01.png

Dark nap of the soul 

 

I just woke up from the worst dream ever. I didn’t sleep well last night and began watching news footage about the Boulder mass shooting at around 4am. 

 

George and I fought in the morning over something stupid on our walk. Something very stupid. 

 

I wanted some assurances that he would house train a new kitten while I’m away for three months in the middle of the year. Perhaps a form of early separation anxiety. 

 

I tried to nap in the morning after the walk while George went to a new therapist for the first time, but couldn’t. George sent a coded message to me via Insta, and made a nice lunch … we made up.

 

It’s hot. I am/was reading an art book and dozed off to sleep. I haven’t been sleeping so well since I curtailed my weed intake. 

 

We arrive to NYC on an overnight flight. We need to change trains, but I’m not sure if we’ve already arrived at an interim station by train or metro (or AirTrain). George boards, and I’m still coming down the steps or maybe we boarded together and I stepped off to confirm it was the right train. Regardless I am coming down the steps as the doors shut. Usually I would make this short distance once the door-closing chime sounds. But I don’t know yet that I’m at the outset of a nightmare in which time and distance blur. 

 

George will wait at the next station. Anyone would do this, right? We had not discussed a destination. I’m the New Yorker afterall, so I know where I’m going. I hoped he wouldn’t worry about me. When our ordeal began it was still dark out but by the time I realized I was waiting on the wrong platform (again) it was daylight … and the station was different. I realized I needed to go further underground on an escalator to be back at the platform from which George boarded, which I didn’t remember leaving. 

 

But then all the sudden it was an outdoor station, like the one at 4th Street / 9th Avenue in Brooklyn where plainclothes police approached me. I can’t quite make out their faces: a white woman and black woman, one of which has a rifle--barrel first--sticking out of her large handbag. But the bearded man took lead. I was traveling with a blue backpack that I sometimes use. It was on the wooden bench beside me and he already had it open when he addressed me and showed me his handwritten hard-plastic identification. The women were in trenchcoats, but weren’t there the whole time. 

 

It reminded me of the time I was mugged on Paulista at the Pride parade. There were three of them shaking me down, yet the mob was pulsing in a way that I couldn’t tell who they were, only that it would take three to encircle me as they had. 

 

His face has completely faded from memory at this point (still less than an hour since the scam occurred) or perhaps never fully materialized. 

 

What are you arresting me for? 

 

He pulled a yellow glow stick out of my bag and treated it like contraband. This made me think I was still at the airport, and he had been in some backroom when my bag passed through an X-ray … but why not approach me sooner?

 

The women officers had erected a white backdrop parallel to the edge of the platform, and it seemed like he would rush my headshot so that I could catch the incoming train. 

 

I was telling him about missing the previous train and how nervous George must be waiting at the next station for me, and that we’d just arrived from Brasil. This seemed to add weight to my charges. I wasn’t going to make the train in the station. And throughout the dawn-to-daylight ordeal, I’d not found my phone to text George to wait for me. He was surely worried by now. I was crying at this point. 

 

The bipolar medication makes (or lets) me cry easily these days. 

 

I tend to believe authority figures. To mind orders. Or maybe I only pretend to at first. But for sure I have this repeat ‘racket’ whereby I try to explain my truth to someone--like the lady at the Italian shoppe in Bixiga who always tries to up-sale me; just this past Sunday I came home with a small container of potato salad (brasilian ‘mayonnaise’) that I didn’t want, which she seemed to be giving me to taste, but charged me for in the end--and give the appearance of complying with authority that I already plan to undo or rebel against. 

 

I don’t like mayonnaise.

 

No, you’ll like this one. 

 

Hey, show me your badges again. 

 

I don’t believe you are who you say you are! Nor that a glow stick is contraband!!

 

Did he plant the glow stick when he opened my pack?

 

I must get on that train.

 

I woke up scared, and looked for George in the house. 

 

He is on work Zoom, but gets up to hug me. 

 

It’s hot and I’m still waking up. I remember to take out the trash, but I’m still discombobulated and bang my ankle hard on the metal gate as it opens … leaving my ankle blue-purple with two little gashes that look like a snakebite

 

###

 

* Naquib Mahfouz--one of my favorite literary figures--wrote down his dreams.