Last night, after a night of Audra waking us up every two hours like horrible magical clockwork, I had this dream that Jason and I were back in Illinois visiting my hometown.
It wasn't exactly my hometown, not really - this version of it was full of bustling shops around a busy Main Street, a place where the grain elevator was never torn down and there was still a grocery store next door to my childhood church, with a tanning salon on the other side that I think maybe isn't a tanning salon anymore and that was, once upon a time, a bank.
It wasn't a dream that took place in a true past or anything - McLean was never so busy in my lifetime as it was in this dream. There were shops that have never existed there, so far as I know. But I guess it was kind of the town we all would have liked it to be.
We were walking, all of us - my husband and I and my parents, glimpses of my siblings and my little niece, too, though they are fuzzier. We turned a corner where a barber shop used to be, the barber inside always seemed eternal until he suddenly wasn't.
He used to give me Dum-Dum suckers sometimes.
We were talking about the barber, who waved at us while working on an older customer. I think I remembered them both perfectly, far better than I do while awake.
I think Audra was with us - but maybe not.
Dad and I were joking about the Highlander movie, how 'they can only make one', laughing about the ridiculous joke. I remembered feeling sort of flushed with warmth at this great moment. We waved back at the barber and moved on, walking past an empty spot of grass where a library currently stands, next to the post office, which of course is exactly the same.
I said something to Dad, and he replied, and I remembered quite suddenly within the dream that he was dead.
I remember looking at his face, really looking, to see if he had noticed. As though perhaps he just didn't know it yet. He was laughing, something about the Highlander movie again. I was startled and deflated and just so mad, in the dream, that I couldn't just have a little bit more time where I didn't know.
He looked away from me, over across the town square, and he was still laughing.
I woke up. I had slept right through my alarm.
Or, to be more exact...
The alarm had gone off and I actually moved to pick it up off the floor next to the bed, physically turned it off, rolled back over, and gone right back to total sleep, apparently without a break in the dream. Or maybe the alarm had been the break, the point at which I realized something was off, and I just... didn't want to wake up just yet.
Despite it showing that I was thirty minutes later getting up than I should be, I wondered if maybe I just rolled over again, I could go right back to the dream.
Audra made a noise from her room. Not awake, not yet, but her psychic awareness of times that I want to lie in bed for just five more minutes was prodding her towards it.
So I got up and made myself a bowl of Cheerios, fed the dog, and squinted outside into the grayish dawn.
I still kind of wish I had been able to just keep sleeping.
I'm still pretty mad.