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    One Must Imagine Sisyphus Happy

    Theater

    by , 05-31-2016 at 07:02 AM (299 Views)

    I am in a large multi-purpose room with many people. The room has been set up for a theater performance, with banks of folding chairs all facing toward one end that will serve as the stage. Maybe it's a community program or charity benefit. I am here with the family, but I quickly separate from them and find me own seat somewhere in the middle.

    In the front, a few of the actors are milling about, chatting with patrons before the performance. I recognize a few people from high school. That makes me groan. I turn my attention to the crowd. They are settling into the seats, but they are also moving the chairs. There's supposed to be a few clear aisles between the banks of chairs, but as the people move their seats, the aisles shift and become crooked or blocked. I groan again. Why can't people just accept and let things be? But of course, I'm being a hypocrite. Realizing this, I become a mess of frustration, partly directed outward and partly inward.

    The group of seats I am in has become a single column of chairs, such that there is no one to my immediate left or right. Again, I am conflicted. Isn't this nice? Like having a row to yourself in an airplane. But on the other hand, it's just a poor allocation of space and a mockery of the well-laid plans of the organizers of this event. The other people in my column have decided to move to the left, joining the nearest bank. So I go along too. Now I have someone to my left, and the open aisle to my right.

    The play begins. It is billed as The Frogs but I quickly realize it is actually Othello as evidenced but a character named Iago in the first scene. I watch disinterestedly. The actors aren't any good; they are just volunteers. I turn my attention once again to the audience in the hopes of people-watching. Quickly, though, my interest is drawn to the person sitting to my left, who is an attractive young woman.

    She has fair skin and dark hair gathered into a pony tail. She wears a light blue tank top and black or navy leggings. I smile at my own luck. My gaze draws hers and our eyes meet. She smiles shyly. She twists in her seat a bit, so that she is facing more toward me and her legs rub against mine. I place a hand on her thigh. Her eyes close, as if savoring this intimate connection. I slide my hand up her thigh, but as I get too high, her attitude suddenly changes. She slaps my hand away and turns her body away. A few people nearby turn to gawk. I feel ashamed and embarrassed. I must have gone too far.

    Now I feel the urge to use the bathroom. Maybe it's a convenient excuse to leave this situation. I give one glance at the actors. They are still hamming it up. I stand out of my seat and navigate the crooked aisles to the exit. I pass a hallway and find a bathroom. It has full-length windows on one side, so the room is brightly lit by sunlight and offers no privacy. The floor is also flooded with about an inch of water. At least I hope it's just water. I cringe and tip-toe toward a urinal.

    As I'm doing my business, a man approaches and gets my attention. He's a deliveryman. He shows me a package and points to the label with the address. He's asking if this is the right address. I look at it and say yes, but this is the bathroom. He ought to continue one door down, where they might accept the package. He leaves. Another deliveryperson arrives, this time a woman. The same conversation repeats. Isn't it obvious this is the men's room? I am a bit frustrated but mostly just amused. I finish. I'm pretty sure I didn't wash my hands, but, well, it's just a dream.

    I return to the main room. I look for a seat other than the one next to the girl in blue. But the only one I see is next to my family. Ugh. I'll take my chances with the girl. I sit back down, trying not to draw attention to myself. I peek at the girl, but I can't judge a reaction from her neutral expression and posture.

    Time passes. Eventually I make eye contact with her, but still no clue from her facial expression. Instead, she spreads her leg out to meet mine. But it's a cautious gesture. I'm not sure if she wants to get closer, or if she's using her leg as a guard to keep me at a distance. We remain in this stalemate a while as the play drones on up front. I steal glances at her. She is very pretty and I feel very sorry for having offended her earlier. But I don't see any graceful way to reconcile.

    She makes the first move. Once again, I smile at my luck. She shifts her body toward me. Her leg is still against mine. Now her whole side is leaned up against me and her head tilts on my shoulder. She takes my hand in hers and places it on her leg near her knee. "You can touch me," she whispers.

    I am relieved, but still cautious. I leave my hand on her leg, but don't move it up. I look to might right, scanning the crowd. Perhaps I'm trying to act nonchalant. I look at the spot where my family had been earlier. But instead of them, I see a woman in a red dress. The Goddess.... She gives me a stern look. We don't speak much lately. I feel a multitude of emotions. I give her an expression as if to say: Let me explain?

    The play is ending. People are standing up. The girl stands too and my hand leaves her lap. I look at her. She looks at me. We remain in eye contact as she starts to back away, following the crowds as they begin toward the exits. I try to read her expression and body language, but I can't be sure. Why can't people just say what they feel? Sigh. I'm being a hypocrite again. After a protracted gaze, she turns and disappears into the crowd. I turn back to the right, looking for The Goddess. She is gone too.

    I wake. My first thought, true to my erudition, was why the play was either The Frogs or Othello and what symbolism that would share with my ill-fated romance. I will ponder that.

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