Nowadays, it feels like I need to write everything down as not to forget, so I was surprised I had total dream recall on Tuesday morning.
It wasn’t particularly spectacular, scary or weird, I wasn’t envisioning myself as Renee Elise Goldsberry as Angelica Schuyler belting out out “Satisfied” on Broadway. But moreso for who was in it — the only man I’d loved enough to live with…two decades ago. It was a regular day in a home that was clearly ours, but nothing like the one we used to share. We were the middle-aged us of 2022, and not our fresh faced doppelgängers. He was making dinner, I was drinking a glass of white wine, Sting was playing in the background, we were talking about work, the pandemic and a trip to see the Northern Lights. I was experiencing it in 4K REM.
✅Random. ✅Regular. ✅Remembered.
We aren’t in contact often, but remain cordial. Because the dream was so vivid, I immediately texted him to see if he was okay. He texted back that he was fine but curious on what had prompted me to ask him that out of the blue. “I had a dream about you last night”, I replied. Three little dots appeared as he typed his reply and then… “that’s bizarre, I had a dream about you last night too.”
We didn’t exchange to each other what we’d dreamt, but the dreams themselves were besides the point. We are both of Jamaican heritage, so when I joked… is one of us going to die? Do we need a dream interpreter, he instantly understood what I meant.
I wished I’d paid more attention when my grandmother, mother and aunt made their oxtails, but moreover, I shoulda been absorbing the way they used to dissect the meaning of someone’s dream. I always scoffed at what I thought were old-school ways of assigning symbolism to the most trivial matters based on someone’s unconscious images. But it usually went like this.
“Dreaming of old death means new death. OR, dreaming of someone dying means someone is pregnant.”
“If you dream of someone wearing white, it means death.”
“Your teeth or hair fell out in a dream? Oh Lord, it means death.”
I didn’t want to ask my mother what our mutual dreams meant, because it was highly likely she was going to tell me that it meant someone was going to die… Or, she’d pull out the RCA Victrola and put on the well-worn record labeled “You Two Shouldn’t Have Gotten Divorced in the First Place”…Or both. Either way, I thought that conversation was going to end with her stressing me out.
I needed to find a different elderly Jamaican lady with a PhD in Dream Symbolism. Someone who was objective.
In the meanwhile, I reached out to a sorority sister who, while not Jamaican, is older than me, an intuitive and knows about the metaphysical. She explained that we are in Venus retrograde … A-HA! I thought! even though I didn’t understand what it meant.
I talked to one of my cousins, who said it didn’t mean anything and I should stop overthinking it. But he’s a boy so what does he know?
Finally, I couldn’t take it anymore and decided to bite the bullet and ask the Grand Dame about it. She listened, pondered and said… “I don’t think I have anything in my arsenal that matches one”.
“So no one’s gonna die?”, I pressed.
She raised an eyebrow. “Yes, we’re all going to die. You know this. That’s why I was relieved when you were with him. I thought I didn’t have to worry about you anymore when I was gone.”
Ooooh, she turned that Victrola on like a ninja! I didn’t see it coming.
My cousin was possibly right about me overthinking a reason. Maybe the only point was that I should finally mail the man his copy of Sting’s Field of Gold: Best of CD that I still have. Or maybe it was trying to tell me that I should spend more time with my mother to learn the rest of the things that she can teach me — like how to perfect my oxtails.