I had sneaked into a man’s unused underground apartment (he lived in a house), where I turned on an unusual TV screen. The images that paraded across it were unlike anything I had ever seen, and I became transfixed. I couldn’t move for a long time.
Time passed, and perhaps the images paused or stopped. Absentmindedly I picked up what I thought of as a pipe and bit through the stem, which was more like a somewhat flattened plastic gun handle. An inch or so broke off from the back. I didn’t know what happened to the piece I’d bitten off (had I swallowed it?), but the break was clean rather than chewed.
The man came in, perhaps with another person, although later I thought we were alone. I was frightened of him, but didn’t know why as I didn’t think he minded the trespassing although he appeared to. Then I stumbled into a floor-to-ceiling plastic case similar to those used as display packaging; this one had shelves full of crystal and other valuables. I caught the case, but to my horror two tiny pieces of iridescent crystal fell to the bottom. I looked at him in terror and wondered when he would notice the broken pipe stem and what he would do.
Somehow he pushed the plastic case away from me behind the sofa without knocking anything off. I marveled at this even as I babbled something about how I was at my best only in the morning, as though I were making an excuse for my intrusion and clumsiness.
He seemed to be disgusted and unhappy, and so was I. Both of us were disturbed by my presumptive behavior and my inadvertent destructiveness. I sensed that he was acting, too. Despite appearances, we knew one another and were attracted to each other. It seemed to be my behavior that was keeping us apart and that it was intentional. Why was I trying to alienate him, and why couldn’t he accept me as I was?
Later, I was at a party looking for my husband, who had been my elementary school gym teacher. I could not remember his first name, and neither could he. I caught a three-quarter profile glimpse of myself in a mirror. My head was pale and hairless, and my skull the shape of that of a female gorilla.
I woke up frightened.