I just now woke from a very poignant and disturbing dream that was short enough that I won’t tell it in the way that I normally recount my dreams; I’ll just describe it, and I think it’ll be better told that way.
The dream involved Twitter, of all things. I was at my computer, catching up on all of my friends’ posts and perusing a few profiles to look for changes they might have made. One friend’s home page had been deleted and replaced with a memorial page written by her father which said that she was now deceased, and that she was buried in a particular place, the address for which was published online, so I decided to pay her a posthumous visit and wish her spirit well.
The dream’s location changed, and I found myself in the funeral home, which was very elegant and lavish. I was shown down a hall that resembled an abbey, with stone walls and only natural light. I was shown into an open doorway, and the man gestured that this was the way I should proceed to her resting place. I turned and walked down the dark, narrow passageway for about fifty feet, when the passage opened out into a small, European-style open air courtyard, with the wooden casket on a stand at one side of the courtyard. It was all stunningly beautiful. Wow, I thought, they really did things up right for her.
The casket was displayed at a forty-five degree angle, and it was about ten feet off of the ground. Alongside the casket was a metal platform on wheels, with stairs, the kind they use at airports, where people could climb up and read the small embossed plaque that was visible on top of the casket. As I walked toward the stairs and had a strange two-way conversation with myself in my head. Is it weird that I came all the way out here for someone I only know from Twitter? I don’t even know her full name, or indeed her REAL name. Well, I mean, SOMEONE’S got to come visit her, so there’s that. I climbed up to the top of the platform and read the plaque, which I assumed was her name, but turned out to be the funeral director’s name. “Embalmed by George R. Wilson” [or whatever his name was] and it gave the address of the funeral home.
I wanted to find out what my friend’s real name was, so I looked around for a sign or another plaque. I couldn’t see any, so I climbed onto the actual casket itself, in order to investigate more closely. Near the upper corners of the casket I found two small metal tags, one of which read, “CATHERYN” [Hunh, she spells her name very differently in real life, I thought.] and the other I couldn’t quite make out. It was surprisingly weathered and hard to read, especially for being so new. I brushed off the dirt with my finger and tried to decipher the last name. Burton? Bunton? I decided it must be ‘Burton’, because it’s a much more common name.
With a sudden sense of horror, I felt the casket start to give way beneath me. The display stand couldn’t hold the weight of both the casket and me, so it, with me on top of it, fell from the stand to the hard stone floor. It fell in slow motion, however, so I had even more time to experience the horror. I could hear her body jostling around inside the casket, bumping up against the sides. With barely a sound, the casket landed on the floor, and I instantly got to my feet and set about making everything right.
I lifted up the casket, and as I was doing that, it tipped to the side and her cloth-wrapped body fell out onto the ground. A string of expletives ran through my petrified mind as I reached down and gingerly picked up her remains, which were surprisingly small and lightweight, like those of a mummy. My heart was racing and pounding in my chest as I placed the body back into the casket and somehow lifted the casket onto its stand. I decided I should get out of there before one of the attendants found out what had happened.
That’s the point at which I woke up, my heart still racing and pounding.
This dream was interesting for a number of reasons. I can’t help but wonder how many others have had similar dreams, about people they’ve never met yet still feel connected to, sometimes very strongly, by this ethereal online existence. For the record, I chose not to reveal the identity of the Twitter friend in question, or to reveal the dream’s location, either, but it was definitely located in a specific city that is located east of where I live. (Admittedly, that’s not giving much away, since I live on the West Coast.) Also for the record, Catheryn Burton is not the name of anyone I know or have heard of in real life, but that’s really the name that was tagged on the coffin.
And now I’m going back to sleep, perchance to dream.
EDIT: After I went back to sleep, I had a second dream, which I’ll tell in the same way. I had bought a DVD called “Television’s Greatest Moments”, which was a compilation of the first moments that different celebrities appeared on TV. I was very excited to watch it, so I took it to my friend’s wedding, and before the ceremony started, I popped it into a DVD player and sat down on the couch in front of a big-screen TV to watch it. The first chapter on the DVD was episode one of Mork and Mindy, which was the first show that introduced the world to Robin Williams. My friend the groom (who was black, by the way, and so was his wife-to-be) walked over to me just as the episode was starting and tapped me on the shoulder. “What are you doing? I want to introduce you to my fianceé.” I grabbed the remote and hit the Pause button before I stood up and walked over with my friend, who introduced me.
“Are we friends?” she asked me.
“We are now,” I said, smiling and shaking her hand.
“What were you watching?” she asked.
I told her all about the DVD, and how it was the first time any of these now-famous actors had appeared on television, and how “frickin’ awesome” it was, and blah-blah. Needless to say, she was less than impressed. I told her it was great to have met her and then turned and walked over to the sofa, which I promptly plopped down upon to resume the episode of Mork & Mindy. [Incidentally, I have the strange feeling that even though I haven’t watched that show since I was a little kid, my brain somehow managed to recreate the episode exactly the way it was. I intend to investigate this at some point.] Then the dream changed, and it was now as if I was part of the action of M&M, rather than watching it passively on TV. There was a scene set in a train station in New York City, but the station was completely devoid of graffiti. I took the opportunity to walk around and explore, since it this was a sort of time capsule of what NYC was like back in the 1970’s. I walked up and down the street, marveling at just how clean everything was.
That’s when I woke up for the last time.