Choose Your Own Adventure

I had an incredibly vivid, intense, long dream, last night. When I have a dream that’s really interesting, scary or semingly fraught with meaning, I like to journal them before I forget. This one was a whole new ‘sort’ than I’ve ever had before, lasted most of the night, and was vivid enough that I can remember smells and other weirdly subtle nuances. 

I was an athletic blonde woman in my mid-thirties, named Sue, whose primary job was managing a family business that had developed in the last generation, based on a very valuable mine underneath the property. Both my parents were alive and I had a sister about 10 years younger who helped me run the business. I was in a relatively stable marriage with a couple of very young children.

One day, I had ridden my motorcycle (my primary errand-running vehicle in the summer time) in to town to do some paperwork, when I got a phone call from my husband that my truck was in the way of the workmen trying to load out of the mine elevator, and he didn’t have any keys to move it. I was riding through town on my way back home to move the truck, when around a corner came these four people riding a bright yellow Goldwing. Two riding the correct way, and one on each side, hanging on to the handle bars and the back armrests to balance each other. They had to be high on something, because they were all laughing like maniacs and swerving, and piled on a motorcycle like Japanese commuters on a subway. The guy ‘driving’ caught sight of me, and decided (I guess) that we were playing chicken. He accelerated dramatically, and slammed head-on in to my motorcycle. I was riding a little white dirt bike, but I was wearing a helmet. No one else was. There was a sort of hazy memory of being in the hospital, of surviving relatively uninjured, and of learning that three of the four people on the other motorcycle were killed instantly, while the fourth died of her injuries in the ICU a day or so later.

I don’t know the timeline – long enough later for everything to have changed – I was finally acquitted. Despite the fact that the accident was in no way my fault, I had been imprisoned on some sort of vehicular manslaughter or homicide charges and had been marinating behind bars while the legal process limped along. When I entered the dream again, I was sitting on a metal chair in a sparse office, listening to someone completely disinterestedly telling me that I was free to go. My face was lined and careworn, aged by guilt and difficult living, my hair was long and stringy, and there was a tiny green tear tattooed beneath the corner of my right eye. My fault or not, I had internalized the deaths of those four people, and guilty or innocent, had been caged like a criminal for long enough that nothing would ever be the same… How I dealt with it was where the dream really got weird. It went, in sequence, in a number of very different directions.

The first time I signed my name on the paper that officiated my release, I signed it, “Sue”. Sue had a very supportive sister who drove her home from the prison office, who introduced her to a kindergarten-age niece named Adeline whom she had never met and who was very resentful to be dragged along to drive some stranger from one place to another. She went home to a husband who had visibly aged but was glad to see her and expected her to jump back in exactly where she had left off. She had a business and family that had moved on without her, children who were practically grown up and didn’t know, trust or respect this mom who had been absent for most of their lives. She was completely lost, at sea, and felt completely incapable of the task of assimilating back in to her old life. She started to sink in to a sucking hole of depression that rekindled her guilt over the deaths she still saw as her fault, and began actively seeking a way to end herself.

“Susan” signed that paper and stepped out of the prison with the determination that she had survived prison, she could survive mothering two confused and angry children and acclimating herself to her family’s new reality. Instead of dwelling on her inadequacies as she struggled to find her place among people who had changed without her, she chose to be graceful about their resentment and expectations, and roll with the punches. For some reason, “Susan” and “Sue” were aware of each other in the same reality. Sitting outside a convenience store in the rain one night, waiting for their husband in the store, Susan sat in the backseat and talked to Sue in the passenger seat, and told her. “You may be the Sue who is trapped in the past, but I choose to be Susan and move on.”

“Bleach” had short, spiked, thematically bleach-blonde hair and was muscled, sinewy, and cannier than a snake. She signed that paper with a list of agendas that had nothing to do with the family she had left and everything to do with the family she had gained behind bars. She had complex alliances, promises, obligations and oaths that she had fought for and through, and a laundry list of agendas that were designed to make sure that Bleach came first, and Bleach stayed on top. There was no one there to meet Bleach when she walked out the door. She wore her ill-fitting release clothes, smoked a cigarette and scowled at the world while she waited at the bus stop. She saw Sue and her sister drive by in their fancy crossover and thought about shallow, privileged yuppies. She had been one of those yuppies, once. Had a husband she’d shaken off with a flurry of signatures on some garbage that her very expensive lawyer assured her was airtight and left her free. Some kids in there, too, but that was another life. Today, her goal was the second-floor office of a house she hadn’t seen for a lifetime and was sure she wouldn’t be welcome in. She took a bus to the secondhand store in the city, got herself the things she’d need to blend in, and then settled in to a certain hotel room in a certain place, to make contacts and start building her plan. She had favors to cache and plans to make. She stepped in to a mall one day and quickly ducked her head as she nearly ran in to Susan, who was walking through the doors and taking on her cell phone, not really watching her path. She mustn’t see herself! Eventually, Bleach found herself in the upstairs office of a house she had watched her parents plan and build, staring at a safe whose location she had suggested. The combination to that safe was etched in her memory and hadn’t changed in the intervening years. With no lack of awareness of the parallel, she keyed in her own birth date, and stared with satisfaction that the contents that would very shortly, very fittingly be hers. As she was sorting the important papers from the valuable ones, a little girl with messy blonde curls poked her head around the door. The girl and her mother locked eyes and froze in place for a moment that lasted for eternity. Then, Bleach calmly turned her gaze back to her real priority, finished her collecting and closed the safe. She stepped around the girl, who was still standing transfixed, and closed the door as she walked away from her old life forever.

“Suzi” signed her name and stepped out the door to be picked up by her sister and her niece, whom she was shocked and pleased to meet. She went directly home, where she found a thoroughly shattered marriage and a husband who was seeking divorce. Her sister had been having trouble managing the business without her, and was desperate for help as she tried to care for their ailing parents and her own growing family as well. Suzi struggled with rebuilding relationships with her estranged children, and could barely convince her husband to speak to her. He was almost completely absent, not bothering to hide the fact that he was and had been building a relationship with someone else while she waited behind bars. Interestingly, one day when Suzi stepped in to the grocery store, she came in immediately behind Sue, and watched her drag through getting a cart, remembering her list, corralling her two rebellious and disobedient children, all with a shadow of absolute futility about her actions. Suzi knew that Sue was her, and she knew she mustn’t ever let Sue see her, but she decided that their family needed something to pull it back together, to bring them all back to the fold and encourage them to make their house a home, again. That solution was obvious: a baby.

“Zero” signed the paper. She wasn’t really sure what it meant, she didn’t care. She took her belongings to the bus and waited dazedly. She was vaguely aware that there was family who might give her a ride, but she was too ashamed to call, to ask, to ever speak to any of them again. She was a hollow shell, wrung dry of everything by the never-ending cycle of hearings, depositions, staring at four walls, the stress of prison politics, the gnawing guilt that ate her every day over the deaths she had dealt. She never really found the courage or the energy to end herself, but she did manage to scrape together the money for whatever she could find to take her away, and eventually she ended up in a psychiatric ward – another place of four plain walls and locked doors where medication and boredom blanked her life in to the nothing it deserved to be. …


There were a few others, but those were the standout “personalities”. Such a desperately bizarre, incredibly vivid dream, completely random! I’m very interested in your interpretation. O.O

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