PAGE 2 OF 8, "THE EIGHT DREAMS" (1:1:4:34)
First year, May 4th, I had this dream. I'm sitting on a seat in a subway car. The car is overpopulated, filled to the max capacity and then some. The car makes a stop, the stop is named Main. Looking out the window of the car I see more people who expect to find a seat in this car, but all that happens is even more population is added to a place that is already overpopulated.
The next stop is Fifth, and even more people get on, and it feels like the pressure is building, or something is going to explode. I decide to get off at Center, which is the next stop after Fifth, and as the subway car is driving away, I turn around and see an advertisement claiming everything that I have said and done is both meaningless and purposeless, and the unexpectedness of this event causes me to become lucid.
After I realize that I am dreaming, I begin to think of Roach and the discussion we had, but I have a hard time remembering his face and the things he said, most likely because I hadn't yet dreamed page one, but there are so many factors to consider that I could be wrong.
I decide to search for this man, probably because subconsciously I have no idea who he is and my mind wants to gain a better understanding of anything it can't comprehend so that it may adapt and survive. The problem is the only thing I know is his name.
I go to the edge of the platform on Center and overlook the tracks, and in the distance I can see the next stop, State. I jump down and begin to walk, and when I get to State I see many people waiting for the next set of cars. Looking at these people, looking through them for Roach, literally, metaphorically and philosophically, I start to think about how most of us live our lives waiting for things.
Waiting for the right job, waiting for the right person, waiting for that right moment in your life where everything you have had to go through in your life all seems worth it now, but these things may never come. Those of us who aren't waiting are searching, but of course we will never find what we are looking for. Not usually, anyway. The jokes on us.
After a long time, I've checked Sixth, Park, Seventh and others but I can't find him, and eventually I give up and go above ground to find a city wrapped in bright lights and a mature night. To my right I see a bunch of kids skateboarding, and to my left I see more people waiting for a bus to come. I begin to walk towards the bus stop, and on my way when I'm almost there I feel a hand on my left shoulder so I turn around and to my surprise it's Roach, who tells me he has been looking for me for quite some time.
His clothes are torn, and he has a cup in his hand filled with coins. I think to myself that this is the generic homeless person that I have come up with in my mind. "It all matters. Maybe not in the grand scheme of things, but all the little things you do when you're not waiting or searching, they bring you closer to sharing a part of your soul with others." After he says this to me, he walks towards the bus stop and sits next to a lady who is not really paying attention to her purse.
When the time is right, he slips a piece of paper, a note, into her purse, and then he walks away. As he is walking away, the bus comes and picks up all of the waiters, and then it passes by me, and through those large windows I can see the lady sitting down with her head against the side of the bus. Maybe she is tired from a hard day's work. I can only wonder what she will think when she gets Roach's note. Soon after, I wake up.
Lynne flips through the radio station after a few minutes because what's being said on the radio news depresses her, and she ends up landing on a classic rock station. I ask her if she likes this kind of music, and she says it's her favorite kind. She asks me what I like, and I tell her I like the same kind of stuff.
After some time I notice that we aren't going in the direction leading back to the apartment building. For a while it's just me, her and whatever song is playing on the radio. Everything outside of the car is so dark, however we are in a part of town that still has most of its power on. This blackout reminds me how when you have no light, time almost seems lost. It is almost irrelevant likewise to how time in dreams is irrelevant.
Lynne drives into an apartment complex and then finally stops the car in front of an apartment building and begins to stare at it. It feels like she is getting prepared to tell me something, and she's figuring it all out in her head.
I ask her if she knows somebody who lives here, but she says no. She says that this is where she lived when most of her adult life happened. She lived here when she lost her foot, when she had both Sarah and David, when she met Silvio, when she planted her first flower, when her brother died. She says she comes here every now and then to see if it's changed at all, or in an attempt to visit the past. This makes me think of my parents' home.
She tells me she always comes here alone at night, but wanted to show me. She says so much and it feels like she is sharing a part of her soul with me, but I don't want any part of her soul. I don't want another Julia. After a while she asks me if I like her, I say yes. How she will perceive that, I don't know. She then asks me why then haven't I shown her that I do, she asks me if I am with someone, I say no. Now she is giving me a hug, and doesn't give me a chance to answer why I don't show it. I thank God.
As she is hugging me, she says it's okay. Then she starts to talk about how I helped her move her television that one day. How she could tell we would be good friends. All this time I'm thinking she's a little bit crazy. I'm also thinking why she is doing this to a person who barely knows her. What makes someone do something like this?
We drive back home and then part ways on the second floor of our apartment building. I go to sit on my couch and I grab the television remote and press the power button. The television won't turn on, so I press it again but I get the same result. I press it three more times but the damn thing is broken and it makes me so angry that I throw the remote at the wall and it shatters.
I know that I'm not mad at the remote or the television, I know that I'm mad at my life. Some kind of passive aggression that if I don't find a way to cope with, will end up causing me to do something I will regret.
I know that I fear that the clock is ticking away until I finally make my way around the entire circle and reach the dot again and completely lose my mind. I know that I fear that they will give me those pills again that affect my memory and cause me to forget my dreams. I know that I fear if I go back there again a switch might turn on and I may not be able to turn it off.
I try to sleep, but I never really fall asleep. I wake up even more tired than when I laid down my head. Later on in the day the delivery men deliver my new shelf; they say they tried calling to let me know that they were coming but they received no answer. I tell them the power went out in the building yesterday. After they leave, I move the shelf from the living room to the room that stores the notebooks, and I somehow end up getting a small superficial cut on my right thumb. I wipe the minimal blood on my shirt and begin to place the already categorized composition notebooks onto the shelf.
While I'm putting one of them up, it falls out of my hand and lands open on the ground and I see a page titled "Calm The Devil's Grin." I read a sentence about how giving something freewill will allow it to end its own existence, but before I can read anymore I hear a loud knock at my door. It's definitely not Lynne.
I open the door and standing in the doorway is a man who thinks that he is everyone's best friend. That he is so likeable and lovable that he can do and say as he pleases, and that is exactly what he does. He shows himself into my apartment and at the same time begins to talk about his trip to the other side of the world. His name is Tao and had been visiting his relatives in China for about six months, and now he's returned. It wouldn't be so bad if he didn't live right under me and was always coming over. If the opportunity ever strikes in the right place at the right time I will kill him.
Tao makes a joke about how he comes back home at the wrong time, with the power being out and all, and then he asks me how everyone in the building is doing, as if I were everyone's keeper. I tell him that Joe had an accident and is in a coma, but that doesn't seem to jar him.
Right after he asks me about who the new woman is right across the hall, and I ask him if he means the short lady with the two kids. He says yes, that one, but that he doesn't know about any kids. I tell him that her name is Lynne and that she is pretty cool, although a bit strange, and he tells me that he likes strange and then makes a facial expression that can't be expressed in words.
Then jumping onto the next subject as he likes to do so quickly, he starts to ask me about what's going on in the west side of the city, what's with all the dead bodies and cop killings he's been hearing about in his short time back. I think of Derek.
I tell him I have no idea, and then he says that we are probably past due for another riot like we had nine years ago. I didn't live around here then, so I didn't know what he was talking about, but he was probably right. Then he starts to talk about a cop that got shot and about how he knew one of the cops' friends. He says that he heard that five black kids were hanging out on the stairs in front of an apartment building talking, and then four white cops drove up and told them all to get against the wall.
The four white cops check the five black kids for drugs and weapons and anything else that is illegal to carry unless told otherwise. They don't have anything on them, but in an effort to prevent crime one of the four white cops taunts one of the five black kids, and that particular black kid at the time has had enough of all the unusual cop presence which was enforced because of a prior killing of two young innocent bystanders, so instead of taking the bullshit he pushes one of the cops back and is arrested.
After seeing their friend being put in handcuffs, another black kid begins to argue with one of the cops claiming it was bullshit and that the other cop acted first, and after this black kid has said his piece, and after he is ignored, he insults all four white cops and is then also arrested. The other three black kids who are not in handcuffs don't say a word, but they don't need to because there is an older black man across the street yelling and laughing at the actions of the law enforcement officers.
The older black man begins to shout about how cops don't have anything better to do than to make quality of life arrests which implies he is more knowledgeable about the inner workings of a police force than he looks. One of the white cops looks at him and threatens to take him to jail if he doesn't shut up, and now this event begins to draw a crowd. People are looking out of their windows, stopping on the sidewalks, crowding and talking with each other about what is going on.
Now the older black man has gone back inside his home, and the crowd that had gathered has taken his place and claim that the cops are never around when they are actually needed. A common claim. Frustrated, one of the white cops gets out of his black and white and tells the crowd to back up, but one of the individuals in the crowd attempts to spit at him and misses. As he is beginning to walk towards the person who tried to spit at him, the other officers look in his direction and notice what is going on.
At the same time that they are looking in his direction, the older black man walks out of his home with a model of a Smith & Wesson handgun and yells something in the direction of the officers, and then begins to shoot at them. You've walked so far and you are finally at the edge, and all it takes is one little push.
After everyone has scattered, and after all the rounds have been fired, there are four fatalities and two damaged police vehicles. The fatalities in question are two out of the four cops, one out of the two kids who were arrested and the man who initiated the shooting. One of the police vehicles had a window shot out, and the other a tire popped.
People at the police department are looking into various things such as why there were four police officers roaming the same area. I realize that this is what the people on the radio station were talking about.
Tao starts to go into his racist mood, talking about how all the blacks are ruining the communities they reside in, but before he can begin to preach we both hear yelling just outside my door. I look through my peephole but I can't see far enough to the right to see what's going on, so I open my door and I see a woman standing behind a man who is trying to break down the door to Lynne's apartment. It's Claire and Silvio.
Claire turns around and for no logical reason starts to yell at me, and when Silvio realizes this, he too starts to yell at me, again for no logical reason that I can find. Claire starts to insult both her sister and her mother, and I can't help but remember the Claire that was so sweet and soft-spoken. What did Silvio do to turn her against her family? Is Claire some kind of crazy person who has crazy mood-swings? That whole damn family seems crazy.
Now Silvio is in my face telling me to stay away from his kids, and when I just stand there and don't react to him, he pushes me. After I laugh and tell him that he should just go home, he knocks me down and starts hitting me. I block all of his punches, but before I know it I see Tao standing there threatening to hit him with my metal baseball bat. I forgot I even still had that.
The threat might seem real if Tao didn't look so afraid. Claire and Silvio laugh at him, and the distraction allows me to trip Silvio and put him in a headlock. I always assumed a headlock was suppose to be more painful to the person in the headlock, but this particular one is causing me more pain because I have Claire hitting me in the back of the head with her damn purse.
After about six seconds, I can hear Lynne screaming, and her scream makes me realize what we are all doing. How we are all acting like animals. After Lynne's scream, Claire stops hitting me and I let go of Silvio, and surprisingly he doesn't retaliate. We are all just awkwardly calm, but waiting for any move another person might make. In my head, I laugh at Tao.
Right after, the police have arrived unusually quickly thanks to Emily, and they sort every thing out. Imagine if the response time was this quick in the city.
After I close my door, I look at Tao and I start laughing. All he can really do is shake his head, he is probably still wondering what just happened and what I had gotten myself into with these people. In the back of his mind I know he wants to ask me what all those composition notebooks are about. He had to have seen them because that metal bat was in the same room. After I stop laughing, I say "welcome back."