Träume

A strikingly vivid dream of living in a mountain kingdom – timeless, like Nepal, with no cars or electrics of modernity.  In the dream I pass years of walking the paths among the grey rock and climbing among the sparse trees under blue white skies of sere clear air.   Our houses are stone towers with spiral stairs, the carpets rough but warm, the food simple and nourishing, the footwear homemade of elken skin, the language a variant of German, the talk of projects to help the community or some troubled member.  The outside world is present beyond our view but it never impinges.  It is another, simpler life than mine own.

Second half, somehow, of the same dream: I have been convicted and sentenced in the accidental death of a girl, a young woman.  Not someone I knew, maybe I hit her with a car; that part is dim.  I am being led to my death.  It has all happened very suddenly; there has been no time for anyone in my regular life to show up – my daughter, especially, I wish to see one more time, but the forces of Zeus and Pluto are implacable.  We go into this tiny office – we are back in the modern world, it could be any large building’s small room: industrial carpet, light wooden door, fake wood-veneer table, neither threatening nor beautiful – where I learn there will be no reprieve.

A woman I don’t know (in retrospect I recognize her as a professor I once knew in Cambridge), convicted of something else, is killed in front of me by a blow to the lower stomach – it seems a moment of pain, but a surprisingly easy and quick death.

I expect the same, but I am to be executed by lethal injection.  I ask to pee first – I don’t want to die with that urge – and I am allowed to walk on my own through the rest of the office.  There are dozens of people – white-collar workers, women mostly, averting their eyes; they know my fate.  There is the sense that everyone I am passing knows that the death I caused was more accidental, but justice must be done.  No one is holding me, but my dignity will not allow me to make a useless run for the doors. It seems to take forever and monumental effort to find and use the toilet and come back – everything is in slow motion, the air as thick as honey, the vivid last appreciation of the totally mundane.

It seems the life that I have had – which seems to combine this life and the life in the mountain village as well – has come to this useless end, a pointless god-joke.  I want to pray, but it seems the gods already have me in their hand, so I prepare myself for whatever comes next – no clear sense of what that will be.  I see them getting the large needle ready, and as it approaches my arm I wake up, drained and grateful for the hotel clock.

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