Friday, May 24, 2013

Dream of the Black Suede Shoes

C'est moi in a 1975-ish production of the "Madwoman of Chaillot" wearing the real-life black suede shoes.


I was in a car accident in a strange city. I saw it coming but couldn't avoid it. In the far left lane on a one-way street, I was slowing as I approached an intersection. In my rearview mirror I could see the bright red paramedic vehicle bearing down on me. No sirens or lights, just the faces of the paramedics talking and laughing--then crash. They took out a parked car and sideswiped a car in the next lane in addition to rear-ending my Prius. There was chaos as we all got out of our cars in the quickly fading evening light. I didn't have my phone and went into the CVS to call someone to give me a ride. I was shaking and feeling stranger by the minute. When I came out, all of the damaged vehicles had been towed, and there were notices taped to the light poles with information as to where they had been taken. 

I could walk there, I thought, but the first street I had to cross was so wide, it was difficult to make it across. Finally on the other side, my legs could barely hold me up. There was a steep hill to walk down, and my ankle rolled out from under me and my shoe came off. In the dark, the shoe disappeared, and now I was walking with one shoe. The remaining shoe with its high wedge heal made my gait uneven--that and the panic I was beginning to feel made my body pitch and roll. The street signs had turned to gibberish and I was lost. The only consoling thought was that my car had been severly damaged by the paramedics, and probably they would have to buy me a new one. I liked the idea of a brand new car because my driver's side door already had a huge dent. So maybe the accident was a stroke of luck, I told myself. If they didn't have to replace my car and just repaired it, maybe the dent could be part of the repair. But first I had to find my car and go through all the bureaucratic channels, and how could I do that? I was falling apart, heart pounding, arms failing like they were coming unhinged, my crippled stagger nearly sending me to the pavement with each step. And then there he was. The Someone. Our eyes met and held. I nearly stumbled into his arms, but he backed away, a disgusted growl rising from his throat.

Somehow I made it to somewhere. I called my friend Julie and she gave me advice, and I slept in the apartment of one of her friends. The next day, I set off again to find my car, and as I crossed a busy street full of pedestrians there the Someone was again. He was wearing a beautiful cream-colored trench coat and I grabbed the front edge of it. "Why didn't you help me?" I asked, pulling the coat, pulling him near me, pulling his face closer to mine. "Why didn't you help me? I was in an accident." He shook his head. "I should put you out of your misery right here," I said to him as traffic swerved around us. The light had changed and we were in the middle of the intersection. I was still clutching his coat, but I wasn't afraid. "Would you like me to do that?" I asked. I saw all the agony in his face then--his eyes swimming in pools of pain, his mouth twisting. His body relaxed into mine. Was he nodding? The muscles in my arms were infused with super human strength, but before I could push him into the path of a car, I woke up.

The odd part of this dream, I suppose, is not that I dreamed of  murdering the Someone. Stories like that are in the newspaper every day. To me, the remarkable part is the shoes. The shoes in the dream were involved in a real-life drama decades ago.

I was performing in a production of "The Madwoman of Chaillot," and at a cast party, I drank too much brandy. Luckily, I had carpooled to the theatre with a fellow cast member. The drive back to my apartment was torture. In the backseat with a pounding head and roiling stomach, I knew I was going to be sick. How embarassing to ask my friend to stop the car; how awful to perhaps have to vomit out the window. Barely holding on, it was a relief when my friend pulled into the apartment building driveway. I flung open the car door and threw up into the 
street. I believe my friend had to carry me to the door.

The next morning, one of my beloved black suede shoes was missing. The Someone went into the street to look for it and came back with it dangling from his hand. "Did you lose this in the gutter?" he asked. I had a terrible headache, but the deadpan delivery of his question made me laugh really hard. 

It was the same shoe that I lost in the dream.

Dreams reveal all kinds of things, I suppose. Like which pair of shoes is your favorite.

No comments: