Slow Adventures in Slothville

September 7, 2006

Dream inside a dream.

Filed under: Family, Slothyness — shhville @ 1:11 am

When I woke up this morning my grandmother was sitting in bed next to me. She was wearing a party dress and her strawberry-blonde hair, that only ever grayed at the temples, was tied back in a deep red bow with gold edging. A jubilant, “Hello Grandma!” and we were hugging.

One of my co-workers, Dan, was curled up at the foot of the bed tapping away on his laptop. We poked him with our toes for a good-natured, “Quit it!”

Behind my grandmother was a pile of gifts wrapped in gold and green shiny paper. “What are all these?” I asked. She smiled at me complacently and settled down in the bed. “Grandma, why are some of these gifts for Easter and some for Christmas?” Again, the peaceful smile, but now with a tinge of expectancy. I thought about it for a bit, then laid my hand on her frail, speckled wrist. “Are some of these for Christmas because you don’t expect to still be here at Christmas?” Her smile grew into itself, she seemed proud that I had figured it out. I didn’t bother to placate her because she didn’t need it, and because I also felt that she would pass on before then. I agreed with her, but it was ok.

We poked Daniel with our toes some more.

“I have to go to work now, Grandma. I’m going to be late.” She gazed at me, utterly serene. “How am I going to get all the way to Boston from D.C. in time for work?” Still she was silent, comfortable in her fancy dress in bed, surrounded by gifts.

I woke up and turned to Steven. “I just had a dream about my grandmother,” I said. “I wonder how she is. I should call.”




“Wait… my grandmother alive?”



“No, she’s not,” I said aloud in a rush of sorrow and tender missing.

Our co-worker Daniel was sitting at the foot of the bed watching a YouTube clip of a puppy yawning. We poked him with our toes.

It was time to get up but so many people had moved in over the Labor Day weekend that everything was in chaos. The bathroom was filthy with mildewy towels and a gritty sink. I knocked across the hall and two men answered the door. “May I borrow your bathroom?” I asked. They seemed truly sorry when they replied, “Oh, no. Oh dear. We’ve already promised it to seventeen Argentinians.” Turning around I noticed seventeen impatient Argentinians standing right behind me.

Back in bed, I woke for real. The dead never speak in my dreams. But they always seem content. For a few minutes there, I really thought she was still alive.



  1. I have those dreams, too. Where I’m with my family, and my brother aaron is there, and it was all just a big misunderstanding with the hospital. He’s alive and well, and everything has gone back to normal. We share a pie.

    I wake up with a smile on my face…that lasts until the reality comes crushing down on me.

    At least, though, for a little while, I got to spend time with my brother. If only in my dreams. I’m sure your grandmother enjoys her time with you, too.

    (hope that didn’t come out too corny)

    (oh, and you’ve got mail)

    Comment by ESC — September 7, 2006 @ 3:29 am

  2. I have dreams like that, too, except the dead speak to me in my dreams.

    In real life, I’m like Daniel in your dreams — always kicked around.

    Comment by Michael — September 7, 2006 @ 4:17 am

  3. My Mom and Dad talk to me in my dreams. I just realized I have never dreamt of them in a dream together, they always come to be one at a time, a few months apart. I wish I dreamt more about my Mom because she had a stroke about 2 1/2 years before she died and never spoke again, so it’s somehow extra special that she speaks in my dreams.

    Comment by Jack — September 7, 2006 @ 8:09 am

  4. Thanks for sharing Slothy. I’m glad the passed are content in your dreams. I think that means something.

    I’m sorry to hear that Jack.

    Comment by Seth — September 7, 2006 @ 6:29 pm

  5. That’s a bitter sweet dream. Still, I bet your grandma is actually smiling looking down on you.

    Comment by Vince — September 7, 2006 @ 9:40 pm

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