I have very vivid dreams. Freakishly long, detailed dreams in which I often remember other dreams I’ve had. Remember that movie, Inception? I knew the whole plot in the first fifteen minutes. I found the other 130 minutes of the movie incredibly dull. Doesn’t everyone dream about previous dreams they’ve had and say things to themselves like, “The last time I was here (in this imaginary place), I took a right and got lost, so I’ll go left this time.” Because I do all the time.
Someone suggested recently that I write down my dreams. Whoo, boy! A long time ago, I gave Sainted Mother a dream journal. Most of her dreams involve embarrassing moments involving her stealing food, hiding from her former boss, misplacing a baby in weird places, and…well…bathrooms. Let’s just say there are a lot of bathrooms—and sometimes a notable lack of a bathroom—in my mother’s dreams. When her grandchildren come to visit, reading Grammy’s Dream Journal aloud is favorite activity. Mom takes it like the champ she is, muttering dark Hungarian curses under her breath while she makes her grandchildren hot dogs wrapped in bacon.
Me, I’m a bit more intricate. For example, I’ve been having this series of dreams for the past couple of years in which I run into my late father. Turns out he wasn’t dead after all, but just feigned his death because he was bored with his original family. I find him, and I’m so, so happy to see him, hugging him and crying and saying, “Dad! Daddy! I missed you so much!” He, on the other hand, says something very bland, often while looking for his new family. (In these dreams, he’s married to an embarrassingly younger woman and is raising her son…a situation my friend had to endure in real life). His reaction to seeing me after more than thirty years is, “Oh. You found me. Hi.” There is a considerable lack of enthusiasm on his part.
This irks me. For one, dreaming about the beloved dead is supposed to be comforting. It used to be! I’ve had great dreams about my dad coming to visit me from the Great Beyond, meeting my children, making me laugh during a meeting. Apparently, he’s now bored with me. Not cool, Father. Not cool. The feeling of rejection lasts for days. Why doesn’t my dad want to hang out? Am I really that boring? And that new wife of his…she’s trash.
However, this rejection feeling was rectified recently in a very long dream that involved a wedding of a young friend (congratulations, Tess, I didn’t even know you were engaged!). The wedding was at a castle in Ireland, and the guests were spread out in all sorts of castle-ish rooms—the armory, the library, the wine cellar. I wandered through, then went outside, and there were the bride’s parents, standing with…my parents! “Dad!” I cried, throwing my arms around him. “I missed you so much!” And this time, he hugged me back, so tightly. I could feel his soft hair under my hand, and he was wearing a pale blue suit that he had in real life.
“I missed you, too,” he said. “And all those other dreams…they’re not real. This is real.” I knew he was referring to the blowing-me-off dreams. He stood with my mom, who looked calm and beautiful, and then fireworks began exploding over the castle in honor of Tess and her husband, and I was so, so happy.
Now that was a great dream. I’m so glad I blurted it into my phone as soon as I woke up. It goes great with the one about me hanging out with the members of U2 in Germany and kissing Queen Elizabeth on the cheek. Not to mention all the dreams where Robert Downey Jr. confesses his lifelong love for me.