Dreams are boring to other people, but considering that mine are almost always fuzzy states or mini-moods that would put anyone to sleep, I thought this one deserved a write-up. It could never be literature; besides the feeling is fading too fast to reconstruct and probably by the time I retire tonight it will just a collection of symbols, even to me. But as an artifact of a very haunting moment...why not put it down.
It was Boschian when it came to symbolism, and vivid. And I didn't feel I came out of me -- I've been feeling quite normal lately if a little fixated on material things. In fact I’ve never had, in hindsight, so powerful a feeling of the presence of a sinister, alien agent within a nightmare. That the nightmare was a work orchestrated by an evil power to serve a specific purpose.
The question is how much I was compromised. For half the day, I was unable to shake the feeling that I had somehow done something, "put my soul at hazard", to borrow a line from a recent movie that happens to fit perfectly.
I wonder, can we be responsible for actions in dreams? Other than in a direct case of a voluntarily submitting to a succubus (which this was not - I don't think), can we commit a metaphysically significant act?
It was a party at J.R.R Tolkien's country house -- somewhere outside London. Lawns, shrubberies and rich kids, many of whom have apparently been staying on the estate for an extended period of time. Late 1960s model Karmann-Ghias parked outside, yet 1990s Britpop playing.
Except, I realized after I woke up and far too late, it all had a worldly, reptilian quality right from the beginning -- something on the order of Jean Ray's Malpertuis comes closest. Or the Castevets in Rosemary's Baby.
It was truly a wonderful house. Elrond himself couldn't do better. Wood panelling, rambling annexes, extensive shrubberies and gardens.
I can't wait to blog about this, I actually thought to myself in my dream. A private party at Tolkien's.
The man himself was sitting on a lawn with three liver-spotted dowagers with their eyebrows demarcated to suggest superciliousness and other such qualities.
For an odd moment, in my dream, Tolkien conjured up a old memory of meeting the linguist Paul Saagpakk as a boy. There was an eminence about him.
I embrace Tolkien. He is neutral. I know this man. As I embrace him, much harder than warranted by the social setting, I feel something like deep filial love mixed with professional respect, but I realize just how ancient and wizened he is -- why, even over hundred would not say it -- and my hands seem to sink into his back. I feel his heart under my right hand, strong but impossibly fast, like a hummingbird's. Under my left hand I feel the same.
A lot of other things happen at once, like they do at parties.
The kids are university age, some are there, some are not. Their rooms are cluttered, and full of pills. Xanax and painkillers -- substances I have had no contact with in real life. Yet I rummage through them, thinking I might as well take a few bottles while I am here.
A girl, slightly younger than the rest, does amazing tricks - somersaults, flips, sleights of hand -- for me personally. I am aware that her behaviour might be heading in an inappropriate direction. (The pale complexion, black braid and Wednesday look about her should have been a warning.)
"And what will you give me for the show," she asks afterwards, "a trinket..." But I'm already thinking I'm going to kiss her. A peck on the lips. No more. Why?`Who knows. To confirm her as a person, amid this wasteland of ancient literati and wasted kids? Some such ill-begotten idea. Perhaps I linger for a split second too long, but she is pulling away. No matter, it is obvious I am the one who withdrew later. She smirks. The whole transaction takes on a sordid quality. I walk outside.
Then my son is sick is an upstairs room. He is sweating from a fever, but it is a pale red froth.
This is, I guess, the point in a nightmare where you are truly terrified, and any Oedipal elements fall where they will.
“Mamma,” I call for my wife, as if helpless, though I know perfectly well my wife is “Emme” and my own mother is "Mamma".
But my wife is holding another baby.
There are deep bloodless ulcerations on my son’s chest. It looks like in movies when a throat is cut and the blood has not started to well. Awful.
What's happening to him, I shout. Some disease?
Then I wake up.
I feel like I want to go to Mass or something, except I'm not even Catholic, and it persists the rest of the morning. I can’t stop thinking about the kiss. A kiss can be a signature. What was the contract?