Wednesday, December 17, 2008

A dream - things to come

It was damp and overcast as I walked down the empty suburban street. Everything was still and quiet. There were no cars parked anywhere, and no other people visible. There was a chill in the air, and the humidity made my breath come out in dense white clouds. Everything was described in oppressive shades of grey. The only sound was the noise of my feet striking the sidewalk, and that was muted and dull. There was a thin fog, not enough to really obscure anything, but objects in the distance looked as though they were only partially there, as if my reality was traveling through a phantom world that only took on substance as I approached. I tried a shout, just to break the oppressive silence. The sound was instantly smothered and clipped short, as if by dense cotton, with nary an echo. I put my hands in my pockets and concentrated on the sidewalk. I had a green pillow tucked under my arm. At least, it was supposed to be green. I remember it being green, anyway... but here it was just grey.

After a while I heard something behind me. It was another set of muted footsteps. I turned and saw a girl following, just barely visible on the edge of the fog. She was wearing a green button down shirt and blue jeans, and her hair was pulled back. She had her hands in her pockets, the same as me, and was studying the sidewalk in front of her, the same as me. I continued walking, looking back every now and then, but she never looked up. I realized that her green shirt was the only color besides grey that was visible anywhere. I thought about that for a while, and then realized that her shirt was a Subway shirt. You know, the sandwich place. I seemed to remember them being red before, but they were green now, apparently. I wondered if she was walking to work. I tried to sync my steps with hers, but every time I managed to merge the sounds together, she would move them out of sync again. It sounded like my footsteps were echoing. After a while I stopped trying to sync the sounds, as I rather enjoyed the false echo. It made things seem less oppressive. Maybe she was doing that on purpose.

I finally came to an intersection and stopped. I expected to find my car parked there. It wasn't. This was quite a shock to me, that plus the realization that I had been walking here expecting to find it. I cut across somebody's yard stopped at the curb where my car was supposed to be parked. I looked around frantically, panic building. Apparently, someone had stolen my car. I tried to scream out loud, and I know that I meant to shout "Somebody stole my car!", but it only came out as a stammer, a series of smothered sounds that were supposed to be words but were only noises. I fell to my knees, dismayed and broken. I covered my hands with my face and I sobbed quietly. After a while, I wiped my hands on my pants and looked up. To my right I saw an old couple on the front lawn of the house which this particular curb served, the one I had cut across. They were raising an American flag. There was no color in the flag; it was all grey, and as they raised it, it disappeared into the dense fog. This surprised me, and it was then that I noticed for the first time that the tops of all of the houses and trees were obscured by a low ceiling of fog. I tried calling out to the old couple, to ask if they had seen my car. The words came out jumbled again and were immediately smothered by the cotton effect. The old couple regarded me for a few seconds, then went inside.

I suddenly felt extremely tired so I laid down on the sidewalk with the pillow under my head. I was just about to drift off when I heard the muted footsteps approaching. I opened my eyes and saw two sandal clad feet stop right in front of me. I looked up. It was the Subway girl with the green shirt. She sat down next to me. After a while, she snatched my pillow away.

"Hey, give that back." Funny, I was able to talk again.

"No. You don't need it. I want it."

I couldn't think of anything else to say immediately, so I just laid my head back down on the concrete.

"Do you see that bird over there?"

"Huh?" She was talking again. I propped myself up on an elbow and looked around. The girl was pointing to a black bird which was hopping around on the lawn of the old couple. I confirmed that I did in fact see the bird.

"Watch what it does."

I watched. The bird hopped towards us and then stopped. Then it hopped again. It was finally on the sidewalk beside me. I stared at it intently. It stared back. Then it pecked my arm.

"Ow!" I sat up and rubbed my arm. The girl was laughing. I tried to reach for the pillow but she pulled it out of my reach.

"Do you know who stole my car?"

"I think Clint took it. You knew that though, why ask me?"

I laid back down on the sidewalk, on my back this time, and covered my eyes with my forearm. Yeah, I guess I did know that after all. Clint had taken the car, and he would likely crash it or get it impounded or something. The girl stretched out and put her legs on my stomach. I looked at her legs and then looked at her, reclining easily on my pillow. I massaged her leg distractedly.

"Do you work at Subway?"

She didn't reply. Instead, she leaned over and kissed me gently on the lips.

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