Monday, August 09, 2004

At Death's Door

Man, I had this really weird/disturbing dream last night. I'd gone down some stairs in somebody's perfectly ordinary house, and I was in this little basement utility area. It, too, was absolutely normal. There was a door on one side that led to a little bathroom, and a storage room on the other side, and a space beyond that with a washer and dryer and stuff. It was all incredibly detailed and realistic. I remember a bucket with a rag sitting in it, that kind of thing. The place looked perfectly ordinary and used.

But beyond the bit with the washer and dryer, there was a little more space, and there was a door. It was a perfectly ordinary door-to-the-outside kind of door, like anybody might have in their house, and I'm not sure, but there might well have been sunlight visible through it. In front of the door was a man. He was calm. His voice was mild-mannered. He was wearing a suit. And he told me that this place was death, and that once I'd come down those stairs I could never go back up them into the world again. I don't think he ever said it, but the obvious next thing was to go through that door, and he was clearly there to see that I did it.

I had this dream twice. At least, I think I it was twice. It might have been once, and the dream came pre-built with a sense of having dreamed it before. I'm not sure. But in what I remember as the first time, I went and hid in the storage room and shut the door. It was very, very dark and small and enclosed, like a good hiding place. But he very calmly told me that I couldn't stay in there forever, and that when I came out, there was only one place to go. Because you couldn't ever, ever, ever go back up the stairs. In my heart, I knew this was true. The second time I dreamed it, the weight of this knowledge, the sheer horrible unfairness of the thought that just by walking down an innocuous-seeming set of stairs I'd cut myself off from my life forever became simply too much to bear. I knew I couldn't go back up them; that was, like, an unbreakable physical law. So I had to find another way out. I had to escape this level of reality altogether and wake up. So, with a truly massive effort of will, I made myself realize that I was dreaming, and I woke up. Which, by the way, is something I am very rarely able to do, possibly because very few of my dreams are bad enough to require it.

There are probably deep, dark, rich layers of symbolic content in there, but I'm not at all sure I really want to explore them.

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