Last night, still dealing with the creeping crud (it's turned into chest crud now, so my coughs sound impressive and cringe-worthy), I passed on my sleeping pill in favor of Nyquil.
I dropped off to sleep with no problem, probably because I've been up till 2 and 3 AM the last few nights and I needed the rest.
I dreamed, unsurprisingly, about my mom. We were going through clothes, maybe shopping somewhere. There were blouses she wanted me to try on, and blouses that she didn't like. She was very free and colorful in her opinions of the ones she didn't like. She was always very borderline-personality that way; things were either good or bad, and if she didn't like something, she couldn't entertain the possibility that anyone else could.
It was a year ago Thursday (so, a year and two days) that I spoke to her for the last time. I miss her like crazy. It helped, having some time with her in my dream, even though it was over too soon. I haven't forgotten her voice, or the way her skin felt, or even the shape of her fingernails, or her little mannerisms...but I think part of me quietly fears that someday I will.
It's worth it to dream once in a while, I think, if it helps me keep her accurately in my head. We didn't get to talk about anything important - we never do, when I dream about her - but we didn't need to. It had all been said for real, before a-year-ago-Thursday.
I fell back asleep and found myself going out to breakfast with her parents, my grandparents. They're both long gone, my relations with them were not good while they were alive, and I don't dream about them very often. But there they were. They used to go out for breakfast every morning because that was when Grandma felt the best and could be the most active. She would order a well-toasted bagel and it would never come out to her satisfaction, yet she always insisted on eating out instead of toasting her own bagel the way she liked it.
So, I was out at an eerily realistic breakfast with my grandparents. Grandma made her typical "something smells bad" displeased face at me because I asked for a menu.
(Though she went to the same places and always knew what she wanted, I'd never been there before and I wanted to see the options. This would happen regularly, and would frustrate her. She felt it slowed down her morning.)
She started telling me what to order, before I had a chance to look for myself. "You want a hamburger and a danish," she said.
(This part wasn't entirely realistic, but the tone and the power struggle were spot on. She liked very much to tell me what I liked, and what I wanted, instead of asking me. If she did by chance seize on something I actually liked, she would find ways to twist it against me. I got good, early on, at not expressing preferences about anything in front of my grandmother. Preferences were ammunition.)
"I don't want that," I answered, and looked at my watch. "I can't eat a hamburger at nine in the morning."
"It's noon where you are," she countered. They lived on the east coast, so this part made sense. However:
"That makes it *six* in the morning where I am," I answered, and she made her face at me again. Grandma didn't like to be wrong.
(Grandma liked to watch the way her cream poured into her coffee. If it swirled a certain way when she poured it, it meant the coffee was fresh, and she would nod sharply like it had passed her inspection. If the cream spread differently, the coffee was stale. She would make her scrunchy face, sigh longsufferingly, and drink it anyway. She hated, more than anything, when a waitress would mix old coffee with new coffee, either in the carafe or in her cup. She would yell at them if they tried to top off her coffee with more coffee -- the new coffee undoubtedly had been sitting too long, was the result of pouring together multiple brews into a single diner carafe, and wasn't fresh. She was convinced it would somehow ruin the freshness of the coffee that had gone cold in her cup. She wanted them to wait until her coffee was all gone, and then magically be there with a fresh, unmingled pot. And yet, she insisted on having her coffee out, when at home she could have made her coffee anyway she liked it, and would have known that it was untainted by the pot that had been made five minutes before.
I stopped speaking to grandma in 1998, when she told my mother that she knew grandpa had molested mom, and then me, but that she let him do it. Because? "At least," she said, "he was leaving me alone."
I announced that I was never speaking to her again. And, I didn't.)
Dream-grandma was as accurate as life.
In the dream, the power struggle over breakfast was interrupted. I felt pressure on my thigh, touching me, and then touching me higher. Dream-grandpa, on my other side, who'd been silent this whole time. I turned to him and said, "Get the hell off me, you bastard."
I woke up and opened my eyes, and the touch had been Toey climbing up my body to curl up on my chest.
Matt and I went out for breakfast. I poured new coffee on top of my old coffee. With glee.