The really cool thing about dreams is the total suspension of disbelief no matter how strange everything might be. Last night, I dozed off for a while and suddenly I’m having a dream about a set of tennis courts at a convenience store. There were racquets and balls that could be rented, and these were as bad as the courts were, and the courts, wow, it’s hard to imagine them being called tennis courts.
To begin with they seemed to be part of two parking lots that were once divided by a meter tall block wall that had flowers planted on top of it. This was the “net”. The courts were small, very small and the chain link fence around the, ahem, courts, was about a meter high as well. The courts didn’t have normal lines painted on them, but to their credit, they were painted, but there was a circle where a player would stand on either side of the, uh, net. The object of the game, as explained by the disinterested and bored store employee, was to hit the ball back and forth from one player to the next, but instead of trying to hit it where an opponent wasn’t, the object was to hit it so the opposing player didn’t have to leave the circle to return the ball. Points were scored unforced errors while standing in the circle rather than skill. The racquets were cheap and the craftsmanship that went into them could only be describe as pitiful. The ball was heavy and had very little bounce. I knew the person I was playing with, it was a guy, but he’s not someone I know in real life. We had a good time pretending to have a good time, and mocking the whole setup. We made noises like women tennis players when the ball was “served” and gained a small audience of people who shook their heads and wondered exactly why anyone would even think to try to serve up this sort of game.
The dream shifted and I was looking at a can of beer from the store. The can was red but there seemed to be the pattern of lace lightly imprinted on the can and the pattern could only been seen when the can was cold. The writing on the can was foreign and I saw numbers that didn’t seem to make sense, like 54,000 or 720,000. They were units that didn’t seem to go on beer cans, but it was a dream so…
When I woke up it was 3:45 and I knew better than to try to get anymore sleep. I tossed and turned for a few moments and Lilith Anne came up to see me. She doesn’t like to sleep on the bed in warm weather, and the humidity is really bad right now. I like to sleep with the windows open, and it’s tolerable late at night, but the air feels sticky and slightly warm, like the inside of a dragon’s mouth. Yet for some reason, Lilith not only comes up but she also plops down and wants to sleep with her head next to mine. The rain hasn’t totally stopped and the sound of water dripping from the roof is a comforting sound for some reason. Maybe at some level I still appreciate having a roof. But Lilith snuggles closer and there will be no sleep, even if I was inclined.
Tyger Linn isn’t happy about her larger sister coming to visit but she’s content with moving closer to me as a form of making claim to that side of me. It’s too much heat, really, but I don’t want to push them away and I don’t want to get up yet. Lilith falls asleep quickly and snores. It doesn’t make a difference because I’m not going to sleep again and I wonder if this is what marriage is like, staying in bed and listening to snoring because someone wants to sleep next to you even when you can’t.
I can retire in a little more than three years. There was a time in my life when three years was a very long time. It’s like when you’re a kid and getting to stay outside for an extra hour was like the best thing ever because an hour was such a very long time. Now an hour isn’t really enough time to get started doing anything. Staying at work an extra hour means nothing, getting up an hour early isn’t tragic like it was back in High School, and an hour alone with someone you really like isn’t nearly enough. You could rent a convenience store tennis court for an hour and get all you ever wanted of it, but an hour of anything you really want to do isn’t very long anymore, and the years are getting shorter, too. Today is the halfway point in the year and as evil as it has been, 2017 is half gone. There’s two, maybe two and a half, months more of Summer heat, but doesn’t seem very long anymore either. A few minutes of listening to Lilith snore is something that I will miss terribly one day, and that day is also coming a lot sooner than I would like.
Inevitably, one day Lilith Anne will be dead. I hope I live to see that day because I would hate for her to have to live with anyone else somewhere else, if something happened to me. When Bert and Sam were very young I never had these thoughts, but that was sixteen years ago, and Sam lived to be fourteen and Bert lived to see twelve. If Lilith makes it to fourteen then I will be sixty-eight when she dies. I doubt if the Black Plague Dogs will see another seven or so, and I will be sixty-four. Tyger Linn is likely to outlive them all, if she isn’t killed by something she’s hunting, and this might be the last pack of large dogs I own.
Insomnia drives these thoughts and I know it. Existential dread is a part of living, I know this too, but I rarely indulge in it. Yet as the days race by and the nights creep onward, I truly know that one day this will all end and something else, something no one knows anything about, will begin.