As we started our travels a month ago, I began to have even more vivid and numerous dreams than usual. I started a log, and many mornings saw me starting my day by rolling out of bed and going to the computer to type up the dreams before I lost them. I’m struck by how many family members and old friends made appearances in these dreams, as well as how many involved love, death, and intrigue. Some are quite strange, but others are so symbolic they’re practically textbook examples (May 18-20, especially).
May 1: I was the only model in a benefit fashion show for my high school speech and debate team. The teacher had to coerce me to participate, but once I did, I got rave reviews.
May 4: Kung fu movie about star-crossed lovers, an evil female kungfu master, and a magical white plastic Slinky that turned into a dragon/lion and defeated her. As is often the case in dreams, I was both viewer and participant; I walked through the theater and saw the movie posters, but I was also in the circle of fighters surrounding the master and the dragon/lion in their final battle.
May 6: Total mishmash: sex, romance, Erik’s cousin Cliff was really an enemy spy, giant Victorian mansion, my sisters, a chartreuse wool-felt cloche. I remember walking up narrow, winding staircases, and standing on a wide balcony looking out at a blue-grey sky.
May 9: Three separate dreams involving travel, Erik, my family, high school friends and Toronto friends, and a fabulous map where Australia and England were next to each other. Strangely enough, I placed Perth correctly on the western coast of Australia, though the coastline was shaped like that of western Africa.
May 10: Tisha came back to see us off on our travels, but he was still sick and couldn’t get back to the afterlife. I didn’t want him to have to go through the pain of dying a second time, so I took him to the vet to be injected.
May 12: On a routine doctor’s visit the gastroenterologist came in and told me I only had a few months to live. I thought, “Well, I’ll still have time to see a few more countries.” My only regret was being so far from family.
May 14: We traveled to Hong Kong with Jackie’s dad, and met up with our HK friend Joanna. She did not seem happy to see me. I tried not to take it personally.
May 15: I was in a war zone with a group of young people, hunkered down in a train car and preparing to attack an airship overhead. This was not guaranteed to become a suicide mission, but it was very likely. I had to draw portraits of all the brave young people, and I noticed they were all men of color.
May 16: I was in some kind of compound, vast, dim, cavernous, and filled with random furniture and objects. The leader fell in love with me and all the other girls were jealous, and whispered that I was a spy trying to infiltrate the compound. When I heard the rumors, I remembered being in the compound alone and having communication with a man on the outside, and I wondered if I really was a spy. [What fascinates me here is the existence of memory within the dream.]
May 17: I told Gong-Gong a poop joke — in Mandarin — and he laughed. He was exactly like the Gong-Gong of several years ago, before he became weaker and less aware, and he seemed very happy. [At this point he was already on his way out, and when I told Mommy about this dream, she cried.]
May 18: Two high school friends ate ice cream after ice cream, but I couldn’t find the flavor I wanted.
May 19: (1) I saw my third-grade self and tried to engage her in conversation, but she was having too much fun to talk to a grown-up. I understood, but as I watched her skip off, I felt a great sense of loss. (2) Another guy put his arms around me and I wondered what Erik would think. Then I decided he wouldn’t mind, so I should just enjoy it. (3) I was hosting a community dinner with a diverse crowd. Someone commented that there were only a few guys present, but I asked, “Are you sure?”
May 20: (1) I was reorganizing a bunch of frozen foods, including many ziplock bags of frozen meat. I found two pink spines and wasn’t sure what animal they’d come from. I fitted them into a white styrofoam cooler and was pleased when there was still plenty of space around them. (2) I took down all my old posters from childhood and replaced them with my current artwork, hung up in interesting arrangements.
May 22: (1) I was worried about Allie Brosh of Hyperbole and a Half. [I looked her up after I woke up, and read this.] (2) I’d been cast as Marilyn Monroe in a movie, but had a hard time convincing the famous fashion designer to work with me. But I knew I was a fabulous Marilyn, and I finally persuaded him by doing the Marilyn voice and walk.
May 24: Gong-Gong had died or was dying. [I’d gone to bed that night knowing he would probably pass by morning.] I began to pack clothes to bring back to San Jose, including a bunch of garments I hadn’t seen in years, like this shirt and this one.
May 25: I was at a big gathering, and kept trying to work up the nerve to talk to a certain old friend I’ve been wanting to track down. Finally I did, and started our conversation by asking him: “So tell me what you’ve been doing these twelve-odd years. Or, if you prefer, answer these two questions: What is the best choice you’ve made since we left high school? What is the worst?”
May 26: I had the opportunity to take class with an up-and-coming visual artist. There were several artists to choose from, so I looked at their work and then selected a female artist. She gave us an early assignment to “draw a shoe” and “draw a bunch of flowers,” just so she could see what our style was like. When I arrived for our first meeting, I learned we weren’t limited to working with only one artist, so I also signed up to study with a male artist who did rough, wobbly, grotesque pen-and-ink drawings. Later I found out that a couple of the other artists — both women — hadn’t been selected by any students, so they had to leave, and we all thought that was really sad.
May 30: (1) I was in Toronto, shopping for glasses. I tried on a set of plastic frames but the woman thought they would be “too humid” and she was right. She suggested another pair with a flexible gel bridge, so that the two sides of the frames joggled separately when I picked them up. These were surprisingly comfortable and good for dancing, but I decided I didn’t like their pale pink color. (2) I was in a big house shared between my family and our friend Jason. Mommy was upstairs in bed, sad about Gong-Gong. Jason was downstairs prepping vegetables, and I said I’d help. I opened a plastic tub and pulled out tangled fibers in variegated shades of purple, from pale lavender to a deep almost-black. I said I thought it was taro; then I realized it was yarn, and I felt embarrassed by the mistake.