Monday, September 29, 2008

Image from a Dream

I saw this dream the night I slept in Logroño. This was also the night I met Simon, the German hiker who I wrote about in a post about coincidences.

I´m standing with family on the balcony of a 10th floor apartment. It may have been the Minassians, the family of my cousin Armenag's wife in Marseilles. Namely, it is Elo and her niece Sarine. They are watering plants on the balcony, and I stand there watching.

Oddly, the spicket and knob for the hose were both on the exterior facade of the balcony. In order to turn on the water, Sarine actually had to climb over the balcony's railing, turn the knob, and monitor the hose as her aunt watered the flowers. I was definitely a bit nervous about the situation, but Elo and Sarine seemed accustomed to the procedure – cool and calm.

From out of the blue, my sister Annie emerged onto the balcony as Elo was finishing. Annie commented on how dangerous this was, but Sarine reassured her otherwise, even holding onto the railway with one hand, signalling to the pool 10 stories below that would presumably prevent catastrophic damage should something somehow go wrong.

Suddenly, perhaps beacuse she was concentrating on talking and not on balance, Sarine lost her grip, and for an unbearable moment, we watched her hands release from the balcony railing and her face assume the expression of inevitability. Ensuing chaos. We stood frozen. Unbelieving, eyes wide, the three of us on the balcony waiting for someone to step forward and try to save her. But it was too late – as her weight teetered decidedly away from us, she spread her arms in desperation for the slightest modicum of control.

She pushed off with her foot, aiming to land in the pool. We assembled at the railing and watched her float down in a tragic gracefulness that took away both our breath, and the ability to utter a senseless gasp of shock.

The crackling, sharp sound of her accelerated mass crashing into the water's neutral surface made us shiver. Annie managed to speak first, with eyes wider than I had ever seen before. “She's dead. She's dead,” she declared in a matter of fact tone.

No,” cried Elo. “No.”

That's it,” Annie continued. “She's dead. That's it.”

I couldn't stand being there much longer, too affected by the gravity of it all. I stormed out of the apartment and stampeded down the steps until I reached the pool. I saw Sarine's body facing down, floating motionless. I tried to silence the echo of Annie's words lingering in my mind.

A strange thing happened, however, when I pulled out Sarine's body from the pool. When I pulled her out, she had transformed into a motionless, plastic head and torso – nothing more. No legs, no arms, just silicon skin without eyes or hair. Yet the unusualness of the change was in no way surprising or startling, for this was, of course, a dream.

I recalled lessons from First Aid training on how to revive a drowning victim. My first attempt at CPR was incorrect. Then I took a deep breath, lifted her (or the dummy's) chin up, sealed her lips with mine, plugged her nose, and made my exhale her inhale.

Her chest rose. I repeated, then began manual heart beats with my fists. It only took a few moments before she began to gag, and then spit out the water. Still, she was a dummy. Or maybe I was. Her eyelids fluttered as she looked about in confusion. I woke up.

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