In My Dreams, You’re Alive.


I never used to remember my dreams. Up until this summer, in fact, the only dream I ever remembered having was a recurring nightmare I had as a kid about being eaten alive by a koala.  Every day lately, however, I wake up with a vision so vivid that I keep my eyes closed for hours until I drift off again to a better time and place.

Every night, I’m at my dad’s apartment in the suburbs of Detroit. He’s alive, sitting on his couch watching The Simpsons. I’m in the kitchen and I’m cooking and we don’t say much of anything – Just as it was when I returned to Michigan one year ago this time to spend my days as his post-college layabout daughter-slash-roommate. He’s frustrated with me about something dumb I’ve done, some way I’ve let him down and I’m rolling my eyes in exasperation. It’s nothing profound or special but every night, things were just the way they used to be and he’s alive.

I wake up and I shake for hours and I can’t get out of bed until I have to leave – To take Devon to gymnastics at 5 p.m., to have a meeting with one of the bands I manage at 10, to go to the movie set in the mornings to brush shoulders with George Clooney in the most surreal days I’ve ever lived during which I get to be someone else, a nameless journalist covering a fictional presidential race with a fervor and passion that I used to possess in real life, a fervor and passion that has been robbed from me this winter.  I sit at home in a rocking chair and I listen to the same cd on repeat and I cry until I’ve leaked all fluids from my body and I remember how good things were until that day that I got that phone call and I write when I’m composed enough and I feel better but it’s all a reminder of how things have changed, how there is no “normal” anymore, not for me, not for Laura, not for Sara or Delores or Al. We’re all living in an emotional nuclear fallout and it’s more evident every day how little compassion strangers have, with their loveless stares and snide comments. I fear opening my mouth anymore, terrified that I’ll alienate the few people I do have because I’m convinced that if I can’t keep it together, my friends won’t want me around anymore. And I can’t blame them.

I’m driving on State Street, coming home to take Adrian to the library at 6:45 and the radio is playing Arcade Fire and I remember how my dad used to send me text messages almost every day, quoting one of his favorite indie rock songs. The day he died, he sent me a lyric from “The Suburbs” and it plays and I pull the car into a parking lot and I listen and I sob into my hands and I think of how ominous it all seems now:

So can you understand why I want a daughter while I’m still young?
I wanna hold her hand and show her some beauty before this damage is done.


2 Responses to “In My Dreams, You’re Alive.”

  1. Laura Valentne Says:

    I remember him telling me that quote…….how I loved the darkness of it. Never thinking of how it would play out. I miss, very much, the two of you bantering the lyrics and sayings via text.

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