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The Armed Traveler


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18 hours of dreaming.

I was at Reese Witherspoon’s house.  She was having a swim party, and somehow I was both a teenager and an adult at the same time.

The party lasted for two days.

The first day was wholesome and fun, with the adults basically between the round “nerd” pool (it was mostly full of guys), and the larger, square “cool” pool (mostly full of girls).  I was in the “cool” pool, doing laps, and realized I could do more than half a lap without feeling awful, so I just…swam.  I kept swimming, aware that the sun was baking my shoulders, and not caring a damned bit.

At some point I sat in the shallow end and pulled the straps from my shoulders at Reese’s insistence, because how else would I wear anything strapless?  I wanted to tan evenly, didn’t I?  She was like a big sister and a mom at the same time, and I remember thinking that we should be able to hang out, but before I could ask her if she wanted to grab coffee, she was off fussing over another person.  She was one of those hosts who couldn’t leave anyone alone…everyone had to be having a good time, or she wasn’t happy.

I remember seeing several people I know from both the gunnie and the gaming world, but one person in particular stands out (we’ll call him Bob) – he was put off by my being in the cool pool, and told me nothing good would come of it – I should join him in the other pool with the “real” people.  This person isn’t one to proselytize in real life, so I ignored it as a joke.

I don’t remember much else happening…just things being gorgeous and fun, and occasionally peeking into the nerd pool, because the two were connected, and they were messing with some device that kept drawing the water out of our pool as a joke, making theirs overflow, before they’d turn off whatever it was and return both pools to normal height.  Bob was there, but wasn’t paying attention.  He was drinking rum and coke and looking kind of miserable, and that made me want to leave.

I went into the bathroom (which was full of giggling girls at the mirror, putting on makeup, talking about boys, and taking pills which did weird things to their faces and bodies) at nightfall, and asked one girl whose appearance didn’t change what pill she’d just taken.  She said, “I don’t know, but it’s the one that changes the inside.”

This made perfect sense to me, given that the other girls were sporting plastic-surgery-worthy changes mere minutes after taking their pills, and this girl looked the same as she had when she’d just walked into the party.

Right across the hall from the bathroom, where there had been a giant closet of swimsuits for those who’d forgotten theirs (e.g. me, otherwise it wouldn’t exist in my dream, would it?), there was a room full of people resembling the “Burnout Table” in the movie Mean Girls.  They were very organized, and they had boxes upon boxes of gun parts in one half of the room (these never made another appearance, BTW), and the other half was like a pharmacy, if it was made of cardboard boxes.  There were illustrations of how to use the products, and instructions, and most required drinking quite a lot of water to force down large object, such as whole ultra-sour gumballs to make your eyelashes glow for a short period of time if you were doing a modeling gig.

I realized as I looked around that the “pills” these girls were taking were these ingredients, that the instructions were not for me to see, but for the people in the room, who were condensing and dehydrating them into smaller pills that were more easily taken.

I asked for “the pill that changes the inside.”  I was handed something that looks quite a bit like my potassium tablet (large and white and round), and they told me the first one was on the house, and, looking at my shoulders, said I’d notice the effects very quickly.  They smiled and shooed me out after making sure I took the pill.

I went to the bathroom to find the girl who’d told me about the pill, and the bathroom was empty.  There were products, clothes, etc., strewn on the floor and counter.  I realized I had to pee, but the auto-flush wasn’t working properly (it kept spraying water on me), so I gave up and left that area.

Before I left the bathroom, I took a look in the mirror.  My eyes were black, because my pupils were so dilated, and I felt…odd.  It felt like I was on MDMA (don’t lecture, I tried it once) – paranoid, but cheerful and talkative.  I made a mental note to drink more water and less champagne.

I looked in my purse (which I apparently had on me all the time – it was plastic and water-resistant, but not water-proof, so I didn’t keep anything in it that would be an issue if it got wet), and next to the other things were two pills…somehow they’d been put in there by someone, and they’d gotten wet.  One was just soggy, and I thought it was just a regular pill…it dissolved into nothing when I touched it.  The other resembled one of those plastic prize eggs, and you could see things crammed into it…and I realized that this was one of those beauty pills, re-hydrated, in its “natural” form.  There were tiny springs from pens, the tines of a fork, a few beads, and different kinds of sour candy.  I couldn’t remember which one it was, but I think it was for making your lips plump, and thought that maybe someone had mistaken my purse for theirs, because my lips don’t need plumping, and there’d be no reason for me to have that pill.

I realized that the other girls had probably left because of the pills (they’d gotten injured, somehow, or sick…something bad had happened), and got scared, until I realized that the second pill had been shaped just like the one I’d taken – large, round, white, and flat.  I figured it was, in fact, just a potassium tablet, and while the weird MDMA feeling didn’t go away, I felt better about side effects (I figured they wouldn’t tear me open or anything, basically).

My skin had begun to peel, already, from the awful sunburn the day before.

Looking at it, I decided I should sit in the shade, and grabbed Bob from the nerd pool (the guys were all still there, but the adults had fanned out and were now overtaking the cool pool, since the girls were gone), because I knew he wouldn’t mind talking with me about games and stuff instead of dealing with what had turned into a bunch of little kids with pool noodles and inflatable wings.

I scratched my right shoulder, looked down, and said, “Huh.”, because I wasn’t sure if what I was seeing was real.  I turned my shoulder to Bob, and his jaw dropped.

“WHAT DID YOU DO?!?”

“I took the pill that changes the inside.  I’m…the night sky.”

…and I was.  The skin underneath the dead skin I’d just peeled…wasn’t.  It was solid, but it wasn’t really there – it was like an illusion that I could feel.  But it was like an astronomer’s tattoo wet-dream – black sky, strewn with stars and bands of light from the movement of stellar objects, and it WAS moving…inside, I was a living universe.

Bob told me to go inside and demand to know what was in the pills; he had to stay outside and watch the kids in the smaller pool.  I went inside, and the former pharmaceutical room was empty, except for a bunch of people half-clothed on a bed, laying in a pile, sleeping.  Everything else was gone.  It reminded me of how crack-houses are depicted in commercials, except everyone looked healthy and clean – just half-naked and asleep.

I searched the house, and it was like being in an unfamiliar mall – you keep seeing things that make you think you’re close to where you started, but then you realize it was just a competing chain store, and you’ve still got a ways to go to find your car in the parking lot.  All the rooms blended together, like a hotel.

My shoulders still itched and as I scratched, more and more of me became sky.  The skin on the rest of my body began to peel, and I remembered my eczema1, cringing as it began to itch more and more.

I found myself in the bathroom, again, but I couldn’t sit on the toilet (the sensor had been fixed, or turned off), because I no longer possessed a body to sit with, even though I could see and feel myself…I was sky.

I was the universe, but in the mirror, you could only see it in my eyes, which were still black, but now had flickers of light and, if you stood very close, arms of galaxies around the edges.  I realized what the pill was for – seduction/match-making.  The hitch was that you or people who had no romantic interest in you could see you as the universe, effectively rendering you invisible until you looked in a mirror, or someone who was attracted to you saw you:  they saw your body and face as they were, but when they looked in your eyes, THAT is when they saw the universe that you’d become, and they’d be drawn in.

I ceased to exist as anything but the night sky to so many people that I became nearly invisible, and when someone recognized me and said hi, I was scared and ran away, because I didn’t want them to fall in love with nothing.

I found a corner to hide in the shadows, and people would occasionally stop to look and compliment Reese on whomever painted her house, because they’d done such a good job with this spot that looked like the sky…they inquired if she’d have the rest of the house done, and she said she was working on it.  I felt like ice.

Bob found me and recognized me, though he still saw me as the sky, and tried to help me…I don’t know what his plan was, but he figured we could do SOMEthing…he grabbed my hand as soon as he figured out which galaxy it was, and tried to guide me through an increasing crowd of people, and more and more of them saw me as human, and began to follow us, telling me to stop and just look at them, please.  I closed my eyes and let Bob lead me, but I was getting tired, and my back was hurting.  Even the insides of my eyelids were filled with stars.  I was sick of it, but didn’t know what to do, and I felt like we’d been walking forever.

 

When I woke up (both times…see below), some part of me was itching and I had to pee.  I was curved in an unnatural position (explaining the back pain), and I was drenched in sweat.

_____

I had other dreams interspersed, but that was the most cohesive one, as it lasted from one 9-hour sleeping session, across 4 hours of trying to get back to sleep, and into another 9-hour sleeping session (22 of the past 24 hours has been spent either asleep or laying in bed exhausted and trying to sleep – now I’m trying to stay awake, to even things out, but it’s really difficult, hence why I decided to transcribe what is a typical dream for me, these days).

_____________________________________________________________________

1.  I have patches of eczema from my knees to my hips, with a large patch on my lower abdomen.  I don’t know why, but my doctor’s going with “latent food allergy” and probably stress.  They’re small, and they don’t actually itch a lot, but they’re weird-looking and they gross me out.

2 comments to 18 hours of dreaming.

  • “…when someone recognized me and said hi, I was scared and ran away, because I didn’t want them to fall in love with nothing.”

    My amateur dream analysis: Others than me can riff on the beat-you-over-the-head-with-a-stick obvious implication that the pills you’re taking are changing you into an empty shell. I prefer to note the much more casual implication that you are so lovable that folks fall in love with you at “Hi!” That seems like an insight your conscious mind might not have picked up on yet.

    Now, the corollary that love, or at least, loving *you,* is a danger from which you must protect people, seems both thoughtful of you and yet selfishly cruel at the same time. It also assumes that love is something from which folks should be protected, with which I’d wholeheartedly disagree.

    Whatever you ate last night, I’d suggest bacon tonight instead. Nobody has bad dreams from bacon.

    • Oh, I’m well-aware of the implications of my dream…heh. My pills are killing who I am, but I have to take them because Lyme is killing me. People tell me I don’t look sick – I look “the same” – the only thing that’s changed is “the inside.”

      Bob, I think (and I won’t reveal who he is, but I’ve never met him in person), appears in this dream because he’s the perfect example of the generic internet friend (not a derogatory term at all…it just means that many of them fill the same space as far as depth of interaction is concerned) that makes up the majority of my circle, these days, period. Thus, a generic and impartial friend who doesn’t know me fully is the one to try to “save” me in the dream…just as all of these other people (some I know well, some I don’t know at all, others I can’t even put a label on at all) are trying to save me right now.

      And part of it IS because people do have a tendency to latch onto me easily – and I don’t mean that in a negative way, either. I like it, actually, but lately it’s wearing on me. I’m too tired to deal with myself, let alone others, and yet I’m having to, by necessity of several situations, and right now I’d rather just be left alone, but I CAN’T, for reasons both practical and emotional.

      I don’t feel that I’m not deserving of love. I feel like it’s too much of a chore for both parties at this time, and I don’t like not being able to return what’s given to me. If someone loves me, I want to be able to show them love back. I don’t have the energy for that, right now, because I’m too busy trying to keep myself alive (and yes, you can take that to the extremes – I’m talking to my doctors about it).

      …also, I did have bacon. :-/