There it was again, the white house on Horace Road, the house I used to visit nearly everyday as a girl. The house in the dream was similar to the actual house with concrete steps leading to the front door, a mirror over the piano in the living room, but this house had a multitude of hidden doors. I went inside with a heavy heart; I was looking for those lost to me, but once again, they weren't home.
Aside from my visiting the white house in my
dreams, I had gone back there a few years ago after my childhood friend, N, had
contacted me through facebook. We went to see N's parents; her father was
alive back then. My own father had been gone some eight years; this seemed
ironic because my father was nearly 2 decades younger than hers. I
thought the visit would bring closure for me and I would no longer dream about
the house, execute fruitless searches, because I had found my friend and her
parents, the people who were a prominent part of my childhood. But that
wasn't the case.
I go about my business in my conscious
life. I take care of my twin babies, keep the house clean, take the dog
for a walk, teach my classes. I do one task then another then
another. Each task is a rung on the ladder that extends from morning to
night. But while I'm climbing the ladder during the day, I'm also living
somewhere else- in the amorphous, melancholic world of my subconscious where I
am still grieving. The part of me that dwells there- perhaps it is the
girl, or maybe the soul- is conveniently compartmentalized. My meager attempts
at meditation and prayer do not satisfy her.
Perhaps this is why she is so prominent in my dreams.
In this last dream regarding the white house,
a former student attempted to break in. His name is Bobby D. I had
his sister as a senior back when I taught high school; she was respectful and
diligent as Bobby was when I had him as a freshman. By junior year, Bobby
started having behavioral problems; it was this Bobby who was at the door
trying to get in.
Just as Bobby D was sneaking in, I slammed
the door on his knee and fingers. I succeeded in bolting it, but there
were others that needed locking. At one point, the hidden doors
multiplied infinitely in both directions, like an image does when you place it
between two mirrors. Bobby was out there, looming, readying himself to
break in and take things. On a shelf in the garage, there were remotes,
about ten of them, each with ducktape over the buttons; I freaked when I saw
all of the overhead doors needing to be locked. Then my father appeared.
Together we worked at closing all of the overhead doors and locking them to
keep Bobby D out.
Once, in meditation, and guided by a teacher,
the presence of my father was potent; it was as if he was sitting in my
lap. Tears burst through the lashes of my closed eyes. It had been
awhile since I thought of him; I had been busy. And yet, I could feel his
eagerness to come through, as if he had been waiting for a while behind some
I have learned this: the friend I thought was
lost to me, still exists. She lives her life much as I do, taking care of
children, maintaining a house, keeping a job. I have also learned that my
father still exists, albeit subtly. It is uncanny sometimes, the way he
flashes across a face, be it my sister's or my son's or my brother's. There
he is, I say to myself, as I observe my son and the way he watches cartoons
with his lips in a semi-smile, his eyes alighted and depicting casual
amusement, or as I observe my sister and the crinkle in her brow that shows up
when she is perplexed, or the way my brother regards his car, meticulously, as
my father did his. And then, of course, there are the dreams where he
shows up, suddenly and I am once again, whole.
At the end of this particular dream, after
the doors were locked and my father had gone, I waited inside to tell my friend
that her father had died. In truth, I was eager to tell her, not to make
her sad, but to have a confidant. Because in that amorphous, melancholic
world of the subconscious where the girl resides and grief resides, it's best
to not be alone.