Disclaimer: This is an 800-word essay, and rather inane. Spend your time on it at your own discretion.
I dream. I am told that everyone dreams. This is a fact about my dreams, though. I often remember when I awaken that I was dreaming, but I cannot remember the dream. But occasionally the vividity of the dream impinges itself upon my waking consciousness. Case in point. I dreamed last night, a continuing dream with intervals of wakefulness, then back at it when sleep returned.
I am with a couple of other fellows in a park-like setting. On the ground is a tarpaulin, and on the tarp are four porcupines. Dead porcupines. Unbidden and without any particular reason, we strip the quills from the animals with our bare hands. We pile the quills on the tarp and lay the carcasses aside. “There must be three or four pounds of quills there,” I observe. Now I am standing there alone when my younger son walks up and says, “I see you have found my porcupines.” Conversation reveals that he has taken up Indian-style beading and he is using quills as a part of his beadwork.
The offspring and the quills are gone, but the area is now filled with people who seem to be having a picnic. Family reunion, I am advised. A rather odd and seemingly arrogant fellow a few feet away to my left is bloviating about something. I don’t know him. My father walks up on my right and says something I have never heard my father say, ever. He said, “I don’t like that man.” I inquired as to who he was, and Dad told me he didn’t know his name, which in itself is totally uncharacteristic of my parent, for he always remembered the name of anyone he ever met, but, he said, he was some sort of distant relative.
Dad is now on a go-kart, zipping away. How droll! Father’s behind is a mere wheel's radius and a two-inch plank away from the pavement. And here he comes down Walnut Street, approaching Green Street. As he enters the intersection, and Green is a through street, a car approaches from the north. The driver sees that Dad is not going to stop, hits the brakes. The tires skid on the pavement but clearly the car is not going to stop in time, The driver swerves behind the go-kart, drives over the curb and through the front yard of Padgett’s home and back into the street, and goes on. Dad, realizing he was supposed to stop is now in the middle of the street, backs his cart out of the intersection. But he apparently has no awareness whatsoever that a car had approached him, avoided him, and went on.
Standing on the lea with a bunch of people around, someone says to me, “You have a porcupine quill stuck in your face.” I don’t feel a foreign object in my face, but I don’t touch my face, either, in the event that there is a quill there. So I ask my father if he sees anything stuck in my face, “No.” He walks away, but then a lad of ten or eleven years walks up to me and an uncle tells me, “This boy has very keen vision.” The boy fixes me with his peanut-butter brown eyes, looks intently into my face, and says, “You have a porcupine quill stuck in your right eyelid.”
Here I took a restroom break, and thought how silly this all was, surely glad it is over.
Then back in bed, I fell asleep again and started to fret about getting the quill out of my eyelid. I decided I needed to see an optometrist, so I headed off toward Dr. Doi’s office. Dr. Doi was my kids’ optometrist thirty-five, forty years ago. I find myself in a large city. I know that his office is just across the avenue from this vast department store I am walking through. Crowded. There are more people in here than one would find on Christmas Eve. The doors from this level to the next open to allow a group of people through, and I rush to join them, for I know that the doors will close quickly and there will be a wait for another opening. I get through and find myself on another level and facing another set of doors at the end of the hallway. People scurrying, porcupine quill ever-present in my mind though I still feel no pain. I start thinking about how the doctor will remove the thing. I see the traffic in the street now and the office just on the other side. Doc will turn my eyelid inside out, I imagine, grasp the barb with a tweezers, snip the quill short on the other side and pull it through.
That is what I thought he would do, and now I have told you my dream.
Yep. It is Friday the Thirteenth.