Following a week long binge of life and mini mayhem, I decided that I needed to take a nap on Friday. Taking a nap is a dangerous thing for me because my brain never seems to shut down, or slow down even when I’m asleep. I have dreams, nightmares and night terrors sometimes all rolled into one.
I am in a large ship and I’m walking down a corridor. There may or may not be a light at the end of the hallway. The hallway may be dim or fully lit. There is no sinister feeling about my journey through the vessel, until the swell of the ocean tips the boat to one side and I list to my left falling through a set of double doors that were not there moments before.
I realize as the doors shut behind me that I have been shifted into another reality. I may be a boy or a man. I may be a different race or from a different culture. I am greeted by people who I don’t know, who seem to know me in the shell that I wear at present.
My clothes are different and my changes become evident to myself as I look at my delicate pale hands. Palms up in supplication, I must look stunned. There is almost always a conversation with my new old friends and I have to pretend that nothing is wrong. As far as they can see, I must have just had a bad dream and I seem a little disoriented. I’m extremely agitated because I now speak and understand Russian. In my head, I still think in English, so that déjà vu feeling is really starting to kick in.
Before I can get acclimated to my new surroundings, I am abruptly thrown to the right, through the double doors, skipping the hallway and into a party where I am the guest of honor. They yell, “Surprise!” and I start screaming in the wrong voice. I realize, new body, different sex, I’m shorter this time, new voice is higher too. I stop the scream, mid yip and cover my eyes with my hands, laughing hysterically softly. I peek through my fingers and the guests are still there waiting for a sane response from their family member. I have adult children, so I’m much older as well. I croak a, “Hey, what a surprise?” and everyone laughs in a, “Thank God she’s not as crazy as she seemed a minute ago,” way. Someone hands me a plate and I almost get to eat cake as the floor tips and I am launched outside.
My plate is gone and I’m walking alone in an overgrown field. The sounds of bugs and wind are deafening. The colors are beautiful. My vision is perfect, I never wear glasses in my dreams. I’m just along for the ride waiting to wake up to my blurry vision and small bedroom. Hopefully, some external sound will drag me to the surface and wake me up.
“The cat needs to be fed,” I say to the empty room as I sit up in bed. She is meowing, outside my window, hanging on for dear life from the window frame. Sometimes she does that in the middle of the night when I have my window open. I think she can hear me breathing. Maybe I have conversations while I’m sleeping that she can hear. She always seems to be able to find me wherever I’m sleeping in the house. I’m pretty sure in her search for her owner, who rudely evicted her last year, she does a fair amount of scaling the trees to get to the roof top, to peek through windows.
Now, I realize why I have my nightmares. My dream guardian cat was put out of the house. How irresponsible of me. I was a teeny bit afraid of toxoplasmosis while I was pregnant and I won’t abide fleas. There was no one here to clean the litter but me. So she had to live outside for the duration. Baby human vs. feline pet. It was a choice. Obviously, a bad choice, but I cannot go back in time. (That’s sarcasm, in case you can’t tell.) You can’t have an animal that walks through its own feces in a small house where a baby will be crawling on hands and knees and putting everything in her mouth. If I had a bigger house? If I could train the cat to flush? No, ick? If I could train the cat to wash her paws or use a perpetually clean strip of wet wipe? Not possible, I know. I can dream.
It is possible to piss off a cat for the long term, but she seems to have only mild contempt at this point. I will have to continue to bribe her with precooked chicken leftovers and the occasional turkey surprise. I think she really misses popcorn. You know the puffy ball part with no hull attached. I used to share that part with all of my cats. I would throw it and the round ball part would roll. We used to play fetch. Funny, my memory of all three of my black cats just blended into one. JoliMaiouElliette. Bizarre what a memory can do.