train back to the field and rejoined the Hmong dancers before my dream ended.

Unremembered Date

I became conscious of the dream as my friends and I passed through a tea room on the third floor of the Mall of America.  It was a familiar area, though one that I'd only ever visited in other dreams, at the time associating it with an art gallery.  This time, though, the lighting was moody and brooding, the tables were small, circular and adorned with tea-lights, and there were no beanbags to speak of.  Around the tables were seated snappy-looking business people, all uptight and tense in their shiny black shoes; they sipped their coffee (which was a black as their shoes) through precisely pursed lips, crossed, uncrossed and recrossed their legs, and adjusted the positions of their briefcases -- which were as equally shiny and angular as their apparel -- with a terseness and neatness that I found irritating to the extreme.
My group of friends swaggered noisily and unbotheredly through the tense atmosphere, chatting , laughing and goofing off.  We flung open the double doors at the end of the room, letting the bright illumination flooding from skylights beyond the door to permeate some of the gloom of the tea room.  As we departed, I turned and noticed with satisfaction that some of the room's occupants were grimacing and wincing in the sunlight.  I left the door open as I ran to catch up with my friends.
At the food court, we parted ways, the more rambunctious of my friends wandering off into an amusement park section of the mall, leaving myself, my boyfriend and one of our quieter friends to fend for ourselves and go where we pleased.
Hoping to escape the hubbub and nerve-wracking humdrum of the building itself, we decided to go picnic on the front lawn (I had some food in my backpack, as I avoid eating mall food when I can).  The mall doesn't really  have a front lawn at all, but there was, to our knowledge, quite a verdant one waiting just beyond the sidewalks that led to the mall's entrances.  Unfortunately, we would have to navigate our way through the all-too-garishly-colored theme park before we could take our luncheon. 
We began to resignedly wend our way through the park, dodging anxious, flustered mothers, their runaway, sugar-high children wearing wheeled shoes, bored fathers, school groups, and vendors hawking their wares like you wouldn't believe.  Ignoring all of this, we hurried through mazes of roller coaster lines, balloon stands, and ticket booths, finally emerging into a cobblestone-floored plaza; escape was near at hand!
I looked around me, grinning, hoping to share some wry witticism with my boyfriend or with my other friend, but they were nowhere to be found.  Had they gotten lost in the crush of the crowd?  I called out for them breathlessly, verging on panic, but I shouldn't have worried, for they stepped out from behind a hot-dog vendor's cart a moment later.
Travelling in company again, we stepped through the revolving doors and into the sunshine.
It was a bright, Spring-like day.  Filled with a sudden enthusiasm, for the sun was like a balm to my worries, I cartwheeled across the lawn, springing and bouncing with delight.  I came to a stop sprawled on the lawn, giggling to myself and staring up at the clouds.  I waited for a few moments for the other two to catch up, but they didn't come.  I heard their laughing voices retreating into the woods behind the mall.  What were they doing?  We were supposed to be having a picnic, but somehow my boyfriend had my backpack and he and my other friend were walking into the woods and ditching me.
In the time it took for me to register my immediate confusion and (surprisingly for me) anger, they had already turned a bend in the path and disappeared from my view.  I sprung to my feet and ran into the woods after them.
For a long while I chased the two, never seeming to be able to catch them.  Sometimes, as I rounded a corner, I would see them strolling ahead of me, casually holding hands and chatting amiably before they disappeared from my view again.  Occasionally, I would hear one of the laugh from what sounded like very close by, and I would get excited, nervous, confused and angry all over again, thinking that I was about to happen upon them.
The farther I chased them into the woods, the more lost I became.  The trees started morphing into shelving that held all manner of pharmaceuticals in shiny glass bottles, the carpet of underbrush turned into linoleum tiling, and woodland creatures took on the semblance of employees.  One of them, a kind-looking blonde-haired lady, tried to stop me as I strode past her, asking what was wrong and if she could help me with anything.  I shoved past her, paying her no heed, and opened a pair of double doors.
It was only when I stepped into the tea room, whose atmosphere didn't seem so unsuitable anymore, that I noticed I was crying.  The double doors closed behind me and everything went black.