Dreamed 1976/10/2 by Chris Wayan
I read a book on Gestalt psychology, trying to understand why my girlfriend Kay is so mad all the time. At me, at men, at herself. In the evening she builds up again to a huge eruption.
Finally Kay grabs a razor, and while she doesn't SAY she's debating whether to attack me or cut herself, by the way she glares at me, I know she wants me to contemplate both possibilities. They both scare me to death. For an hour she walks around in a brooding rage, clutching the razor.
At last she puts it down without slashing herself or me, but by then I'm physically drained from worry and fear, I'm physically sick. And will be tomorrow--maybe days.
I can't take much more of this.
I'm a woman in an interstellar society that's liberated, far more enlightened than old Earth--isn't it? I'm visiting a far planet, which is symbolized for simplicity (my dream has a low budget) by a mossy-green hanging gully, near sea-cliffs, with oaks above. Here I meet a female of the local species of people. Her aura feels like Kay, but happier; she's a moth-girl, tallish and slender, with translucent skin like jade, and lacy wings, and antennae like springy feather boas, and big crystalline eyes. Cute!
She's recording an act of "justice", by drawing a spiky thin trickle of red down the flank of a clear world-globe. I say "it seems like the world is bleeding. Bloody justice--I couldn't be proud of it."
She says "Neither am I... though others are."
I smile, say "They're the same everywhere."
We become friends, and soon grow into lovers. Her name is M'ree.
Later, we're in a mansion symbolizing the country of a bald spidery man called the Judge. Here we must pass ten trials, with the Judge presiding. The place looks odd, but then it's built to try people from all over the galaxy. Food comes out from rubbery ropes along the edges of the floor in each room, like heavy electrical cords. The food outlets are buds like Brussels sprouts, color-coded for people of various biochemistries. M'ree and I can both eat blue-green, though it turns out she can eat several other colors without getting sick. A tough metabolism.
I've forgotten most of the trials, but we both make it through the first seven.
The 8th trial is in a huge room all of wood. I and many others must line up and go see the Judge, who sits behind a big desk. The person ahead of me is given what looks like a silver fish, but only gets one look at it before the fish disappears. Next it'll be my turn to grab the fish. M'ree says "Wouldn't you rather hear what I have to say about my own life?" And really, I would. But her words make me angry--doesn't she trust me to master this trial? So I turn away, go face the Judge.
Damn! My fish disappears too. Vanishes so fast, it seems to be only the image of a fish. I realize it's a spirit--my soul. I'm supposed to show the judge my soul!
I'd still rather listen to M'ree's story, but again I put her off--it's time for the ninth trial. A cylindrical drum lies on its side, on humming rotors, like a tiny cement mixer or a lapidarist's rock-polisher. Inside are smaller cylinders of copper and... iron? Glass? Stones, too. The big drum turns, the objects roll. As they turn they polish each other smooth. The test is to reach in and sort the contents by their rarity and value. M'ree mutters "This test makes no sense" but I ignore her and go ahead. I win, but by challenging and distracting the Judge--win by verbal tricks. These trials are fallible! Are people bribing their way through? Is the Judge a demon, just here to corrupt and harass us? I'm suspicious now, but I'm so close to the end, I decide to face Trial Ten.
It's the worst of all. I must fight a Gryphon. M'ree asks, "What's a Gryphon?" I describe them--lion body with a giant eagle-head, often with eagle-wings, too. We walk through the exit from Ninth Test Hall to find there is no Tenth--just a junction of three corridors, left, right, and straight ahead, all running to infinity.
WIth no warning that Test Ten has begun, the Gryphon zooms up from infinity. It's so fast! I turn into a lion, but not quickly enough; can't hit him. The Gryphon zooms up pounces and zooms away to infinity again. Here he comes again! I bare my lion claws this time and swipe at him, but fall back in fear--that triple-sized eagle beak could slash me in two.
Am I HIM, am I fighting myself? My shock and disorientation make the scene fade... I wake, trembling.
I feel such regret. I neglected M'ree, neglected love, to battle this Judge and his Griffin... what misdirected energy!
NOTES NEXT MORNING
I think my following my fears and getting suckered into challanges just provoke Kay's rages, make them worse.
ACTION: start following my wants, not my fears. And if THAT doesn't work, then Kay IS just trying to use me as a punching bag! In which case it's time to leave her--and find a M'ree.
A NOTE YEARS LATER
Today I see the dream more simply. Rather than warning me about a subtle fear of missing things, I think it was a warning that, for whatever reason, I believed life is full of judges and trials and challenges... and I felt obliged to meet them all. Challenges that might better be declined. Challenges like Kay.
Life with Kay was a perpetual war. She called it love, but it wasn't for me. M'ree was begging me to leave the war zone, find love that felt like it.
But I couldn't listen--then. I stayed with Kay another couple of years, destroying my confidence and wrecking my health before I finally left. It took years to heal.
Trial Eleven was the hardest. To walk away from a challenge.
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