i had a dream last night
i had a dream last night
I had my most vivid September 11 dream last night.
I've had quite a few of these; glancing through my dream journal I see at least twenty. They usually involve the same things - planes falling from the sky, loud noises, skies on fire. They don't always appear to be about September 11 but I know they are.
Last night, in my dreams, buildings crumbled. I felt every rumble, heard every roar, cried and despaired. It wasn't the twin towers that fell in this nightmare, but buildings that are even more familiar to me. The building where I work. The local hospital. The library, which, in the dream, was about fifty stories high instead of one.
I saw the buildings from a very low perspective, as if I were laying on the ground. They all went in the same way. First, the sidewalk would rumble. People would start screaming and running, looking for friends and family while fleeing. Then, the building would start to fall apart, piece by piece, block by block, each block crumbling into smaller pieces on its way down. From my perspective it looked like the sky was raining huge chunks of cement.
I heard hard thuds as bricks and mortar fell to the ground. I heard soft thuds as the pieces landed on a person. I heard groans and screams and panic.
The buildings went one by one. Amidst all this, I was trying to find my kids. Justin had taken them and a host of their cousins to a neary dock to fish and swim. In my panic and fear, I could not remember where the dock was. Meanwhile it was right there, right next to where the world was collapsing.
Planes came and helicopters hovered and sirens shrieked. People ran. Children cried. Large chunks of steel broke off structures and pounded into the ground.
And then it was quiet. The planes and helicopters had gone. The world stopped shaking. And we were left, a handful of us, to fend for ourselves in a city that had gone to ruin.
The weather turned from a scorching hot day to a fall freeze within seconds. My friend Barbara and I ran from empty store to empty store, gathering up food and clothes for the coming cold. We were alone in the world, just our kids and some family members and a few straggling strangers who begged to stay with us.
I remember rummaging through the remains of a shoe store, looking for boots and winter shoes for the kids. I had a pile of winter jackets in my arms and I was taking everything I could, stocking up for the cold, lonely months ahead of us.
We had assumed it was the end of the world. It wasn't.
Soon, the helicopters came back to rescue us, and the pilots explained that it was only that which was familiar to us which had been destroyed. I asked if that was true for everyone and he said yes.
Wouldn't the whole world be destroyed, then? Isn't every place familiar to at least one person?
You have no idea of the places that have gone unnoticed, he said. Even that which we see every day can still be unfamiliar to us.
The helicopter swooped down on and shifted sideways as it did.
And that's when I fell out of bed and woke up.