Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Strange Dreams

The first time, I was in Orem Library when it started burning down. I don't know how I knew at the beginning that it was burning, or what started the fire (perhaps it was simply Spontaneous Literary Combustion), but I was doing my best to get everyone safely out. I was almost ready to leave the building myself when I realized--I'd left the family menorah in there! I couldn't let it burn. I rushed back to pick it up and started out, and then remembered I'd left my own silver menorah, and went back for it. I found it quickly, and, clutching both menorahs, tried to get out again--when I realized I'd forgotten another menorah. And then another. The flames were closing in as I was running out and I woke up in a sweat wondering what on earth I'd been doing trying to save four menorahs in this stupid fire dream and why I still felt so panicked.

Twenty minutes later, I was back asleep.

The second time was somewhere else on Center Street in Orem. My brother was showing me a childhood home, although even in the dream I couldn't remember ever having lived there. He still lived there, though. It was like a crowded tenement building: a long, thin room like a hallway was stacked with bunkbeds so tight you could barely squeeze through; maybe two dozen boys were sharing this single room. The building was owned by my grandparents. Except that, even in the dream, I knew they didn't look like my real grandparents. But there was no time to worry about that because school was about to start and I needed to help Matt move out. It was so crowded and hot, though--something had caught fire! That's when I remembered that all of Orem Center street was made up of these run-down tenements: they whole street was likely to go up in flames. We tried to force our way out of the building anyway, hoping to survive by huddling in the middle of the street.

And I woke up. Again. Terrified.

The sun was coming up now and I didn't want to fall asleep again, but my body was so tired. I thought maybe I'd read, but I couldn't wrench my eyes open to find the book. I thought I'd grab my phone but it was nowhere. My mind started looking around since my hands were out of commission and it noticed a strange thing--Hanukah menorahs were saved from a fire, when they themselves are symbols of a festival of oil and light! Oil, just like the oil under the bed and running down the walls. They are also symbols of the temporary, unsettled sense of peace you get when you run out of a burning tenement into a burning street, which is also something like writing this blog and wait, perhaps those fake grandparents were my neighbors when I was young, but oh no they couldn't be because my neighbor (in my early morning awake/asleep memory) looked more like Dallin Oaks and who had been that fake grandfather in the dream? He was bald, certainly, but shorter and with a whole different kind of expression and if I could only get a closer look...but no, he was wrapped in shadows--where was that candle? I could light it and put it on a menorah and see his face but the candle was with my phone and why wasn't the alarm ringing? And oh the candle was there, but why was it already lit and oh no the oil, and my carpet and my walls and isn't it hot in here this morning--

And I woke up. Again.

Having had a rough night.


  1. Where I live it is often hot and humid during the night. We don't have A/C because the power bills would be too high. Some nights we have to have a box fan pointed right at us all night and I still wake up numerous times to turn the sweat drenched side of my body from down on the bed to up where the fan can dry it and cool me a little. But I never have fire dreams from it.
    Now your story is good and very "creative". But you have to be careful as you throw in twists and turns. The reader's mind can only take so many before it stops taking them "seriously" as it were. Having lobbed a stink bomb at your writing I must now confess I am not smart enough to offer solutions. Good luck, we're all counting on you.

  2. Stink bomb appreciated. It is difficult for me to write down my dreams, because dreams are naturally so weird. I've tried to make things a little clearer on my more recent dream post:

    How'd I do?

  3. I had a dream like this once, one where we were all in the back patio of our house in Ohio, only the back patio was a swamp-lake with giant lily pads, and the sun was beating down on us, and then the house caught fire and the fire spread into the swamp lake-- and I woke up sweating under far too many blankets.


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