dream sequence – part 85

It was one of those dreams that occurs just before waking in the morning. Bits and pieces of reality merged with the subconscious in the form of rapid-fire fragments that came and went without explanation.

I woke up to Mary watching television shortly after 7 in the morning. My alarm was set for 8, and real-life Mary would never do this, so dream Paul was a bit perplexed. We were in a big old house filled with many families, most with small children who were already awake. My understanding was that we were there for some sort of reunion, but Mary was watching footage of a festival that was occurring on the other side of town. Clearly she wanted to go, but I reminded her that that wasn’t why we were here. Then I asked her if she was going to remain awake instead of letting me sleep until 8, not that there was much likelihood of that. She took my question as a less-than-subtle hint and wandered to other parts of the house, reminding me that we were expected at church at 9.

Returning my head to the pillow, I closed my eyes and heard crying, laughter and conversation, as if I were the only person in the house still trying to sleep. After a minute or two of futility, I got up, hastily washed my face and put on some clothing, trying to catch up with Mary.

There were many familiar people in the house, most of whom didn’t recognize me. Every room had multiple black-and-white televisions of various vintages, one of which was incorporated into a child’s playhouse. On the screen was grainy footage from “Howdy Doody” that no one was watching.

I was struck by a young blond-haired, blue-eyed boy who looked extremely familiar.

“Are you… Johnny?” I asked.

Another boy, clearly an older brother, answered on his behalf.

“No, Johnny is our uncle.”

I grew up with Johnny and his brother Jimmy, so this was the next generation, or perhaps – because so much time had passed – this was another generation beyond that. I was, as we used to say back then, a bit freaked out.

I walked out of the house and wandered around a complex of farm houses like the one I just left, each teeming with children and televisions and the occasional adult. Then I thought about the time – a quarter to 9 – and began imagining what the consequences might be if I skipped church.

standing outside
a country church
the unforgiving sun

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