Tuesday, January 22, 2008
I had a dream of an apolcalyptic sort. I lived on an island replete with hotels and paved concrete corridors that were open (almost like cloverleafs and highway flyovers) and there were also zig-zagged cobble-stone streets of an almost european shape and variety w. restaurants and tourist shops. There was the ocean, but it was violent and stormy and mostly people sat on the beach but did not swim. It seemed dangerous. There were palm trees like outlines or spears. In one of the buildings with the ramp winding upwards, spiral-shaped, there were rooms like dorm rooms. It was hive-like. I felt that many of the buildings on the island were like this. There were many people and the rooms seem randomly assigned. They were also in various states of pre-occupancy. No one seemed to mind. It was crowded and there were lines for things like the bathrooms and showers. It seemed that there were mostly girls who were away from home -- duffel bags and laundry and slouchy cosmetic bags stuffed with toiletries like clear mascara and razor blades. I shared the room with two or three other girls, but I only saw one of them. The room was where teenagers lived and it seemed that I was staying in a room I'd lived in before. Was I a teenager again? I told the one girl I saw in the room where we'd had the furniture. The room seemed to change sizes and dimensions. At one point it opened and seemed much larger. We were frequently coming and going from the room for group events and competitions. I thought about swimming often. Before the apocalypse, I came back when the room was empty to hide a box. The box contained all these personal tangible objects. letters and lockets. I hid my key to the room under a brick in the concrete corridor. The brick was loose from the wall. Then the apocalypse came. Everything was stormy and dust. People were corralled and evacuated. The authorities sealed everything shut. People no longer lived where they had lived before. The old places were vacant and surrounded by chainlink. Still, I came back. It was understood that this was something people would sometimes do -- to wander the old place. I came back to look for the box. The door to the room with the box had been sealed shut. The key that I'd hid under a brick was resealed into a wall and painted green. I knew my key was in the brick wall, but I didn't try to break the wall down. I thought it was hopeless. I went on without trying to get into the room with the box but I knew it was there. Then I couldn't stand it and went to break open the brick wall painted green. The hallway was like the space in those tiers that wrap around baseball stadiums where there are concessions and bathrooms, only it was abandoned. I tried to break the wall. Just then, the other girl with the key emerged from the door. I had known there was another girl with a key and that she would not give it to me. I had known this all along. I had accepted this. But when she was right there, in front of me at this moment of desperation, I tackled her. "I have stuff in there," I told her. She looked at me like she knew, like she had looked at my stuff, that she had spent time with it. Not in a malicious way, but for comfort, which was also what I wanted. I did not hate her. She looked guilty, and I saw that she would change her mind. Whatever the risks of sharing the key with me, it was worth it to share it -- the room-- with someone. Inside the room the world was not so much real as simply that of teenagers. A preserved room. It was full of dust and papers and objects no longer in the world. "How silly we were," I thought, reading the loopy teenaged handwriting, and "how deeply we felt then, when the world was real." The past self I'd forgotten was so happy and unknowing. I cried.