1) It’s nighttime, somewhere; I want to say I’m at the Wal Mart on Highland Ave. — the Wal Mart I went to with my mom when I was a little boy — but maybe it’s not a Wal Mart at all. That’s just what it feels like. It could be any shopping structure; the parking lot I’m in doesn’t hold any significance other than it being the setting.
Suddenly there’s a commotion coming from around the corner. I’m here with her, but we’re not immediately together. She’s a good distance from where I’m standing now, and she’s a good distance from where I am once I arrive around the corner.
People are signaling for me, specifically. I’m not sure why… I’m not even a doctor when I’m dreaming. There’s a black man lying on his back on the ground; he’s expiring, but still here. A guy huddling over the man tells me he’s been shot, and points to another black man standing in the background. The revolver is still in his hand, almost as if he wants validation, like, “Yes, it’s me. I did it, Eric.”
I don’t recognize the gunman; I don’t recognize the man dying on the ground. Other than her I don’t know any of these fucking people, and she’s not even here with me. I feel her presence, though.
The man on the ground got shot in the stomach. The pool of blood on his white shirt is expanding; his left hand is covering the wound. On his stomach, for whatever reason, there’s a black snake, one of those mutherfuckers that I know spits venom. But I’m not afraid of it. I’m just looking at it like it’s another completely normal aspect of this situation that’s unfolding in front of me.
The man on the ground extends his right hand to me; I go to reach it… I remember I wanted to tell him everything is going to be okay — even though it isn’t — but the dream ends before I get the chance.
Then I woke up. Then I fell asleep again.
2) I’m in my aunt and uncle’s living room. It feels like a family function, but, again, it only seems so because I’m familiar with this setting. Why else would I be here right now if it wasn’t some family gathering?
She’s here, too, of course. But then she isn’t. I don’t see her leave. On the couch to my right there’s a snake… I swear it’s the same, dangerous-looking black snake the dream I just had. And, again, nothing seems odd about it being here. Oh, sure, I’m just hanging out with my relatives and this killer ass snake on the couch. And her.
My attention is half on this snake, and half on where she went. I’m worried and confused. People surround me — I assume cousins or parents or grandparents — but I don’t focus on anyone. They could be anybody for all I know. My mind is elsewhere. Where did she go?
All of a sudden, the front door opens. She prances in, leaving the front door wide open behind her. Outside I notice a gang of people — probably anywhere between 20 and 50 but I can’t be certain — and everyone is in costume like it’s Halloween or something. It’s a scene straight from A Clockwork Orange, simultaneously chilling and appropriate.
I shift my body from looking outside to at her. At this point we’re standing face-to-face, maybe the length of a skull separating us. Her hair is a few inches below her shoulders and she’s wearing an extravagant dress, but on her it doesn’t look unnatural; her eyes look as brown as they ever have, and her eye makeup is gold and black. From her hair to her clothes to her makeup, nothing is out of place. I appreciate this moment as much as I dread the perplexing situation that envelops me.
“Who are all these people?” I ask her.
“I don’t know,” she responds, like a child with no care in the world.
“So, you just invited all these people you don’t know?” I continue.
She doesn’t care how I react. I might as well be a complete stranger like all the others who await entrance from outside.
In front of her, my rage is peaking. I want to reach out and squeeze the life out of this dream, but I don’t. This distance between us is too precious.
The noise from outside is growing louder. There’s a goddamn snake slithering in peace on the couch. All I do is look into her eyes, as she does mine, trying to decipher the expression on her face. She’s enjoying this. Watching me suffer. Without saying it, she’s asking me: “What are you going to do about it?”
I don’t do anything. We just keep staring at each other.