On the Couch

I had a really scary dream. But not as scary as the sweating burned bodies of the past. This time it felt like I was sucked into a vortex of past nights crying. Like when I called that doctor woman– she had given me her card on my day-pass away from the psych ward. “I’m having a harder time than I thought I would.” She said, “I know.” That was on a Saturday night. I was crouched on the floor between two sets of bunkbeds and four female roommates at the Salvation Army– the “Salv”.

But this time, I hid in a tunnel. I battled six-hundred girls. I crashed a bus. I called for Travis, in tears, but I couldn’t dial his number, over and over I tried to reach the T’s in my phone-book. There was evidence that I had crashed the bus. My drawings from the students on the school bus. My pillow left behind. A soggy Cheerio’s box, yellow and bent, under my forearm in the rain. I was naked in a shower and a kid kept trying to buy a ticket from me, bursting into my tent, over and over like a gerbil.

I dreamed I woke up on the fancy lobby couch at work. With a vision of my boss bursting in, standing over me in a purple shirt and thick glasses, his ID badge hanging over his taught belly. Firing my ass to oblivion. To no health care. To more bad dreams and calls to Travis I could no longer afford. I was asleep on the job. He would be justified in letting me go. But he didn’t understand. It was four am, I had been plucked from my bed where a man with a pale wood baseball bat staggered outside my window. Where a spider turned the same color yellow as my bedspread and crawled over my fringe. I threw it in the toilet, carrying it in my thong, and didn’t wake up Nathan. Like the cockroach that had scurried over my black shoes– the ones with the socks attached– only moments later.

Nathan. Our legs intertwined. I didn’t know him well enough to know if he had a f*cked-up foot or not. My foot kept circling his, trying to detect a defect. Or were his feet just long and flat? Or was he missing a toe? He didn’t limp, I noticed when he got up to make coffee. I spat out the coffee because I coughed. But also because I wanted to seem vulnerable and cute, and his. He wiped my chin. We still haven’t been together– like that. I told him about Patrick and how I wanted to get to know him too, and he called him a douche-bag. I laughed inside.

But my dream– I woke up wanting to call someone. Not Travis at this hour. Not dad– last time he was scared I would go outside and battle the man with the bat. In my dream I had called my God-father by accident. That’s how I knew it was a dream. I didn’t have a God-parent. Except for Sidney. Or Scott. I texted Meghan, my make-shift sponsor, and waited. Thinking about her Erin story and one-thousand plastic bags. Thinking about Poppy and her incessant need to chatter. Waiting for either for a reply, or for my boss to come fire me. Or to return to the couch when an opportune moment arose, when Don the weather-guy and used car salesman wouldn’t be taking his turn sleeping there. A beautiful woman was on the news next to me talking about anti-American rhetoric.

I hope someone reads this. Then I’ll know I’m real. My phone is next to me. All you have to do is call. Until then I’ll be unsettled, like I forgot something. I’ll be here, drinking cold coffee.

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