i know i’ve said before that i rarely remember my dreams, and yet there are two situations in which the probability of me recalling my subconscious escapades increases exponentially: 1. when i’m napping, and 2. when i’m sick.

right now, i’m sick, currently running down day 6 of the sore throat/ sound like i traded voices with a smoking frog/tired of sleeping propped up and still coughing all night thing that descends like an annoying cloud over an otherwise smashingly healthy NY winter. and it happened: i fell victim to a crazy dream last night, perhaps one of the strangest i’ve ever had.

and today, i woke up and couldn’t get it out of my mind. i’m not one to analyze dreams but i definitely am more than slightly enamored with the very idea of them, and i sifted this one over and over again this morning, trying to remember every little detail and see the correlation to my “real life.” as if dreams were a world of their own, another life i can only enter sporadically and never at will…

and this one traced through the stages of my adolescent-thru-current life, interweaving people and places and snapshots in the haphazard way dreams will and leaving me wondering why i think the way i do when i’m not consciously thinking at all…or why i keep people around in the caverns of my cluttered mind only to pull them out unbeknownst to myself and allow them to traipse through my shadowy hours. from an analytical point of view, i can see how it all plays out perfectly, the progression of my most impressionable years and the people i learned and loved and left along the way making cameos and dancing around one another’s ghosts…yet interestingly enough, some of the most important people in my life never showed up to a subconscious fete in which they should have been my most honored guests.

and such are the things of dreams…symbolic or not, they always open themselves up to such sentimental analysis.

i was on some sort of girls’ vacation with a cluster of my high school friends, girls i spent 4 years with who i rarely see anymore — some of whom i saw for the first time in ten years this summer. we were carefree and youthful in the way girls are when they believe the world is in utterly theirs, arms linked and laughing without restraint, dancing away the hours and hoping everyone goes home together. i was happy, but i couldn’t stay…

then i was running, purposefully jogging down a sunny street in an inner city, right through the toughest sections of town, dodging people on the sidewalk. i was running in salsa shoes, white strappy heels that were surprisingly amazingly comfortable for a jog — i even remember thinking how it was strange that they felt so good on my feet as i pounded the pavement. i ran by a park where some youth ministry leaders were volunteering and playing games with inner city high school kids — i recognized one from my youth ministry days and we said hi as i ran right through their game, thinking of stopping but feeling i needed to push on.

i was suddenly hit with the urge to run the streets barefoot, feeling the concrete against my skin and pushing forward off my toes, and even as i knew it wasn’t my brightest option, i removed my salsa heels and tucked them beneath my arm as i looped toward “home.” “home” was a large house where a bunch of my friends and acquaintances were staying, vacation-style, i suppose, and i entered feeling like a visitor. people swarmed the rooms, laughing unreservedly, alive with the kind of vitality that tells you they had nowhere else to be than with each other in that definitive moment. it was summer time, my favorite time, brightly patterned swim suits and neon drinks defined the atmosphere, and yet i ducked into a side room for a moment’s relief and found a friend (non-high school; this one is a newer friend, as friends go) sprawled on a couch, talking with another guy i didn’t recognize, half-asleep in the best kind of lazy-day way when you’ve nothing else to be.

and that was where i settled, finally relaxed on the couch in a quiet room of an otherwise raucous house, for once not the one running around with an entourage of fabulous friends and finding a trillion things to get overly excited about. i sank into the opposite end of the couch and sprawled head-to-foot with my friend and sipped his drink instead of bothering to go find one of my own. and i remember feeling content, and at ease. and i’ll be the first to admit that i’m usually not the one seeking a quiet corner to relax in during a lively sha-bang.

i don’t remember what we talked about, or who else i saw, or even where i put my coveted salsa-jogging shoes. but i remember thinking, now, i can rest.

and when i got up to use the bathroom and was almost bull-dozed by a gaggle of giggling girls tumbling out of the little room in a tangled heap, i wasn’t even jealous of their togetherness or gleeful excitement about heading toward the pool.

sometimes, i need to learn to just be – and be okay with that.