dream log: may 6 – miss(ing) kitty

Bits and pieces of a half-remembered dream from last night:

I’m at my parents’ house, and my cat Alex is with me. I put him into his walking harness and leash, and my father and I walk the cat up the hill to my mother’s aunt’s house (Doris, who died last year). The house is full of cigarette smoke. Aunt Doris (whose name I spelled–when I was a child–as Darce, since this was how it sounded to me in my family’s Virginia mountain accent), was an inveterate smoker but died of Alzheimer’s Disease (from which her sister, my grandmother, still suffers, having forgotten all of us but having become the mediator in conversations among invisible people representative of her childhood).

Alex curls up on a chair in the living room, and my aunt and I go to the sitting room at the back of the house. Later, my sister arrives, and comes to join me. She studiously doesn’t say anything about the cat, which makes me suspicious. So I ask her if she hadn’t seen Alex on her way in, and she stammers. I run into the living room, and the front screen door is flapping open.

Outside, Dad is searching for Alex up by the road that runs twenty yards from my great-aunt’s front door. He looks up into the tree overhanging the road, and my eyes follow, to see the leash hanging down from a branch, where Alex is perched. Dad climbs onto a stepladder nearby (practically the only thing in this entire dream that was the slightest bit surreal) and passes Alex down to me. At that point I wake up briefly before going back to sleep and having another dream.

The odd thing about this dream was how mundane it was; most of my dreams are more fanciful or play liberally with time and space. In this dream, the relative ages of all the cast, the locations and distances between houses, even the smell of my great-aunt’s house, all were true-to-life. There was the sudden appearance of a step-ladder next to the tree, but that was the only thing that, upon reflection, seemed dream-like. Even the fact that I walked Alex on a leash is real; I do occasionally take him for walks on a harness and leash in the courtyard of my condo building.

When I got to work, and first started this entry, I had remembered a little bit of another dream as well. But the entry was interrupted by questions and then meetings, and when I came back to finish it at lunch, I could no longer remember anything at all about the second dream. I recall only that it was a little more fantastic than the first.