Dream of:27 November 1996 "Hurrying To Church"
I had arrived at my new home in a rectangular, two-story, frame building with white clapboards. My new apartment was on the second floor, and as I walked up the rickety wooden steps at the back of the building, I could see the surrounding area: a poor urban area, almost a ghetto. Reaching the top of the stairs, I opened the door and walked in. But this wasn't my apartment which I had entered – this was the apartment of another family, a black family, which adjoined my apartment. As I walked across the plain, uninspiring rooms, I could see members of the black family enveloped in the shadows. I hurried on until I reached the door of my apartment, then walked in.
I stood on the bare wooden floors of the living room, looking around at the empty room – empty except for three people lying covered on the floor. I knew immediately that these were members of my family, for indeed I was not going to be living here alone, and I walked over to one of the reclining souls and sat down beside it. The person was my father (only about 40 years old), just awakening from a night of sleep. Only his head was visible from beneath the sleeping bag or blanket which covered him. As he looked at me, I thought how unusual it was to see him lying on the floor like that; in fact I thought I had never seen him sleep on the floor.
I asked him whether he had been comfortable, and he indicated that sleeping there hadn't been unpleasant, although not exactly comfortable either. I also had already spent one night here in the apartment, and even though it seemed as if I had slept in a bed, I told him that living here would improve once the beds had been moved in.
I talked to him about how I had arrived – through the adjoining apartment. When he mentioned that we had won the lawsuit, I recalled that the black family in the adjoining apartment had filled a lawsuit to keep us from passing through, but that we had asserted that we had an easement through their apartment, and now, according to my father, we had proven our case in court. Having won meant we would be able to traverse the neighboring apartment whenever we wanted. I, however, thought I would try to avoid using that route as much as possible. We could use another entrance on the side of the building and the side entrance didn't pass through anyone's living quarters. I would try to use that entrance.
I stood up and looked around the apartment. It was going to be cramped. Besides my father, my mother, my paternal grandmother Mabel, and a whole group of other family members (many of whom were children) were going to live up here with me. Probably fifteen of us altogether would be crammed into these few, plain, little rooms. But strange to say, I wasn't upset by the idea. Although I was used to living a solitary life in a large house, the idea of living in close quarters with a large group of family members didn't bother me. For some reason I thought we would all be able to get along and live together peacefully.
Since we still had to move in the furniture, I looked around the empty living room, wondering where we would put everything. I figured we would have four large televisions to squeeze into this little room. Of course I didn't mind having four televisions in one room and I tried to picture how we could line up the televisions along one wall. With four different sets, we could use the remote controls to have several channels on at the same time. If we had enough room for everything, viewing different channels at the same time could prove interesting.
People began to stir around the apartment, apparently rising from their night of sleep. I saw my mother (also young, about 40 years old). She, as well as the children who were rousing themselves, seemed happy that we were all going to be living together. I was still trying to figure out where everyone would fit, when suddenly I remembered an even further complication: my dog. In fact, my dog should have been here in the apartment with me; I asked my mother if she knew where it was. When she indicated that it was in the back bathroom, I hurried down the short narrow hall to try to find it. On the way I thought that the apartment actually contained two bathrooms. I thought that might prove a problem with so many people, but once again, I thought we could work it out.
Reaching the back bathroom door, I opened it, and a dog sprang out. Only this dog was rather skinny and it wasn't mine. Suddenly my dog sprang out toward me. It was about the size and shape of a Doberman Pinscher, but it was the brown color of a Dachshund. The dog and I were happy to see each other, and I petted it as it jumped up and down around me.
Satisfied that my dog was all right, I walked back into the living room. I was still thinking about how our living arrangements would work out. It was now clear to me that we were in the black area of town, a crime-prone area. Since we would have so many possessions in the apartment, we would have to be careful not to leave the apartment unattended. During the week, everyone except me would be gone during the days. I would be staying home alone in the days, writing. That was what I usually did anyway, stayed home and write; but I sometimes liked to go out if I felt like it. Now I might not have that freedom. But I wasn't particularly bothered by that fact, and I didn't think I would mind staying there alone all day.
I began to remember that I was in somewhat of a hurry because I had an appointment at a nearby church at 10 a.m., and it was already ten minutes until ten. But as I walked through the kitchen, intending to leave, my father intercepted me and asked me to sit down at the kitchen table for a moment. Although in a hurry, I obliged, and sat down on the other side of the table facing him.
Without much warning, my father proceeded to give me an eye examination. He held up the fingers of one hand, and said, "Five. Four. Three. Two. One," as he moved his hand around from side to side and back and forth, all the while watching my eyes. He seemed unsatisfied with his first attempt and repeated the process. I had trouble following his hands and distinguishing his fingers – were my eyes getting worse? As he proceeded, he mumbled something about "You were alone all those years." I thought he was referring to certain years of my life when he hadn't been around, but I wasn't completely sure what he meant. When he finally finished his test he said, "We need to get you glasses." I didn't feel any resentment toward him, but I thought this was rather typical, that he was so out of touch with me that he didn't even know that I wore glasses, and that I had indeed worn glasses for a long time. I just tried to appreciate the fact that at least now he seemed to be taking some interest in me. Unfortunately I didn't have time at the moment to dally, as I needed to hurry to the church.
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