|The spread from my mom's birthday party in 2012. I think there's potato salad in one of those bowls.|
A dream: Dan's daughter came to visit. I was living in a house on a hill, not unlike the first house I ever owned in the Sliver Lake neighborhood of Los Angeles. The slope down to the sidewalk was so steep that when people walked by you could only see the tops of their heads. "Hey you're in town!" a friend of Dusty's said to her as he looked up and caught a glimpse of her through the open window. We cranked the window fully open and sat on the window seat as she introduced us, describing me as the woman who tried to keep her father alive. Tried and failed, I thought.
Later more friends came over. Friends of Dusty's, friends of Dan's. People I knew and people I didn't. They talked about a house they were buying together. You have to come see it, someone said.
But first there were guests to feed. Dusty went out to buy potatoes so we could make potato salad. I already had two bags of potatoes, but that was okay. We'd make a lot of potato salad. We piled the potatoes into a pot and put it on the stove on low and went out to look at the house. Dusty explained that when Dan was alive I wanted to buy him a house so he could stop working. (In real life, back in 2010 or so, I thought about buying a loft downtown near little Tokyo and figured he could live there if he wanted.) The house that Dusty and her friends were buying was not a house exactly. It was a former event venue. The bathrooms were huge with numerous stalls. The women's bathroom was painted fuchsia and silver. "Great for parties," someone said. Next we squeezed into a room piled high with furniture. "This could be our dining room table," someone said as we edged around a dark carved table big enough for a dozen or more. On top of it were two ornately carved boxes with dragons rising up from their lids. "This is where we'll keep the reefer," I said. (Really, I said that in the dream. Hahahaha.)
Back at my house, we checked on the potatoes and took them off the stove to cool. People and more people. Drinks in our hands. And there he was--Dan, sitting next to me. No one but me seemed to notice him. "You're chewing gum," he said. Your brothers must be visiting. You always chew gum when your brothers visit. (God, dreams are weird.) I reminded him that my brothers lived far away and almost never visited.
"But they did visit recently," I said. "When our mother died." Dan's mouth opened into a silent O.
"What!?" he said. "Oh dear you, come here so I can hold you." He wrapped his arms around me, and I tried to figure out how all of this worked. Was I supposed to let a dead loved know when another loved one joined their ranks? And how was I supposed to do that exactly? How did moving from the land of the living to the land of the dead work? Who could I ask? Meanwhile Dan held me, and the sensation of his black polar fleece jacket was so familiar that it made me sad, remembering when he wore it when he was alive. And that was a mystery too. How did he get his jacket back? It was given to me after he died and I wore it under my coat last winter in Minneapolis. I lost it on a bus because I got too hot hurrying to the bus stop and tied it around my waist beneath my wool coat. A block or so after I got off the bus I noticed it was gone. I went back to look for it but never found it. I am puzzling through all of this reality about the lost jacket in the dream, and I can't figure that out either. There are all these things I don't know--- the mysterious world of the dead and how they are notified when others die. How they get their lost clothes back. How they come back to visit. I can't figure any of it out.
"I wish you'd come back more often," I said. "Come back to visit because I miss you." My face was wet with tears. (And indeed it was when I awoke.)