In dreams (writing exercise #2)

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Literary Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
A terrible dream interpreted.

Submitted: September 13, 2012

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Submitted: September 13, 2012



Amy paced the brightly lit living room, keeping her eyes on the floor as she wore a path in the carpet.  She couldn’t look up for fear of catching her reflection in a window, or one of the myriad hanging photos.  She couldn’t get the image out of her head.

Steve will be home in a few hours, I’ll just stay here till then.  Her eyes drifted up to survey the room.  She abruptly veered off to the hall closet where the spare blankets were kept, threw the doors open and grabbed the flowered quilt from the top of the stack.  The rest came tumbling down and landed in a heap on the floor, but she didn’t even notice.  She rushed back to the living room and tossed the blanket over the television.


She glanced toward the bedroom door and the terrible image flooded her mind again, but she pushed the thought aside and resumed her pacing.

An hour passed.

I’m going to starve before he gets home.  She glanced at the kitchen, and to the window above the sink, then bolted her eyes shut a moment and kept working on the path in the carpet.

The minutes seemed much longer than usual, she tried playing games in her head, like seeing how many kinds of trees she could name, but she couldn’t think of anything else, she just kept pacing and staring at the floor.

“Amy?”  She jumped and looked up.  She hadn’t heard the door, but there he was.

“Steve!”  Amy ran to him and buried her head in his chest.  “What’s going on?  Are you alright? Why is the TV covered?”  She looked up at him and shuddered.  “It’s silly, I know, but I fell asleep while you were at work, and I had a really bad dream.”

Steve took her by the hand and lead her to the couch.  She followed him, wordlessly, and sat as close to him as she could.  “Tell me about the dream.”  She took a deep trembling breath and began.

“I knew I should have been doing something useful or creative, but nothing came to mind, so I was sitting in bed, staring at the TV. We never watch movies in bed, so I’m not even sure why we keep it, but there it is.  Anyway, I slumped down and leaned against the wall, to alleviate some of my neck pain.  I don’t know how long I was sitting there before I fell asleep, or how long I was asleep before jolting awake, but somewhere in that time I saw an image on the screen.  It was only a fraction of a second, and then it was gone, but I remember everything like I had stared at it for hours.  I don’t know why it frightened me, but it…”

She shuddered again, and Steve put his hand on her knee to steady her.  She smiled at him, and went on.

“All I saw was myself, twice.  Two perfect mirror images of me, sitting exactly as I was, leaned up against the wall, my hands in my lap, only the clothing was different.One of my doppelgangers, the one to my right, was wearing black.  It was in the little black dress I got years ago, to wear at the reception of my first wedding.  I was so unhappy, and I knew that marrying that man would ruin me, so I wanted to look like I was at a funeral.”

Amy looked at Steve, and he nodded.  She didn’t talk about her previous marriage much, but he didn’t seem bothered by it, so she kept talking.

 “The other image, the one on my left, was wearing a nurse’s uniform.  Not modern day scrubs, but the kind you always see in old war movies, the little white dress and cap with the red trim.  I’ve never owned one of those.  And the weirdest part was, I never saw their faces.  Not because they were blocked or missing or anything, but just because my mind hadn’t provided them.  I saw the figures from head to toe, but never registered a face like my brain just skipped over that part.”

She stood up and started Pacing again.  Steve didn’t move.

“I’ve never had a dream terrify me like that.  It doesn’t make sense.”

Steve did move then.  He motioned for Amy to return to the couch, and she paused and thought a moment before reclaiming her seat.

“So that’s why the TV is covered?”  She nodded.  He just sat there for a while, not saying anything.  Amy was counting his breaths to keep her mind occupied.  At length, he stood up and walked to the kitchen.  He picked up the phone and held it out to her.  “I think you should call your dream guy for this one.”  Amy laughed, “You are my dream guy.”  Steve laughed too and handed her the phone.

She dialed the number and waited, hoping he’d be home.

“Hey Uncle John, its Amy.  I’ve got another dream for you.”  Her Uncle was a spiritual person and believed that dreams, even ones that seem insignificant, have important meanings, so whenever she had one she couldn’t figure out he was the person to call.

She gave him all the details and when she was finished, he didn’t say anything for a full minute.  “Um, are you still there?”  Amy looked at the phone to see if it was still connected, but she heard him answer.  “Yeah, sorry.  I’m thinking.”  She got up and put her feet back on the carpet path.

“I think it has to do with us as human beings having broad, conflicting personalities.  I think that all people have within themselves, different aspects of their personality that don’t really fit well with the rest.”

Amy paused and scrunched her eyebrows.  “What do you mean?”

“These conflicting aspects are what create hypocrisy.  People who do things and then judge others for doing the same things, obviously have some conflict within themselves.  A woman will mock another woman for wearing something too revealing, while she herself, is wearing something just as bad.  A man might hear about a father going to prison for killing his son and say ‘who could do such a thing?’ when he’s just finished beating his own children.  There is something in your life, some part of you that you don’t want there.  This woman in black is that part of you, and I believe the woman in white, the nurse, is there to heal that part of you.  You have it within yourself to be a better person, all you have to do is face your darkness.”

She hung up the phone and looked at Steve.

“Well, what did he say?”

Amy closed her eyes and took a few breaths.  “He didn’t know.  Said it was probably nothing.”


© Copyright 2019 Leily White. All rights reserved.

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