“Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there, wondering, fearing, doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before.”
—Edgar Allan Poe
So I was invited to a birthday bash-slash-festival, and I decided to go there with my best friend from high school. As soon as we walked past the entrance, through a crowd of fiesta-goers, made our way to the buffet table, and sat down to enjoy our food, a former classmate joined us, who just happens to be the cousin of the birthday celebrant. Since we didn’t have much to say to each other, we mostly ate in silence. I crammed the last veggies down my throat, and then all three of us got up to find the birthday girl—and the rest of our classmates, if we were lucky.
The place was huge! It seemed like their property stretched on forever. We weaved in and out of the crowd, which was steady growing, when we figured to make a shortcut through the main house—with our classmate leading the way, of course. We were navigating our way through the house and into the back entrance; the classmate in the lead, my best friend in between, and me trailing behind them. At one point, he purposely walked slower and waited for me to catch up. So my best friend ended up ahead of the line, leading us out toward the back. Without warning, he slid his hand subtly into mine and weaved his fingers in between. Surprised, I looked up. He had this huge grin plastered on his face. I felt icky, so I jerked my hand away as if I was burned. He just chuckled and continued walking.
As soon as we emerged from the backdoor, the bright afternoon sunlight hit us, and we could see that the festivities were well on their way. There was another buffet table laid out in front of us, brimming with all kinds of sweets and desserts imaginable.My best friend and I hung back to enjoy a few nibbles, and the our classmate went on ahead. A short while later, we made our way to the makeshifts stands, where a crowd was gathering to watch a soccer (or football to the non-Americans). We could see our classmate sitting down on the judges’ table.
While we made our way through the stands to find decent seats, all of the sudden, this huge bear of a guy blocked our way. He called me by my childhood name, which none but my family and close high school friends know me by. I looked up and immediately felt guilt because I didn’t recognize him at all. While my friend went ahead to find us some seats, I stayed behind, intrigued by the guy who came seemingly from nowhere. He was there with his old friends to watch the festivities. We got to talking, and he said he was a couple of years younger than him. Suddenly, he admitted unabashedly that he always had a crush on me since high school. I thought it was a tad creepy, but I had so much fun hanging around with them, I brushed it off. He even let me play with their remote controlled drone, a pet project he and his friends made.
Some time later, I realized that I had lost my shoes and my bag, which had my umbrella in it, was missing. I ended up borrowing a pair of extra shoes from them, which magically fit my tiny feet. As I made my way down into the grounds so I could head back to the main house, where I must have left my things, my friend joined me. Strangely enough, she too lost her shoes and had to borrow someone else’s. On the way, my friend and I appeared to have been separated, so I made my way back up to the house all by myself, trying to retrace my steps. I then decided to head out to the judges’ table, hoping that our classmate could help me look for my bag. In order to get back to the game though, I had to make a detour through the police station. I walked through the front gate easily enough, but once inside, I was confronted with a closed door. People were walking up and down the station, and there were two guards standing by the door. When I asked them which way to the soccer field, they opened the door, revealing a very creepy downstairs basement and a long dimly-lit hallway.
Needless to say, I hesitated. I was getting chills up my spine just looking down at it, not unlike when I was watching The Shining. But since I had to get my things back, I squared my shoulders, took a deep breath, and started climbing down the creepy stairs. All the while, my heart was pounding so hard I could hear it in my ears. Finally, I reached the door on the other end and wrenched it open. As it turned out, my shortcut led to the top of the stands. From my vantage point, I could see that our classmate was not on at the judges’ table anymore.
I started making my way down the stands to find him, so he could help me look for my bag. Then, out of nowhere, a pair of thick arms closed around me in a bear hug. It was that guy again! He started babbling that he was looking everywhere for me and about wanting to see me again, but I just looked up stupidly at his towering frame. Shortly after, I heard a screech. His girlfriend appeared from somewhere in the seats. Apparently, she saw him embracing me and flew into a rage.What ensued was a very public argument, which caused quite a scene for the spectators below. Then she took one look at me and stormed off.
I told him to go after her as I finally caught up with my best friend who appeared suddenly, no doubt attracted by the commotion that just happened around us. I grabbed her hand, and we ran down the stands, determined to find our classmate so we could find my bag, meet his cousin, and then skedaddle out of there.
Then I woke up to the lingering image of salt and pepper shakers. I was having another one of those weird dreams again, which always had me feeling flummoxed and disoriented.
The last thoughts I had before being fully awake and rising out of bed was that I was going to ask my best friend to hunt down his girlfriend and try to explain that there is nothing going on between his boyfriend and I, despite his belated declarations of misguided attraction toward me, because it most assuredly did not go both ways.
Come to think of it, I have never seen that guy before in my life. So he could well have been just a figment of my imagination—as was my entire dream.