I was in a park or forest, and the little girl whom a former boss had just adopted had wandered off mysteriously. Because the forest was so large, there was a general panic that she might never be found.
I looked down and found an underground building, where I could see the girl through a window. She was standing complacently in a hallway, perhaps waiting for someone. I did not know how to approach her or to tell everyone where she was without spooking her. She seemed to know where she was and why.
Then, with no transition, I was watching a theater performance taking place on an odd, round, elevated stage in my hometown. I wanted to perform, too, but some of the characters on the high stage were riding camels and elephants, which seemed dangerous under the conditions.
I began to realize that, although I liked the idea of the performance, it lacked passion and life. I didn’t recognize anyone around me and developed a strange feeling. I saw someone sneak out the door, and it occurred to me that I wasn’t supposed to be there, either. I tried to slip out unnoticed, but a woman spotted me and told me coldly, almost inhumanly so, that I had to leave because I was not a member (and leaving it unspoken that I could not aspire to become one).
Outside, I remembered how alone and out of place I had been when I had come to Chicago, as I still do 28 years later. Now my old home was strange and unwelcoming to me, too. I had nowhere to go, and the weight of sadness crushed me.