Abby was surprised that she wasn’t more tired. Up at six, she had awakened from a vivid dream that had her running around more than she ever did in real life, and Abby was an active person. In the dream she was, believe it or not, Mick Jagger’s secretary. She didn’t make much, salary-wise; for some reason the multimillionaire rocker was a cheapskate. Still, she didn’t mind. Just look at the responsibilities she had!
In the dream, the Rolling Stones had scheduled a series of interlocking concerts to very wealthy people, one set played immediately on the heels of the other; the band dug into their songbook with tunes from different periods of their career. The first show was loud and in-your-face: typical Rolling Stones, circa 1966. The second, with a new crowd in their seats, was dark and moody. Abby was on the sidelines helping in the orchestrating of a million-and-one details; she was sure that Jagger was happy with her. And she was ecstatic to be involved in such an exciting project. The hall was smallish; the wealthy crowd had paid a fortune for their tickets. One after the other the shows went on; Jagger and the rest of the band never tired. The hours went by, millions were made, and Abby glowed in the reflected brilliance of so much creative genius.
So when she woke up, no, she didn’t feel tired although she kind of expected she would. What a dream! Going downstairs in the dark, making a fire while her girlfriend Jadyn slept in their cold bedroom, she couldn’t get the memory of the dream out of her mind.
Again! Again I live a wonderful dream-life while my own is so boring. She wondered for the thousandth time whether her dreams would turn more mundane if she began leading a more exciting life. Abby didn’t like taking chances. She enjoyed reading a lot about people who did but hardly knew anyone who was into taking risks. Everything was well thought out in her friends’ lives. Their dreams didn’t seem too large and ‘out there’. This fact didn’t ordinarily bother her; well, it had at an earlier part of her life, but now, at 33, with things seemingly in place in her job and with Jadyn, no, she didn’t really yearn for the ‘exciting life’, although if pressed she would admit that her full potential was not close to being reached. This thought could make her sad.
It was those damn dreams! Dreams with action. Dreams with purpose. Dreams filled with thick Byzan-tine subterfuge and intrigue. She was an action heroine in these dreams, sometimes even a saviour. She could do anything, know anything, be anything. Often she awoke with a euphoric feeling in her limbs; often there was a space in her mind larger than anything she ever knew.
Saturday, however, is different. Abby doesn’t wake early; in fact, it’s a groggy 8 a.m., which is very late for her, before she pulls herself out of wrinkled sheets and comforter. To make things worse, her dream, one that seemed to last forever — with meanderings and tacked-on variations on a theme that went on and on, well into those moments when slumber had shifted to wakefulness — is clearly upsetting: in the dream Abby discovers that Jadyn is sleeping with someone else.
In one of those scenes so commonly portrayed in films, Abby comes home early from work to find Jadyn in bed with another woman, in this case a chubby, greasy-haired blonde. This other person, it turns out, is one of Jadyn’s girlfriend’s from before Abby came onto the scene. For some strange reason, Jadyn is taken with her, and when confronted by Abby, there in the bedroom and later over and over again in the fallout of discovery, will only say that she “likes her”, “her” being “Frankie”. Frankie doesn’t seem too upset at being caught. Jadyn either. Abby is devastated. What a terrible feeling to be the rejectee in a love triangle! To be tossed over for someone so clearly one’s inferior! Frankie sits on the side of the bed, quietly putting on her socks while Abby stands there, stunned, watching the folds of Frankie’s belly rising and falling over the tops of her undies. Jadyn is still recovering from just having her lover go down on her; she seems to be catching her breath. It’s all Abby can do to not collapse.
So when she wakes up, a migraine beginning to creep up the side of her head, the insecurity is overwhelming. Jadyn is in the bathroom brushing her teeth. “I just had a terrible dream,” Abby says sitting on the toilet seat, and waits for Jadyn to respond.
Jadyn is Abby’s physical opposite. Where Abby is petite and very cute, Jadyn is a muscular, bull-like, perfectly built for the high school phys. Ed. teacher that she is. She looks the part of the “male” pole of the lesbian battery: short-cropped hair, no nails to speak of (or nail polish, of course), with a plain face, on the short side. Years ago people would have been shocked to see a woman as attractive as Abby being a lesbian. In today’s enlightened world, they are surprised that she is attached to someone so plain-looking.
Jadyn is not ready to respond to this news about the bad dream. First of all, she is still brushing her teeth. Secondly, she’s happy that Abby had a bad dream. All these fantastic dreams that Abby tells her about every other day are such a drag. Sitting there a few feet away, with that sad-sack look on her face, Abby is undoubted on the verge of relating the dream in all its sad-sack detail. Poor girl. She spits out the toothpaste, grabs the towel to clean her mouth and feels ready to lift some weights and run around the block. In other words, fantastic.
“So?” she says.
“Do you know that I hardly know anything about who you were with before you met me?” Abby says, looking at her nails. “ I’ve told you all about my girlfriends. What do I know? That you were with, what was her name? Jacinthe? I don’t even know how long you were together!” Jadyn shrugs her shoulders. She’s not into talking like Abby. This fact is actually something that Abby loves about Jadyn; you don’t have to worry if she has an “off” button. Jadyn, while not crazy about Abby’s tendency to go over and over certain subjects which seem to have got caught in her head, like a twig in a whirlpool, doesn’t mind too much; Abby is just so cute to look at.
Before Jadyn can answer the… accusation? Abby stands, just inches from Jadyn’s face. “I dreamed that you were cheating on me. You didn’t seem to care that I found out, either. That was the worst part. That, and the fact that your lover was a slob, ugly, fat. She was also loaded. Do you feel that you’re too poor?”
“I could use more money,” Jadyn says as she walks out the bathroom. She’s looking forward to break-fast. Will it be pancakes or French toast?
Of course Abby is following. “Do you mean that you’d take on a lover just because she’s rich?”
“How rich? Very rich?”
As Jadyn is looking through the cupboard deciding what to make for breakfast, it seems clear to Abby that everything that is happening this morning, from the dream to the way that Jadyn is reacting to Abby’s relating it, is beginning to turn this moment into a nightmare.
“You wouldn’t cheat on me, would you?” Jadyn is now busy; she’s got the ingredients on the counter, the eggs, pancake mix, milk, oil. She knows that she should comfort Abby at this point; the kidding has gone on long enough. She’s not that hungry. A long soulful kiss from Abby, she knows, is more nourishing than a plateful of flapjacks. But something is stopping her and she doesn’t know quite what it is.
“No,” she says through the clanking sounds she is making. It doesn’t sound too convincing.
“Oh God,” says Abby. “I feel sick.” There is an uncomfortable pause in the conversation. “In my dream you were evidently really taken with this person, were seeing her a lot, and nothing I said made one iota of difference in how you were going to behave. I tried to talk you out of cheating on me. It didn’t work. It’s like I don’t know you.”
Jadyn looks up from her food prep. It’s the first time she’s really looked at Abby today. She notices the little tear trickling down her cheek. “C’mon babe,” she says, “I just said ‘No’, I wouldn’t cheat on you. I never had chubby blonde girlfriend. If you want to know more about my other girlfriends before I met you, I’ll tell you. I’ll tell you all you want to know, OK?” God, she’s gorgeous. She kneels down in front of Abby and puts her arms around her, hugging her softly and then patting her back. Does she ever take her dreams seriously!
It took little more than three days for the ‘crisis’ to pass. After all, unless you encourage them, dream memories fade away. What didn’t fade was the slight pinprick, at the base of Abby’s throat, of having been betrayed somehow by Jadyn. There was an obstinate mental “but” in Abby’s head in answer to everything Jadyn said that made her feel that perhaps everything was not back to normal. She couldn’t get the thought out of her mind that the relationship wasn’t balanced. “I love her more than she loves me” played in a loop in her head. “I love her more than she loves me.” Abby looked for, and found, reasons to buttress this belief: how Jadyn greeted her in the morning – wasn’t it a bit on the cool side? How Jadyn kissed her before going to sleep – shouldn’t it have been more protracted and passionate? Was she really playing games on the computer or was she chatting with a new girlfriend?
So while things seemed to be normal on the surface, Abby’s hurt was beginning to etch its way into her heart.
That was before last night. Now things were worse.
It happened during the night, again. Abby and Jadyn often woke up in the middle of the night at the same time. They would sometimes talk, sometimes snuggle, sometimes make love. Last night, Abby woke up and was resting on the pillow when Jadyn spoke up. Only this time Jadyn was talking in her sleep.
Talking in her sleep was nothing new to Jadyn. Words were usually clearly spoken but the sentences which came out never made any sense. Last night, out of the blue, while Abby let her night-time thoughts run through her head, Jadyn suddenly said, “Do you want me to seduce you?”
What the…? Jadyn continued to sleep quietly as she always did after talking in her sleep. She would never remember saying this, Abby knew; she never did. Does who want to be seduced by my girlfriend? It was like she was living with a stranger.
But it’s not Jadyn who’s keeping secrets from Abby, at least not serious ones; it’s Abby who’s keeping them from Jadyn.
It’s Sunday. Jadyn is out getting the weekend papers. Abby is still in bed; she has just drifted into consciousness. In her dream, as real to her as the sheets twisted around her body, she found herself stuck in Italy and unable to get out. The authorities wouldn’t let her leave the country without proof of a ticket. She could show an airplane ticket to Rome but none to Canada. There was nothing she could do; she was stuck. None of this really made any sense in the waking state but in her dream, the logic was irrefutable. She remembers clearly looking down at a piece of paper stamped “Roma”. The officials shook their heads; her passport was taken from her. She was now a non-entity stuck in a foreign country. Then she awoke.
She tramps to the bathroom and looks into the mirror. The more sleep I get, she thinks unhappily, looking warily into the mirror, the more tired I look. Together she and Jadyn had made a day full of plans: a visit to the museum; some shopping downtown; dinner later with friends; a late-afternoon Yoga class if there was time. But right now Abby doesn’t want to do any of those things; she wants to crawl back into bed and rewrite the dream. She wants to go back to Canada.
But as Abby continues to stare into the mirror, the extent of the secret she’s kept from Jadyn looms into the room, like an uninvited ogre. No passport. No identity. No past.
Fifteen years ago, at eighteen, Abby came to consciousness in a hospital bed. The nurses seemed excited as well as the doctors who started rapidly firing questions at her. What was her name? Did she remember how she had fractured her leg? Where did she live? The only problem was, Abby couldn’t answer any of those questions: the amnesia was total. As time passed, with her health perfectly normal, the only quandary for the hospital authorities was what to do with an obviously intelligent person with no memory. She showed no signs of brain damage, nor any personality disorders. She was a charming teenager with an intelligent curiosity, pleasant manners, and absolutely no recollection of anything prior to January 3, 1998. She was not putting anybody on, this much was clear, and a few scientists at McGill University’s Neurological Institute were, for a short time, very interested in her case. Yet there was still the practical question of what to do with her. One of the scientist’s, Dr. Jane Lewis, agreed to take in “Abby” as she was named, and in short time discovered that she was a genius in math.
Abby and Jadyn love roaming the different ‘quartiers’ of the city. It’s 2013 so no one pays much attention to two women holding hands or walking arm-in-arm. There is always interesting architecture or parks to check out but for Abby she still hopes that she’ll get a jolt of recognition. How super it would be to feel: I used to live here. I know this neighbourhood…
But it never happens. I must not have lived in Montreal, she concluded years ago. Then there are her dreams. Could they possibly unlock a secret to her past?
Abby has woken up from an erotic dream. She doesn’t get them too often but when she does the impression stays a long time. This morning, during meditation, she doesn’t know if she should think her mantra or remember her dream. He pussy is vibrating; all she has to do is put her hand down there and her head lolls back. Such ecstasy! Her dream-lover was an old girlfriend from when she still lived with Jane. It was her first real girlfriend, a fellow student at the university. They didn’t have a deep connection and the relationship lasted much longer than it should have but when it came to sex Tanya and Abby hit it off quite well. Tanya’s pussy was the first that Abby ever tasted; why her subconscious should “remember” it so well in a dream when she no longer ever thought about Tanya, Abby couldn’t say. Jadyn was out of town, visiting her family in London, Ontario, for Spring Break. Abby felt fine being alone but a dream like this one made her lonely; she felt urged on by a relentless energy to connect with someone, enjoy a meaningless fling, get into bed with a stranger and see what happens.
Things had returned to “normal” in her relationship with Jadyn. No talking aloud in bed; no feelings of superiority or inferiority. There was a dull sameness to the days and weeks but Jadyn still gave Abby a groundedness that no one else managed to achieve and it was on this foundation that Abby felt free to pursue anything she liked.
She gives up on the meditation and goes to computer. After 45 minutes checking up naked women on the Internet her erotic urges finally dissolve and Abby continues her day in her usual lust-free state. Still, dreams like the one with Tanya giving of herself so openly and wantonly do make her feel somewhat of a stranger to herself. Where do my dreams come from? she asks herself for the millionth time.
So. Her life is turning out like an episode of Seinfeld. Her life story is about nothing, minus the comedy. If there has been any change, any evolution lately, it’s that, by putting her attention so much on the subject lately, Abby has decided to outgrow her dreams. Now, when she wakes up from a powerful dream, positive or negative, she puts it aside and concentrates on everyday life instead. Jadyn seems to be noticing; there are quiet, loving moments between the two of them in bed before getting up. Abby doesn’t want to tell a dream that Jadyn doesn’t relate to anyway. Life is but a dream.
Peace grows when nothing happening. Maybe something is happening, but it’s under the surface. A trust is growing between the two. They’re getting closer. Abby keeps her secrets but they don’t burn her heart. Jadyn has secrets, too. Perhaps she is chatting with a girlfriend late at night when Abby’s in bed, dreaming. Who cares? In the routine of nothing happening, a lot is happening. It’s called “life’’ and, for Abby, that’s quite enough for now.