Susan's Blog

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Who *are* you?

I had a dream last night that was one weird thing after another.  Inexplicable images next to each other.  First there were cars pulled over to the side of the rode.  Then there was this huge colorful Arabian-style octagonal Doumbek-like building that shot up through the ground.  Out of it came a gigantic cobra, several stories high.  People were running out of the building and were tiny in comparison, but no one was actually afraid.  After a bit, I realized the cobra was kind of like Plasti-goop — people my age will remember the ThingMaker by Mattel, which was a tiny stovetop for kids.  You plugged it in and it got bright orange with actual heat and you filled a metal mold with Plasti-goop and cooked it on the stovetop.  You mushed it with your fingertip to test when it was done.  Sometimes you got burned.  You took these tongs that fit into the metal mold and clipped on the back, and plunged the whole mess into a plastic tray of cold water.  Once it was cooled, you pried a rubbery monster out of it.  This gigantic cobra in my dream was one of these.

Anyway, after I saw that the cobra was kind of not that scary, I was in my parents’ playroom by the garage door — that’s the door everyone realizes is actually the door you use for their house, not the fancy double doors in the front.  In through the garage door comes this young black smooth-skinned teenager, and I felt a burst of love, but I didn’t know if he was a guy or a girl.  I just knew she was my child, so I said, “Look!  It’s my girl, home from college!”

He looked at me, realizing I did not know him at all, and smiled sympathetically. “Who am I, now, Mom?”

Embarrassed, I had to then act like I’d made a silly mistake, but the fact was, I didn’t know him at all, even though I loved him.

This dream took place sometime after 2a.m. Max had come home at 1:30a.m., for the first home visit from college.  His stupid bus was so late that he got home 4 hours later than he was supposed to.  But Ned and I sat with him, dead tired, and looked and listened.  This cool dude was telling us about an incredible acting class, a scriptwriting class, a sound production class, and a hapless English 101 class.  It was trippy hearing him talk about the things he was learning, the stuff Ned and I did not know about — Stanislavski school of acting, Misner, Studio — the equipment he is responsible for in the sound class, the convoluted assignments in his English class (same title as my class, “The Essay,” but taught, in my opinion, bass-ackwardly.)

He loves his dorm.  He said that theirs is the best floor in the dorm building, and that there is now a song about a roommate who got sick drunk the first week of school.  He said that he’s a year older than everyone and it’s kinda weird, but cool (he took a gap year).  Everyone’s friends.  He spends his food money on bagels, bagels, bagels.  His 4 roommates — who are from all over the world — didn’t know you could freeze them for later.

So handsome, tall, and soft-spoken, Max stood there in our kitchen talking as if he’d never left but for me it was like a huge explosion in my life, like the dream structure that burst out of the ground, forbidding, gorgeous, mysterious.  Nothing to fear, exactly, except that this is a whole new person in my life, in some ways unrecognizable.  It’s funny to me, because when Max was born and I first looked down at his square newborn face, I said — with delight — “who are you?”  And I meant it literally, not spiritually.  He did not look the way I expected he would.  I guess he was supposed to look like my baby — in other words, Nat.  Instead, he looked like my mom (her nose) and somehow like a boy I’d grown up with. I laughed at his silly new face.  But the next time I looked at him, he was Max, completely brand new and familiar at the same time.

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