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Dreamed 1981/6/30 by Chris Wayan

I'm a shy, nervous woman living in a boarding house, in a truckstop town in the Northwest Territories. But I'm considering moving to Alaska. I hear it has a milder climate. I'm tired of the winters here. Funny, I can't seem to imagine moving far south where it's really warm. Too far away--I wouldn't know how to act. Alaska's my horizon.

Sometimes I think I think too small.

Need a better car though, Alaska's quite a drive. I bike through town (running the lights--it's a matter of honor here) to the used-car lot, to shop around. The lot's grown since I was here last. Squeezed out the old deli, I see. Shove my bike over a cement wall between the lot and a lane. It's curved and jagged, looks more like a little ice-carved ridge than a human wall. Park my bike there and look around. Price some possible cars.

That night at home, my purse goes missing. Stand embarrassed in the long line for the Complaints Counter in the parlor, where the landlady deals with complainers. But before I reach her, my money miraculously returns to my hand, money and all. It can't be, but it is. Just oozed into my hand, like a snowflake melting backwards. Suddenly I realize the miracle means I must have been dreaming!

Not I AM dreaming... just back then, a minute ago. I never woke, so really I still must be dreaming, but I refuse to accept that. It feels too real, and I'm too me.

I guess my dreams set out to prove me wrong--for on my way up the stairs to my room, I'm kidnapped by Arctic leprechauns. Flat arctic landscape. Me, foreground, in a brown coat and red fuzzy hat, looking over my shoulder. I'm blonde with greenish eyes and pointed ears.

Well, sort of. I mean they ARE arctic leprechauns, no doubt about that, the "sort of" part is the kidnapping. They insist it's a rescue--I'm one of them!

Or to be exact, I'm a changeling--raised human, but not. "No wonder you've been shy and never fit in" they say. Now I'm old enough to learn the magic ways of my heritage.

So that's why the kids made fun of my ears. I always wore a fuzzy hat. My heritage. Uh huh.

But I accept it all, like I've accepted most things in my life. Why not? Should I fight to go back to my old life in that mildew room by the highway?

So here we are in a hollow hill in the woods--their magic school. Schedules, classes, duties... I take it all very seriously. But after the first few lessons, the other changelings (both directions) start picking up magic and showing it off. I don't have any talent, not a one. I just mope around and study stuff I'll never do. I just don't have it. Not in me.

I keep to myself mostly. Stand out, and sorry for it. Feel ashamed how standoffish I am toward folks who are trying to do right by me. But I just don't fit in their magic world.

Still I keep plugging away at it. Didn't fit back in town, either. Patience. I know that one. Use it.

One day, I overhear one of the changeling trainees saying as if it's common opinion, "her gentle wisdom..." Wonder which teacher she's talking about. Shocked when her friend says my name. She meant ME! Gentle wisdom? Like what? Like "Loneliness and not fitting in won't kill you?"

Most of them knew they were changelings. I think that's the difference. Not knowing why I didn't fit in made me under-value myself. And drift along, too.

And maybe something else. Something I don't see. But if these magical changelings can spot some value in me, I'd better try to.

Or else go back to my boarding house and work in the truckstop store, till I die alone.

2000 NOTE:

Hi. This is Wayan 19 years later. I just read The Moorchild by Eloise McGraw, the tale of a changeling much like my dream. Rather than focusing on the parents trying to get back their true child, or the human growing up among fairies as a toy or a slave... what of the false child, the fey child dumped among humans? The traditional treatment for a changeling was to throw the imposter in the fire, or down a well. A handy excuse for infanticide, if you didn't like your kid... It hurt to read Moorchild. Gave me flashbacks to my own ostracism. Still... McGraw's changeling lives, struggles, and wins love in the end.

Greetings, fellow changelings. Hope you find the same.

LISTS AND LINKS: I'm Just Not Myself Today - cross-gender dreams - cross-species dreams - dream beings - elves and fairies - Wayan dreams of Canadian elves again in Elf Rangers? - sexy dream creatures - polar dreams - loneliness - belonging and community

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