Quarantine Dream: There Is No Us Anymore
Quarantine dream: Chimneys, industrial stations, and you but not-you. Is this what it feels like to be truly alone?
I went to look for you last night. I’m not sure what time my train pulled into the station, but I stepped off, bare-foot and with no money, into the middle of a swirling crowd whose language I couldn’t understand even though their words were English. Like when we went to Paris, do you remember? Except I had shoes then, sensible ones for walking and high heels for the fancy dinner you promised. We both had money. We fitted in, our own conversation threading in amongst others that were all so similar. But last night I wasn’t in Paris. Industrial chimneys surrounded this nameless station with its faceless people, all of them belching smoke, and I realised too late that I didn’t know where you lived. I didn’t know your address. I started to ask someone if they knew where you lived, but then I realised that I didn’t know your surname either. You became simply Chris, one Chris in a city of a thousand Chrises who all had dark hair and ocean-blue eyes, and that’s when I started to panic.
This isn’t you, you told me the day of my first panic attack, you aren’t usually anxious like this. You were right. Every single panic attack since has felt like an invader, a virulent attacker who strikes when I least expect it and leaves me only when I can’t take any more; leaves me without finishing me off so that there’s some left for next time. Last night, I was devoured whole. I sank to my knees in the middle of the station concourse and the whole world seemed to tilt and sway. No one stopped, or even noticed. No one tried to set the world back on its feet. I knew the only thing I could do was to wait for you to find me, but you didn’t even know I was there. Is this, I remember thinking, what it’s like to be truly alone? Is this what it feels like to die?
Something must have died, because the whole dreamscape changed. Like being underwater when the tide turns, I was swept along into another scene, another consciousness, another life, until there was nothing left of you but dawn birdsong and a strange, unsettling feeling that I wasn’t sure what to do with. Over my first coffee, I was convinced that it meant that you’d died. I didn’t cry. I just sat there, numb. Over the second coffee, I comforted myself by wondering if perhaps it meant that the person I’d known had died, changed beyond recognition in the eighteen months since we’d spoken. Over the third coffee, I wondered if it meant I should message and find out. After all, when can you say it if you can’t say it in the middle of a pandemic? (But what is the it that I’d be saying?)
Over the plum cake, made the day before with frozen plums and the last of the honey, I wondered if it meant that I shouldn’t message, that if I did I’d only be disappointed.
Outside, on the one permitted walk per day, I wondered why it is that dreams never give us a straight answer to the questions we never knew we were asking. I wondered why it is that dreams always show us whatever it is we don’t want to see.
Now, I wonder if it simply meant I miss you.
Quarantine dream diary: The soul asks itself if it can/should reach out
Perhaps this dream is about reflecting, taking time to think about the past while the future is so uncertain, and wondering whether reaching out is the right thing to do (even though there are so many opportunities for that).
It feels like the pandemic is acting as a sieve, separating those people who are really important to us from those who aren’t necessarily, and subsequently throwing up questions. If one of those important people isn’t really in your life anymore, what feels best to do? Accept it with gratitude and leave them in the past? Let them know? At least ask if they’re doing ok?
There’s definitely the potential in these circumstances to become more aware of how relationships work on a soul level, I think. Strong ties can still be there even when people have been apart for years.
I don’t recall any colours apart from the greyness of the industrial surroundings. Usually I have much more colourful dreams! But this one was all about the sensations.