I don’t seem to dream, or at least to remember dreams, during times of petty stress. Perhaps even in my sleep, my subconscious doesn’t have time to relax and stretch its imagination.
I was back in college and could not explain in a satisfactory way, to myself or anyone else, why. Not only was I aiming for the same degree, but I had a loan, no, a grant, to fund this futile exercise in “doing it better.” It sounded ridiculous to me and my listeners.
Back in my room, I found that my computer speakers played a video of whatever I was listening to, but I had to have a CD designed for it. When I tried it again, the speakers went dark. Or were they now the wrong kind of speakers?
ECP parked in front of the house we rented, bumping the tree in front. Judging from the scar on its trunk, it had been bumped before. I worried because it seemed loose, and I had a vision of it falling over onto the house so that I lost everything I owned, including my computer and backups. I sent AP to the town hall to have it removed, even as I contemplated how it was at the corner of the house and was unlikely to fall onto it, and how barren life would be without it.
At town hall, a block away, the functionary told AP that he seemed to be nervous. AP replied, or thought he replied, “Of course — bureaucracy makes everyone nervous!” This surprised the clerk.
At the house, I kept trying to see how unstable the tree really was, probably making it even worse. (Did the tree represent my teeth?) Finally, I had ECP take a Polaroid photo of it, although this doesn’t seem logical now. When she turned to me with the camera, unbeknownst to her, her face was screwed up in a combination of pain and horror as though she had been burned. Forgetting that it was a Polaroid camera, I was impatient to see what was wrong, but noticed the photo spitting out. It showed the tree engulfed in flames. The concept that this was happening in another dimension was horrifying to me. We were both frightened by more than a tree potentially falling over.
I was watching an old monochrome movie on campus in which men in medieval gear were told there would be a bounty awarded to the man who returned with the king’s right arm. In the next scene, a man cornered another, who I sensed was not the king, and with a short sword hacked at his right arm at the shoulder repeatedly to sever it. The victim, who offered little if any resistance, fell to the ground as the other chopped. Each time a blow was struck, he’d cry out, “ARRR! ARRR! ARRR!” It was terrible to see, but the rhythmic nature of his cries distracted me.