Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Not Your Usual Social Call


“Come. Let me show you around our new house.” Suzi and I had once known one another casually but had never turned our relationship into a friendship; our personalities hadn’t exactly clicked. She had always struck me as a superficial and fake person with no real interest in others. She had also seemed like a woman whose heart wouldn’t miss a beat over hurting someone. I’m having these thoughts as Suzi and I are sitting on her king size bed, chatting, oddly, about old times, as if we’d been the best of friends. We haven’t seen each another in years, and Suzi seems to think I have more than an active interest in what’s happened with her life since we’d last spoken. My head is getting heavy with her empty chatter, and I’m feeling troubled and claustrophobic. Although I haven’t seen the rest of the interior yet, and my dream didn’t begin with my arriving at Suzi’s house and seeing it from outside, I already know the house is enormous. As I follow Suzi out of her bedroom of satin, silk, and lace, I begin to feel more and more uneasy. Why am I here? Why are we sitting in her bedroom and not in the living room? What’s the purpose of this show-and-tell? “We had to make a lot of changes to open it up, you know,” Suzi says, and I wonder who the other person in the “we” is. Did she get married to a loaded moneybags, after all? I ask myself, and I turn my attention away from her face to look at a room she’s supposed to be showing me. But directly in front of me is a closed door. And behind me is another closed door. The long hallway, so long I can’t see the end of it, has closed doors on either side. “Isn’t it beautiful?” Suzi says, and it's obvious she isn't expecting an answer. “I just can’t believe how open everything is, now. You should’ve seen it before we tore down all the walls and doors. It was a disaster.” Before you tore down all the walls and doors? I must be losing it. “Come on. Let me show you the rest.” I follow. As we’re going down the hall, I realize Suzi is oblivious to the doors, and even to the hall itself. She’s walking down the hall as if she’s going from one open room to another. Maybe I’m imagining things? But I know I’m not. Suzi stops in front of a door. “I like that all the guest rooms are in separate wings,” she says. “That way our guests can have some privacy,” she adds with a wink. She pauses, her hand clutching the doorknob. “You know, Nevine, you really should think about coming down and spending a week or two with us.” But her voice is distant and insincere. And I wonder why she didn’t mention my husband in the invitation. Suzi opens the door and we walk into a room filled with other doors. I go to a door and walk out into another room with more doors. “Can we see the next room, please?” I say, eager for the tour to be over. But Suzi has her back to me, and she doesn’t seem to have heard me. “Suzi?” “Oh, yes, of course,” she says. “It’s right over this way.” But the next room is across the hall. Weren’t we just in this room? And I start to correct Suzi, to remind her that we’ve already been in this room, but she opens the door and it’s another empty room with more doors. I’m dizzy, both physically and mentally. What a strange existence this woman leads, I say to myself. To be surrounded by a horrific maze of empty rooms and not to even realize it! Her home must mirror the vicious meaninglessness of her life. “Are we almost done with the house tour?” I ask Suzi, but I turn around to find that she's no longer there. I feel a cold chill as goose bumps break out on my arms and legs. “I have to get out of here,” I tell myself out loud, hoping my voice will provide the security I need to keep my sanity intact. But a deep fear seizes me as I realize that I no longer remember which of the doors is my key to freedom. And I know, now, that I will either have to open every door, or else meet an unknown doom in this purgatory. Instinctively, I look down at my ring finger and see that my solitaire setting has disappeared, and that only my diamond is there, suspended just above my finger, as if it’s floating by the power of a gravity that’s holding it up rather than pulling it down. Suzi has reappeared in front of me and is smiling wickedly. I still have time, I tell myself. But I feel helpless. The adrenaline rush has left me weak, and I close my eyes, needing a moment to recover. When I open my eyes again, I’m standing outside, looking at an old, run-down building rather than a new house, feeling like I’ve been banished, and asking myself dozens of questions in fewer seconds. The building reeks of mold, and is surrounded by pipes that wrap around it like barbed wire, obstructing the ability of anyone inside to open a window or door. A child, who appears to have come from inside the building, walks toward me, and smiles darkly. She comes closer and takes my left hand, looks at my ring finger, and says, “Suzi heard everything you were thinking about her. She says you can go to hell.”
The dream ends.

4 comments:

  1. Your dreams are much like mine. I never thought of writing about them; I always thought mine were resting just on the precipice of sanity. How nice to see I'm not alone in this. I found it interesting that her hand clutched the doorknob of a door to which she was completely oblivious. Those are the little details in my dreams that make me stew over them for days, weeks. I'm dying to know who the other person in the "we" represents, as well. The little girl chilled me to the marrow. Peculiar how doors are representative of so many things, isn't it? In my dreams, I have found that doors have represented people, events, evil, so many things, really. Nevine, I know you're probably sick to death of reading it, but once again, you've reached effortlessly into my psyche and I will be hung on your story for God knows how long. I am a thinker, and YOU make me THINK! Thank you again for an outstanding piece, my dear!
    Much Love,
    Deborah

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  2. Deborah, I've been keeping dream journals for I don't know how many years. The precipice of sanity? You're lucky. Mine are so terribly out there. But I enjoy experiencing them because I learn so much about myself from my dreams. When I write about them, there's always something forgotten that I remember, and something about myself I didn't know that I discover. I agree with you entirely about the doors - thoughts, risks, people, happenings, and endless other possibilities. Well, I'm also happy to know I'm not alone in my insane subconscious. And on the bright side, it provides such endless ideas for writing... :)

    Nevine

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  3. “Suzi heard everything you were thinking about her. She says you can go to hell.” Oh my god! This is scary, you know. The block narrative is as dense as that house.

    Nevine how do you remember the dreams that you see? i hardly remember them and sometimes I feel that there are no dreams at all.

    I think I will read every single one of them.

    Cheerio,
    Susan

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  4. Susan, you know, most of the time I feel the same way... as if there were no dreams. But there are mornings when I wake up feeling like something is lingering on the edge of my mind... on the tip of my tongue... behind my eyes... hiding somewhere. And I just take my dream journal and begin to list bullet points of small images I can recall. As I do this, sometimes I experience a "full recall" where everything just gushes in, and sometimes I am left with only the snippets.

    Dreams have always fascinated me, so I started journaling mine when I was very young, and I really never stopped.

    Yes, this is a weird dream sequence, too, isn't it? It was a very scary dream for me... not of nightmarish proportions... but very unsettling and it left me with a very dark feeling the following morning.

    Speaking of which, I think it is how we feel about a dream that really helps in recalling it.

    I so hope you enjoy browsing around, Susan. I am really so happy you are doing that.

    And I can promise you that I will be browsing around your older posts starting soon... It piqued my curiosity, too, when you mentioned on your "Gratitude" blog post celebrating your "Meanderings" blog's birthday that your earlier posts were more personal in nature. It's nice for us to get to know one another better, isn't it? I think it makes the blogging experience all the more fun... and genuine.

    Nevine

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Your thoughts are deeply appreciated.