Contrary to what one might expect, I very seldom dream of Moose, probably because she's been on my conscious mind nearly every day for over twenty years. I dreamt of her often during my twenties, but as I moved into my thirties, the dreams, like letters from distant friends, became fewer and further between.
For some reason, this changed last night. In my dream, I found myself in a town that seemed not to be in Georgia, North Carolina or the part of Arizona with which I'm familiar. The terrain was hilly -- perhaps not so much as that of Chattanooga, Tennessee or San Francisco, California -- but hilly nonetheless. There were mountains off to the west and plains off to the east, and I was reminded of nothing so much as of my last trip to Colorado.
As the dream progressed, I found myself walking up the driveway of a two-story house that I can describe only as "faux Spanish", but with walls of white stucco instead of the "Mission"-style brick I'm more accustomed to seeing on houses of the sort. There was a pickup truck in the driveway, a deck porch and elevated walkway to the rear of the house, and what I'll call a batter or plinth of some sort on the driveway side. I climbed atop this feature, lay down on my stomach, folded my hands before me, as a cat does its paws and simply waited. I'd only been doing so for a short while, when Moose came from around the front of the house and proceeded up the driveway. I yawned, stretched and blinked, though I don't know why, as I have no recollection of having been tired.
"Good morning, Moose", I said from my perch. She looked up at me, perhaps somewhat startled. "Got a minute?" I asked. "Yes", she replied, slightly agitated, as it seemed, "but I have to mow my lawn. The Homeowners' Association is complaining." This struck me as amusing, as It was very difficult for me to imagine Moose mowing a lawn. I leapt down from the batter, landing in a crouch a few feet from her.
I took a closer look of her. The few times I dream of her, I usually see her as a girl of sixteen, or a young woman of twenty. Sometimes I'll do a bit of mental "computer enhancement", as it were, in order to bring the image up-to-date (add a pound here, a line on the brow or face there, remove some of the softness of youth from the features, shorten the hair, etc.), but what I saw in my dream was both unprecedented and startling. Age-wise, I'd have placed her in her mid-forties, for all that I myself felt little or no different than I do now, and I'm a year-and-a-half older than she. I don't know why I noticed this, but I was dressed as I always am: Faded jeans and my trademark leather jacket.
Her hair was long, as it had been when we were young, but it was dry, slightly tangled, and its color was less intense, showing traces of grey. Her eyes were the same green I remembered, but there were dark circles beneath them, and they held an empty, weary expression I've never seen in them, and could not previously have imagined. Her face was pale, devoid of makeup, somewhat lined, and had a vaguely puffy appearance, as if she'd been crying or had slept poorly the night before. She was wearing jeans and a dark blue sweatshirt (tail un-tucked), and seemed to have gained a few pounds, although she wasn't what I'd call fat. I found the overall impression of weary listlessness she conveyed strange and somewhat disturbing, but I knew somehow that there was no point in either commenting upon it or questioning. I found my own near-indifference almost as strange and disturbing. Given the love/hate feelings I had for her from 1989 until late last year, I was surprised to note that I felt neither intense concern for nor any satisfaction at seeing her state -- just the same generalized compassion I'd feel for any suffering creature, mixed with a touch of amusement over her concern with mowing the lawn, as mowing lawns and such are relatively trivial matters, to my way of thinking.
"Do you have much grass to mow at all?" I asked, even more amused for some reason. "Yes, yes!" she said, mild irritation in her voice. "Just look at it!" Walking to the front of the house, I noted that what she said was true, although what grew there wasn't grass at all, but rather tall, fleshy plants between a foot and three feet in height. They resembled members of the genera allium or lilium rather than any kind of grass I'd ever seen, and grew in profusion upon the lawn. She walked back around the front of the house and went inside. Uninvited, I followed.
My dreams are often rather surreal, and this was no exception to the general rule. The interior of the house was much larger than exterior would lead one to believe, and for some reason, I was reminded of the Russian folktale of the hut of the hag, Baba Yaga. The interior was rather like the showroom of an automobile dealership, although the walls were lined with glass display cabinets, like I've seen in some hardware stores.
Suddenly, we were in a sort of courtyard, in which there were raised beds filled with the odd, onion-like plants. At the sight of them, I was oddly reminded of a verse from the Book of Revelation: "The first angel sounded, and there followed hail and fire mingled with blood, and they were cast upon the earth: and the third part of trees was burnt up, and all the green grass was burnt up."
"Just a moment" she said. "I have to take this call." She then began pacing to and fro, irritably snapping into a cellphone and gesticulating with her free hand. I couldn't hear what she was discussing, but the tone of her voice often rose and fell in exasperation and the general irritability she conveyed when she didn't seem depressed. She did this rather often during the course of the dream, and I wondered (again with a touch of amusement) if she weren't a slave to the device, even as junkies are to their smack, or winos to their muscatel.
She mentioned that she had something to take care of, and left the room. At this point, a man entered. He appeared to be in his late forties or perhaps early fifties, had short, wavy hair of a medium hue, and a heavy moustache. Normally, in dreams of this sort, when a male figure makes an appearance, I'm on him instantly, with fists or with whatever weapon is at hand. Not this time, though. Something in this gent's bearing suggested a cross between a television weatherman and a car salesman, and I found him as amusing as any other element of the dream. He introduced himself, though I don't remember his name, and indicated that I should follow him. We went around the back of the house and walked along the elevated walkway, to the deck porch. There were two or three people there. I didn't recognize one of them, but one of the baw'bags was among the group. Oddly, I didn't even feel the urge to exchange harsh words. We went into the house and took seats in rather a dim and dreary living room. They spoke of things that meant little or nothing to me, and then someone said: "Does anyone have a devil face? It is Halloween, after all."
"I have a devil face", I said. "It's a mask I often carry in my suitcase. Let me go get it."
I then took to my feet and left the house. I wasn't sorry to be gone. All present seemed pallid, somehow, as if they were actually fading from existence. There was also what I can only describe as a "hollowness" about them, and it occurred to me that even if I didn't have any specific plans for the day -- a common condition for me -- my time could be much better spent elsewhere. Without further ado, I boarded a train (where it came from, I have no idea) and returned to Atlanta.
It was a very strange dream (which is why I'm up and writing about it at "zero-dark-thirty" and at present, I have no idea what --if anything -- it meant.