July 15, 2006
Last night I was startled out of a deep sleep and led by the hand down the stairs to a loud room crowded with well dressed dinner guests. "A wedding perhaps," I said to myself and surveyed the crowd for familiar faces. Everyone was turned away from me engrossed in conversation. No-one looked familiar so I pressed on. Above the din, someone called my name and I turned to find a table of people I hadn’t seen in years.
There was Lee in his natty plaid jacket from Ireland, Tia Elva eating a big plate of cabrito, and even Marie who vanished when I was 16, "Hey" she said, "long time."
Everyone immediately and simultaneously started in with questions about the baby and Jenn and my life while I was still standing there. "Get him a chair," someone shouted. I tried to fill them in, but my mouth was cottony and I was having a hard time keeping focused so instead I listened because although there were questions, everyone also had so much to say. As I went around the table kissing and hugging everyone, each person would draw me close and whisper a little nothing. The table was so crowded that by the time I made it around, before I could settle in or even taste the wine I was pulled away again.... out of the loud room, and up the stairs. Soon I found myself back in bed in the cold blue light of early morning. Jenn and the baby were cuddled together sleeping silently on the far side big bed and I, stuck in the middle registers between dream and consciousness, found myself immobile, still between worlds trying in vain to remember all that had been said.
In the morning I told Jenn the dream. "Koreans say never to follow the dead," she shuddered... "Never go with them. I’m not kidding." But the Mexican view is quite the opposite. My grandmother told me one she had danced with her dead brother. "I was like a star of the cinema," she would say. Even in the middle of the dream knew she would never dance like that again. "But never trust them," she warned, "the dead only tell you what you want to hear, because they know life is short and want you to be happy in it. Maybe their lies are so sweet because in their own lives they were whispered enough of them."