Dreaming, or More for Me

She finally agreed to do it, probably just so I would quit asking.

The next morning I couldn’t wait to hear about it. “Well? Was it amazing? Did you like it?”

She took a sip of coffee to wash down a bite of toast. “It must be something about your brain, because it did nothing for me. I vaguely remember seeing an old cat I had as a teenager.”

“Which one? Yakov?”

“No, Sinbad. That was interesting. But kind of sad.”

“What was he doing?”

“Sleeping on a window sill.”

“That’s it? What were you doing?”

“I don’t know? Walking through a room in my old house? I mean, that’s all I can remember,” she said.

“Seriously? That’s it?”

She rolled her eyes. “Sorry. I guess yours were a little more exciting?”

I could tell she didn’t even want to ask me this question.

“Well. Yeah,” I said, and then I did the thing she hated more than anything in the world: I launched into a detailed description of my dreams from the previous night.

I recounted every second of my dreams, leaving nothing out, omitting no large or small detail. I included every conversation and the names of every person whose face appeared in every crowd (“Why are there always crowds in your dreams? I don’t think anyone else is ever in my dreams. Not people, anyway.”), how I knew them, when I’d last heard from them.

The textures of fabrics worn by me and others in my dream (“Why were you touching her clothes? Did she keep the shirt on, or did she take it off?”).

The feel of a chair cushion on the backs of my thighs.

The panicked feeling of seeing my mother asleep in my childhood bedroom but lying on her deathbed in the nursing home. (“God, that place was so awful.”)

The minty smell of the toothpaste smeared on my hands, unwilling to be washed off and hardening into cracked gloves that kept me from bending my fingers to form a fist.

The sound that wouldn’t come out of my mouth when I opened it to scream as a man I failed to recognize found me crouched behind the door of an apartment I couldn’t remember living in.

I finished by describing the light coming through the bedroom window making shadows on the ceiling when I finally woke myself up, lying on my back, heart thumping so hard it seemed to be moving my body off the bed.

“I’m sorry, I would have rolled you onto your side if I’d known,” she said.

“You want to try to again tonight? Maybe you need to have a little in your system before it works,” I said.

She shook her head, eyes wide. “I’ll just stick with my boring dreams about nobody and nothing worth remembering when I wake up,” she said.

I shrugged. “Suit yourself,” I said, thinking, More nicotine patches for me.