Tuesday, March 23rd, 2010

I went swimming last night in a great big, shallow pool, the kind you sometimes find in campgrounds filled with kids. In fact, it was filled with kids, hundreds of them, and I kept bumping into them as I swam under the surface of the water from one side of the pool to the other. It was filled with adults, too, but they were all sitting in folding lawn chairs and it was relatively easy to avoid their non-moving legs.

I swam around for what seemed like forever until somebody announced that we would all have to get out of the pool because it was getting dangerously dirty. I looked down at the water I was standing in and, instead of the crystal-clear bluish water I’d been looking through all afternoon, I saw what appeared to be grayish, lumpy porridge. Everyone else saw it, too, because they all got out of the pool without the usual “Awwwww” and headed for the showers to get good and cleaned off.

Whoever ran the pool apparently wanted to make up for kicking us out because they sprung for treats at the ice cream stand, handing each one of us a little wad of cash as we stepped out the door. I went straight over to the stand, got in line, picked out an Eskimo Pie and found a place to sit while I ate it up.

I looked around as I was eating and said hi to all the people I recognized. The place was full of people I knew. In fact, literally every person in the place was somebody I’d met at some point in my life. It occurred to me I might be dead, although I didn’t feel dead, didn’t remember dying and nobody appeared to be particularly spectral or offered me any helpful advice on how to get along in the afterlife. We were all just eating our ice cream and saying, Hi, how you doing?

Then I left the ice cream shop and went home. For once it really was home, not some strange-looking building I understood to be home. Everything was familiar and in exactly the place it should have been except (there had to be an “except”) that Darling B was lying in the middle of the living room floor, bundled up in one of those mummy sleeping bags that only your face sticks out of.

She was very, very small, no bigger than a kitten, and when I knelt beside her she asked me to pull on the cord that closed up the face hole. So I did. As the hole got smaller, oats welled up around her face, covering it almost completely, which scared the crap out of me. I quickly undid the cord and worked the opening of the sleeping bag until it was large enough to brush the oats away from her face.

The cord had knots in it, making it very hard to undo, so it took what felt like a million years to get the bag open and when I finally did I was so exhausted that I barely had the strength to hold her hand as I sat by the side of her bed to watch her so she didn’t get buried in oats again.

And that’s when I woke up.

oats | 5:55 am CDT
Category: daily drivel | Tags:
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