Last night's dream:
The cake was the most important thing. I had to get the cake for my 16-year-old daughter's birthday. Some other mom had ordered it for us, insisting there had to be a fancy cake and a party when, really, our lives were unraveling. This other mom had planned everything--picked a date and a time and sent out invitations. My daughters and I were between houses, halfway moved, not sure where to sleep and what belongings were where. A party seemed impossible.
The cake was from a special bakery in an L.A. neighborhood I'd never been to. Some inner city suburb, or it's own separate town within the city. It had an interesting name I've been trying all morning to remember. Hidalgo. Trivalgo. Something pleasant and slightly exotic. I looked it up on the map on my phone. Oh. There. It wasn't far. We drove over a huge bridge, a friend and I, to get there. There was a taxi stand and an information kiosk at the bridge. I didn't quite remember the name of the bakery, even though the other mother had told me twice. Dark something. Or something Black. I looked up bakeries on my iPhone. Dark Orpheus was the name of one of the bakeries, so I asked the information guy where it was. Walk through the canyon, the guy said. It's so beautiful. So we left my car parked near the bridge and set out.
The canyon was deep and lined with fallen leaves. The walls of the canyon were pocked with small caves. There was bear scat on the trail. By now, my younger daughter (not the birthday girl) had joined my friend and me, and so I had to worry, not just for my friend and me, but for my daughter too. I knew a bear would find us. At the very end of the the canyon, we had to scale a rock wall to get out. The hand and foot holds were easy, but we had to climb past a deep cave. The bear came roaring out of the cave just as I was near the top of the rocks. My friend covered himself in leaves and the bear tore past him. Run, I yelled. Shouldn't I play dead? he asked. Run, I yelled again, and he got to his feet, the leaves sticking to him so that he looked like a person made of leaves. My daughter was far behind. I turned and could see her blond ponytail bobbing as she took a steeper part of the canyon wall at a run, charging to the top like a super-hero. The bear didn't chase us.
There was something somber about the bakery. The wait staff wore black t-shirts and black pants and black bow ties. I couldn't remember the name of the mother who ordered the cake, so I asked if they had a birthday cake with my daughter's name on it. They did. It was tall with a hard shell of dark chocolate icing. It was elegantly decorated, her name written in a swirling script. But we didn't want to carry the cake all the way back to the car, so I went to get the car, but there was some kind of problem, and now it was getting late. The bakery might be closed when we got back, so I took a taxi and had the taxi driver call them and plead, all the while I was getting texts from my friend to hurry. They wouldn't give the cake to anyone but me.
I made it. But no one had money for the taxi back, so we walked, marveling at the city. There were many ornate tall buildings and terrazzo sidewalks. We cut through the lobby of a classic cinema, balancing the cake in its box while we admired the gold mortar between the dark granite blocks of the smooth and sparkling walls. We have to come back here, we said.
But now had to get to the party. But where was the party? New house? Old house? Would my daughter's father come? He'd said he would, but we knew maybe he wouldn't. Should some of us go to one house and the rest to the other house in case some guests showed up at the wrong place?
Somehow the party happened. People seemed to have a nice time. The house looked good. There were patters of food shining in the candlelight. My ex-husband was there. He and I spoke. Some mystery was revealed, but this morning I have no idea what it was. And I never got a piece of that cake.
I'm always grateful for an elaborate dream. And even though I'm often scared when I dream of bears, this bear incident resolved itself rather easily, even though I know that in real life a person can't outrun a bear.
I Googled the name of the bakery. You never know. There's a restaurant called Orpheus New Orleans Cuisine. It's in New Zealand.
Interesting that there is still some processing of the divorce and mothering of teen-agers. But even that felt like a welcome respite from the current political reality.
What have you been dreaming about?