POST MARKS #1: ON THE REASONING OF DREAMS


This morning’s conversation was between one of my selves and a peculiarly attractive man. His physical virtues were, to put it kindly, less than exceptional in any positive sense. Bare-chested, he was roundish with a sprig of colorless hair between his nipples. The heat of the afternoon shone brilliantly in the sweat on his exposed skin (I infer that it was equally evident in the skin hidden by shorts), and the meal he had just shared with his guests had not yet fully left his mouth.

A group of perhaps twelve sat around a long dining table. have you noticed how number can change in a dream? One minute one is oneself in the midst of strangers; in the next, one is somebody else, alone on a treeless highway. Let us say, though, that the diners were twelve, our host at the head of the table, farthest from me, no one at the foot. We all were dressed in various degrees of elegance. Even our host was fully clothed. A young, lusciously beautiful woman in her mid-twenties sat nearest him. Moments before, she had been singing in a crisp mezzo soprano, impressing all at the table. Perhaps it was between the salad and the main course. Now, she was opining, making what seemed to be pithy comments, putting forth the idea that a particular behavior could be one’s ticket to some sought-after brass ring–success? Society? Love? Alas, the specific goal escaped me when I was fully awake. What I do remember is that I found her chilly, jealous of our host, and with a pointed disregard for me, at the far end of the table. I, cheerful and prone to telling the truth as I saw it, irritated her most especially when I made it known (politely) that I found her affected and weightless.

Somehow, our now bare-chested host and I walked outdoors together, he commenting on her immaturity and diffidence, and I displaying my general lack of interest in the girl.

Dream books–oh, how many there are!–will offer a myriad interpretations if one will only open them and give over to their better grasp of a private mystery. I am not opposed to such lexicons if they are useful.* Nonetheless, that “private mystery” is , for me, just that, something for me to ponder, walk around, and ultimately use or reject. One thing I have come to know well is that if a dream message is important, it will return until I have paid attention to it.

Where does the message originate? I am on solid ground when I say the question stumps me. Perhaps dreams come from another dimension of reality. Are they prompts from my better angels to step up to a task I have avoided or to be kinder to someone I have slighted? There is any number of less-than-deal, very human actions for which I could be called to account. Maybe dreams are what Scrooge thought, a blot of mustard upsetting his digestion and, so, his peaceful sleep. Worries from the day? Unresolved emotional crises, like ancient scars, suddenly itchy and demanding to be scratched? All possible.

My oddly engaging host, outside while we were talking, kept me engaged for a long while. I knew while I was dreaming that I was dreaming and I was willfully refusing to let go. He convinced me that he had my best interests at heart, that appearances really are just the merest surface of substance. He let me wake up knowing that I had no reason for regret or guilt in recently taken decisions. Indeed, I see him right now as I write to you. His eyebrows ride up on the inner corners, like a tent over the line between his eyes, which I see now are quite a lovely greenish brown. His smile is not at all toothy but small-lipped and wise. Wise, you ask? Yes, sorry. Sweaty and round and half-dressed, my host smiles wisely. It is a thing that only can happen in a dream. I have invited him back to extend the conversation. Maybe I shall be welcoming him to my table, this time. Or onto the pages of a story ... when I know him better ... and feel comfortable handing him a wash cloth. “Here,” I’ll say, “for goodness sake, wipe your face!”


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Copyright © 2020 Jennifer C. Weil

* I will recommend one for its practical, “get ‘er done” approach: The Dream Book: Symbols for Self Understanding, by the late Betty Bethards. New Century Publishers, first copyrighted in 1983 and, many editions later, still in print.