Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Of Preparation

With the tingle on my lips gone and the numbness of sleep sliding over me, I felt fleeting brushes of hair on my skin. I should have startled out of my sleep, but instead had that falling sensation we all know along with the feeling of hair sliding past my arms.

Light eventually struck the world around me as I slid down a billowing red slope of satin or some other unbelievably frictionless material. It felt like I was sinking into the cloth as I slid through it, and the strands caressed my arms and my legs, my whole body, more soothing than sensual.

I slowed and, from the endless expanse of red, I saw a white edge, then as I drew closer, slowing still, I saw silver water beyond. And as I came to a stop, somehow on my feet, the material retreated and various furnishings were revealed on a mostly unpolished but somehow comfortable granite floor.

Here was a 5-post bed with a pentagonal mattress, something I have never seen, yet seemed familiar. Black sheets stretched over it, pillows sat in a pile in the middle. the drapes were pulled up with red and gold braided cords, which shifted oddly from time to time. The frame appeared to be part of the floor, one piece of stone, continuous and unbroken.

There was a kind of lamp stand with an odd miniature gaslamp on it, black and white with a warm red flicker within. It sat next to a bookshelf with myriad books, all of them tiny, tiny versions of larger works. I pulled one out labeled, simply, "Cummings." Behind it was one labeled "Joyce."

I saw a multi-tiered desk nearby, the arms of which wrapped around the seat and merged with it oddly, though I knew it was a seat. I slid into it by stepping over an arm. There were dozens of drawers. I opened one.

Inside was a little note which read, in her writing, "Remind Frank to pack."

I was suddenly stricken by the anxiety that I had forgotten to pack, and then that I had forgotten why I was supposed to. I started opening drawers and flipping through empty sheets of paper. I finally opened one drawer and found a note.

Again, in her hand, a note. "Oh, honey, I was just teasing." Marcie's smirking admission, never false, only to keep me from obsessing on her latest cryptic comment.

I felt very sad for a moment and I clambered out of the odd desk. I was naked, and though I had likely been naked, I wondered how but was not anxious about it. I reached awareness of my dream state just as her voice tickled my neck, my ear.

"Because I used my hair to take them off, silly," the voice said.

Having become aware of my dream state, I froze and tried to reason through the situation. But my heart won out and I turned, looking back at the sea of red cloth.

I realized it was not cloth, but a massive, endless cascade of her hair. It wavered and then retreated, shrinking down as it reformed in scale and darkness, lightening and slowly turning to waves. It stopped as it formed in a thick blanket down her back, to the floor, the rock.

She turned, my beautiful baby. Again she was ageless and young, no cruelty of disease, no fear or pain or sadness. Not so for me. I felt tears, then heard them spatter on the floor as she walked over to me.

Her hair trailed behind like a bride's train and her smile was broad. She looked at me with her head tilted, circling me slowly, sauntering. I was frozen in place, afraid she might shatter with my dreamstate, if touch her I dared.

"I need you to be awake for this," she said. "Because it isn't something I think you will keep with you if you are really asleep."

I gulped and she took my hand in hers, that warm sensation so strong and real in the half-dream, the lucid fantasia. I pulled her into my arms and smelled her Chanel No. 5 again. I consciously tried to feel her flesh and was breathless as I did, my hands unable to cease, my mind-within-my-mind marveling at it all.

I did not have to say I loved her, but she had something to say to me.

"Honey, you get the details and you get the big picture, but you need to make sure you don't just dive in like you have," she said. "Because you're going to get hurt if you don't know what you are getting into, and I always tried to plan for both of us."

I nodded and wondered what she meant. Everything was a plan to me, something I had learned from her. Everything was a list, another thing I had learned. I wondered what she meant.

"You could also lose a good opportunity if you don't plan to take advantage of it, mister," she said, stroking my back and kissing my lips, the tingle returning to them, my hands tingling as I stroked at her.

She broke the kiss and smiled, "I told you so."

I panicked and fell, and there was no silky slope, no mass of hair. I awoke to the cold night again, and the tingle of my hands and lips. One was from my sleeping position, the other from the cold. I pulled the blanket into a tube around my head.

I decided that I would have a plan for visits, as irrational as it all was anyways. Somehow, I felt a little burned, but I had learned a lesson in just the way Marcie liked to teach them, too...