In my dream I was at a party in a 1960s ski lodge. There were a dozen of us in the sunken living room drinking champagne. For some reason I knew the house was mine. I also knew I was dreaming. I was walking around talking to everyone. One of my favorite things to do in a dream is to talk to people, because even though my mind has created them, I don’t know what they’re going to say to me. Sometimes they tell me things I didn’t know before. Sometimes they tell jokes and they’re good jokes. They’re better than any jokes I could possibly come up with.
Tonight I was near the couch talking to a girl named Hardy. She was thin and had blonde hair. Dante was running around and I picked him up. I said: “Dante is real. He’s here now, in this dream, but he’ll be waiting for me back in the real world when I wake up.”
Hardy made a face and said: “What do you mean by wake up?”
“I’m dreaming right now. I dreamed all this up. I dreamed you up, too. But maybe I didn’t. Or maybe you’re my dream, and I’m your dream too. You could be out there dreaming me right now. Maybe we met here in this dream.”
“I still don’t understand.”
I handed Dante to Hardy and told her I had to wake my father and my sister. They were napping on the second floor.
I went upstairs and found my father asleep in the master bedroom. I shook him and he woke up. He was in his mid-forties. He was wearing overalls. I told him he should come down to the party and he said he would. We walked across the hall to my little sister’s room and woke her up too. She was six or seven years old. My dad was talking to her and I was looking at the pictures on her walls. There were pictures of all of us. There were pictures of people I hadn’t seen in a long time, and maybe would never see again.
My dad and my sister said they were going to get ready for the party and so I went back downstairs. There were only a few people left. I figured most everyone had gone home and it made me sad. I couldn’t find Hardy. Dante was still racing around the house.
I thought about my greatest fear in dreams, which is that when I leave the room the people who were in there would disappear. I thought about how difficult it was for my brain to continue to generate a fictional universe, especially when I was aware that I was dreaming. Every time I opened a door or turned a corner, my brain had to create what came next. Sometimes I would revisit a room I had already been in and the room had changed into a different room. My brain had forgotten what the original room looked like. And worst of all, the people I had created would look slightly different. Their faces would have changed. Sometimes they were different people altogether. This is always a huge bummer.
I didn’t recognize anyone at the party anymore. They were different people. I didn’t like them as much and they didn’t seem to like me. They ignored me and went on talking.
I grabbed Dante and ran back upstairs. My dad and my sister were brushing their teeth in the bathroom. I told them we should just stay upstairs. The party was over and there was no use being around those people anymore. I sat on the edge of the sink holding Dante and we talked until I woke up.