A House Possessed
Last night, I dreamt that I came into possession of what I insinctively knew was my ancestral home. It was beautiful; it was all mine, and it was only mine. The first two floors were rooms and rooms of books, of old carpets, musical instruments, kitchens and dining rooms. The third floor consisted entirely of bedrooms; innumberable, small, cozy rooms crammed with overstuffed down beds and lit only with short bedside lamps. This floor itself was smaller than the other three, going by square-footage (dream geometry). The fourth floor, however, was by far the most expansive, its borders stretching beyond my vision. The floor was made of hard dark wood and blonde wood in a chessboard pattern, but the squares were all at different levels; I climbed from square to square like stairs. Lost somewhere in the center of this room, leaking through a few low squares, was a dark garden pool; it was small, but the sound and smell and cool feel of the water filled the huge room. There were no lights. I don't know if there was even ceiling (if there was, it was high). Instead of walls, the room was entirely bound by glass - no frames; only windows. Even at night, when I first saw it, the room was lit by the landscape outside. Green glowing land rolling lush and voluptuous for miles, stretching until it met black pine forest. And only my house at the center all of these miles.
But just as I came into my own in this home was it seized by strangers, many of whom, to be specific to the non-logic of dreams, were involved in organized crime - that's right, my house was taken over by the mafia. And they brought their crime in with them. There was in-fighting, and for the first time, blood in my house. There was a shoot-out in the library and the room next door. I was in the library, saw first the bullet holes peppering with ugly black wounds the aging yellowed wallpaper of the room before I realized there were still bullets whizzing through and threw myself to the ground. I was aware of the sound of the guns, but hadn't connected it with the bullets. But once I was on the thick carpet, I stayed there until all was quiet.
With all of the people the mafia brought, they filled all of the bedrooms. At the end of the night, I climbed the stairs to my room to find the bed filled. Its occupant told me my room was on the fourth floor. Exhausted, I continued to the chessboard room, where I would sleep on one of the hard platforms, high up, to keep dry. There was more of the mafia up there, however, planning a murder. I commanded, then demanded, and finally begged them not to commit such atrocities in my house. The police would come, I reasoned - the police, meaning still another seizure. I suddenly felt, for the first time, vulnerable in the chessboard room, vulnerable surrounded only by glass and sky. I didn't sleep that night - I waited, wandering the squares and looking out at the hills, for the police to come and arrest me and my guests. They never came - I woke up.
A house at battle with itself, invaded by unwanted guests, seized and under seige. Only a house? I wonder. No, I don't wonder - I often ascribe to that belief that the house stands for the body. Since the surgery, my always-already vivid dreams have become even more so real, and more, I've wandered through house after house in them, exploring this new, ever-shifting body. I have shared it with enemies (like the mafia, apparently), but I have shared it with friends, too, sometimes one at a time, sometimes all together, men and women. It has been rich and colorful (I once wrapped its rooms in red and purple curtains and then filled them with cushions; this was in the first two weeks post-op), but it has been spare, as well. Once, it sat on the beach at night. And so many times, I've returned in my dreams to the real-life house, the shithole apartment I shared with two girls during the senior year of my undergrad, but which was finally my own (all my own!) that summer, that I most associated with my body, with which I most (still) identify, and which has become the tangible location of my imagination.