A prophetic message, or discursive dream? You decide.
I hade a bizarre dream last night (Saturday night).
I was driving a car down a dark street, approaching a three-way intersection. I flipped the left turn-signal and came to a stop, checking both ways before completing the left turn. The next thing I know I'm in an enormous gymnasium standing at the edge of a pool, posed to dive. The walls were blinding white. There was a crowd of people behind me, and a 16 year old looking girl next to me, posed to dive too. I told her she didn't stand a chance at beating me to the other side. She sneered and told me to prepare to drown in her wake.
A silent shot went off and we both dived in, swimming with everything we had. I reached the other side first, jumped out and rang the bell first. The room hushed, a voice came from somewhere overhead. The girl was escorted from the room by two big men in all white, and I was pointed to a table where an older woman sat. She looked 50-ish, with short graying brown hair and a round face, aged by happiness, not by grief like so many older people. She had a notebook, a tablet, a cup of pens and a bell in front of her. She didn't say anything to me, just sat looking straight ahead. I turned to watch the next couple of people take the plunge and compete to the other side.
Two women jumped in, but it was what looked to be a streak of sunshine swimming beside a streak of night under the turning water. I cheered for the streak of gold, somehow knowing it was important for her to win. I needed her to win. Both jumped from the pool at the same time, a penguin and a shining orb of pure sunlight. I heard the old woman behind me mutter a familiar name. I whirled to face her.
"Say that again." I demanded.
"Both move on, both go to the other side."
"But why? They finished at the same time, it was a tie!" Somehow I knew the 'other side' meant 'gone forever'. I didn't want the sunshine to go. I thought I might know her. I wasn't sure though. The old woman nodded as if I'd spoken aloud.
"Theresa. The sunshine was Theresa." I felt as if someone had punched me in the gut. The air whooshed from my lungs, leaving me feeling deflated. A tight, hot pressure built in my chest. I thought my heart was breaking apart, sinking from it's spot behind my ribs to my gut. I couldn't relax my face from it's expression of extreme grief. It hurt so bad.
"No, please. She's... Theresa's never hurt anyone. Why her?!"
I was shouting. The old woman simply shrugged.
"It was her time to fight for her life, and she didn't fight hard enough."
I looked at my feet, bare and pedicured. When had I gotten a pedicure?
"Right before your car accident." the old woman answered though I hadn't spoken aloud. Just then Theresa walked up to me, everything about her golden and happy, like a bright aphrodisiac, an aura of bliss and happiness. I shook her by the shoulders.
"You can/t be happy about this! You just got married! You're too young! Too beautiful to die..." I couldn't talk, air refused to fill my lungs and I was experiencing that wrenching pain in my chest again. Tears blurred my vision. She looked at me, a bright smile radiating joy.
"If it's my time, it's my time Marranda. I'm not going to question higher judgement." Tears shined in her eyes and spilled, leaving trails of gold down her cheeks. It was so hard to breath. I've never felt such grief, such concentrated agony before. The tears hadn't stopped pouring from my eyes.
"You can't go. You're Julie's rock. What'll she do without you there?"
Suddenly all my thoughts turned to Julie. Was she in the car with Theresa when she'd wrecked? Did Theresa even wreck her car? How did she end up here in the first place? WHERE was 'here'?? I looked around again. The swimming pool was long and narrow, only ten feet wide. The masses of people waiting for their turn to swim for their lives, to return to their realities; was devastating. All those people... I saw flashes of images. Impressions of being surrounded by people, and food, of concrete and street lamps disoriented me.
"Give this to Julie. Tell her I love her, and not to worry. I'll be her little girls' guardian." She winked. "My Tony's strong. I'm not worried. For once I'm not scared of the unknown." She handed me two sheets of paper, one had a short note on it, only ten lines long. The other was covered in lists of addresses, passwords and email addresses; phone numbers and little side notes. I was still crying, and when I looked up at Theresa I felt another wave of tears roll down my face.
"That's for you."
Theresa shrugged. I looked to the old woman who also shrugged, and looked up.
Theresa and I looked up at the same time. The ceiling clouded and opened to show a scene from what looked like a security camera. Our friends Julie and Jessie were in front of a computer, one reading over the others' shoulder. Both began to cry, then Julie, ever the realist, dried her eyes and sniffled.
"We'll find the bastard that did this Jess, and we'll kill him. How dare anyone steal our sunshine girl from us." Her tears hadn't stopped but her expression was clear and determined. Jessie remained silent. I looked at Theresa, then the paper in my hands, the old woman, then back to Theresa.
"You know how you died? You were... You were murdered." Theresa shook her head at me, refusing to answer.
"Just follow your instincts. They've always been good. Always right." A cloud appeared behind her, and Theresa began to fade into it until she was gone altogether.
I stood, silently raging until it occurred to me that though I'd swam and finished my race first, and others had swam and moved on, but I still remained. Why me? I looked at the old woman.
"Because you were chosen."
I laughed at her.
"So what, now you're Obi Wan or something? Am I going to have super powers and be invincible now? Am I going to go back to my body, my life, and become one of those crazy "I saw angles and heaven" people?" The woman creeped me out. Without the amber glow that Theresa threw off, the old woman went from someone I'd imagine to be a favorite grandma, to sinister and shady. I re-read Theresa's note to Julie and mourned all over again, and so thoroughly it caused me to wake up from the dream.
I was gasping for air, the crushing sensation of grief from the dream transferred into my waking reality. It hurt so bad! I was still in the position I'd fallen asleep in. I rolled to my side and found a big tear-soaked spot on my pillow. I wiped my face, my fingers came away wet and cold. Apparently I'd been crying in my sleep for a long time. As soon as I'd discovered that, I was being sucked back into another dream. It was as if my brief time awake correlated to the passage of time in my dream.
I was driving again, but this time Julie was in the passenger seat beside me. I looked at her, feeling an odd sense of urgency, like I couldn't drive fast enough, get us to where we needed to be quick enough. She didn't look at me. I began to cry again.
"I'm so sorry about Theresa, Julie! I cheered her on! I didn't know it was going to be something that decided her fate." Julie turned to me.
"I don't know why you keep saying you saw her move on, Marranda. She was murdered, a whole day AFTER you got in your car wreck. She wasn't swimming, and neither were you. Stop with the delusions."
Grief had made Julie bitter, and I understood. I reached into my back pocket and took out the note Theresa had given me to give to Julie. I handed it to her. She read it in silence.
"Where did you get this?"
"She gave it to me, after I watched her swim the mile."
"Was it really a mile?" Julie asked.
"I don't know. It felt like a mile when I swam it."
We were both quiet for a minute.
"Why you? Why her?"
"I don't know, Julie."
She sighed after a minute.
"I miss my sunshine girl."
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