The dream is overflowing with tangled times and mixed signals. First, my six-year-old son is playing on the floor in my bedroom. He’s laying wooden track for his locomotive and freight cars while the new owner of my little home is talking outside my favorite window.
He and his architect are discussing a monster addition. I try not to cry at the thought. I’m glad I can’t hear the details.
This is only a sliver of the strange sequence and intermingling of multiple “thens” and a shifting “now.” The remainder of the dream is about color and shopping and the excitement of a night out.
What’s on tap: meeting up for an evening with a group of women friends, all of us in our thirties. We have jobs, interests, enough money not to feel constrained, and we all enjoy dressing well — it’s about our “identity independence.” I’m wearing khaki shorts, a white sleeveless tee that shows off my curves, but I know I need a jacket or over-shirt.
Now I’m running through stores — first, a bookstore to glance at art references and new bestsellers, then a massive department store where I’m eyeing racks of jackets and tops, hoping to find a cover-up that is appropriate for my night out.
Somehow in the dream, time folding in on itself the way it does when the years are unhooked from the laws of physics, I am still nursing a bum shoulder and arm, aware that my current 50-something challenge may make it tough to try on clothes.
Then the color catches my eye. It’s warm, welcoming, and undeniably appetizing — a cheery, citrusy, edible shade of orange. It’s a perfectly cropped jacket, slightly textured, and absolutely gorgeous. I grab it off the hanger and slip it on.
My arm doesn’t hurt. My whole body feels lightened. And the jacket is an impeccable fit.
I glance in a mirror and I am now my 48-year-old self. (Odd as it may sound, I was my most attractive and confident at that age.) I’m trim and energetic. I’m gently tanned. My skin is still full and glowing and young. My hair is shiny and black. Standing in the orange jacket with the white shirt and khaki shorts — I feel powerful. Better yet, I feel like myself.
I tell the saleswoman I’m in a rush and I search through my purse for a credit card. The building I’m in resembles a multistory glass structure in Harvard Square where I used to oooo and aaaaah at the Marimekko fabrics, a Crate and Barrel I think. I’m fishing for a Nordstrom’s card, and then I see another jacket — a similar style, but a dazzling, vibrant fuchsia — and I dash to try it on.
This jacket is more high fashion, with a series of fabric-covered front buttons that will be difficult to manage (with my bum arm), but for the moment my worry is unfounded. Again, I have no pain. So I do the buttons right up, the price is in my budget, I’m thrilled with the striking color, and again, I feel a jolt of delight.
“This one too,” I say, finally finding my charge card, slipping out of the fuchsia jacket and back into the orange. I pay, I take my shopping bag, I practically skip down flights of stairs, and I head off to see friends for a night of laughter, conversation, art, and later, to enjoy coffee and books at Barnes and Noble.
I’m vaguely aware that time is a jumble, I’m skipping over sadness, and I ought to deal with a pocket of grief that keeps cropping up. I’ve lost an important touchstone in my home and my mothering, yet the loss is, in the dream, overshadowed by happiness.
As I’m waking, I see my son’s six-year-old face again. He was a sweet, affectionate, beautiful child. Now a man, I hope to see him soon. In the dream, I believe he has purposely left the trains and track so that “home” is still — and always — accessible.
The feeling (and image) of myself as strong and young, absent physical pain, unafraid of color, open to adventures, out in the world with friends — this, I perceive as a sort of “home” I had begun to forget.
I am well aware of the beneficial effects of positive dreams; the unconscious may offer useful insight and bestow a much needed boost to mood. It’s no wonder that I wake with a smile.
Incidentally, I went browsing to see if I could find the clothing I had dreamed. While this isn’t quite it — my “dream” jackets were more edgy and of a nubbier and lighter fabric — the color and style of this Akris jacket at Nordstrom is close.
I’m also reminded that today is International Women’s Day, as well as a day calling for a Women’s Strike. While my dream may seemingly have little to do with either, neither do the residual sensations of strength, spirit, and independence feel unrelated.
Pop by here to see this jacket at Nordstrom. (Now I’m curious to try it on.)
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