The other night I dreamt that boo was in the bathtub. There was a mechanism that vacuumed all the dirt from the water down the drain. Apparently he’d been in the sand, because there was sand all around him and the drain started sucking it down, along with the water, so he found himself in an empty tub. He looked up at me and I went to push the rest of the sand down with my hands and reset the stopper, but suddenly it started filling with water again. It filled really fast, rising until it covered his head. He looked up at me, helpless, and started to cry. I moved to pull him out of the tub, but I was pulled down to the floor, stuck to it, paralyzed. I wanted to reach over the edge of the tub, but it got taller and taller, so I couldn’t see over it and couldn’t reach over it. I screamed, “Baby!”—in the dream and in reality—and I woke up.
I ran into his room and he was sleeping soundly.
I don’t know what it meant. That life is out of control, maybe because of Boston. We’d just heard that day that Harlan got the job and I went through a wide range of emotions, including anger that we’re in a situation where we don’t really have a choice. I feel pushed up against a wall, forced to do something I don’t really want to do in order to make money, pay our bills, protect our family. Maybe I feel unable to protect my son. Maybe I just feel unable to protect him because the world is unsafe and you never know what will happen.
The other night I had a dream that he was running, running fast, suddenly, across some kind of platform. I was dazzled, because in real life he’s still crawling. Then suddenly he stumbled off the edge of the platform onto the floor. I gasped, terrified, but he surprised me: he tucked and rolled beautifully and didn’t hurt himself at all. He didn’t look like my baby, he was of some other ethnicity, maybe Arab, but he was my baby. I don’t know why he didn’t look like boo, but I had the dream because a few days before he’d taken his first real fall off my bed and whacked his head. He’d landed hard and I scooped him up and he did that silent scream, mouth enormous, no sound and then let out the most heartbreaking wail. I worried for days and days about brain damage and ultimately he was fine. But I was reminded once again of his vulnerability and my responsibility to keep him safe.
Last night I dreamt Harlan was married to my friend Joey, one of my best friends from high school who is married to a wonderful pediatrician (the first person I called, btw, when boo fell off the bed) and has three kids, and Harlan and I were having an affair. It had been going on for years. We were in love. In the dream, we’d all been at some event and then Harlan and I snuck off to have a drink, grabbing an intimate moment, weary of the whole charade. Joey found us at this bar, not suspicious at all, just looking for him and she talked to me about him and how he was so secretive and distant, she didn’t know what to do. She confided in me as a friend, no idea that I was what he was sneaking off to. She seemed so sad. My mother showed up and spoke judgmentally to me about how I was leading my life, referring not to Harlan but to the way I’d treated some other friend. I wanted to confess to her about Harlan, tell her we were in love, but I kept it to myself.
What’s that all about?