Where’s Aunt Sally when I need her?

I had a strange dream early this morning.  It was the kind of dream in which my conscious self knows that I’m dreaming and even talks to me as the action of the dream is unfolding about the fact that I’m dreaming.  It was my conscious self that ended the dream, that made the decision to open my eyes and wake up so that the dream would stop.

In the dream, my worst ex was in my apartment.  This isn’t the Morphine Man or Vlad or any other ex I’ve mentioned.  This is the dangerous, abusive man I never talk about here.  And he didn’t show up in this apartment.  I was living in some enormous loft/performance space, similar to the loft I lived in when I was dating that man, only much, much bigger (and with the performance space my actual apartment, sadly, lacked).

This man — let’s call him Michael — came into my room and woke me up, yelling and threatening me with … I don’t know what.  I had done something to piss him off and he had come to exact some revenge.  He was advancing through the apartment, breaking things, tearing things off of shelves and flinging them against the walls.

I was scared, but I was also surprised to see him, surprised that he would suddenly be there, in my house, in my life.  I watched him come toward me, watched the mess he was making of my home, but didn’t do anything.  And that was when I noticed that a) my apartment was a performance space and b) it was full of people, including my brother and some of my friends from college.  I used the distraction of the crowded room to slip out of bed (because of course all of this was happening while I was in bed) and hide, first at one end of the apartment and then at the other. 

My conscious self was annoyed, kept rejecting the idea that Michael would ever come after me in any kind of violent way.  Yes, he was abusive, but not physically.  I started reviewing all the terrible things that happened between us and pointed out to my dreaming self that none of them had involved physical violence.  Dream me was unconvinced and continued to look for a hiding place.

I caught my brother’s eye, and he smiled and patted the air with his hand as if to say, “Calm down.  Everything’s going to be fine.”

I could hear Michael behind me and crouched down so I could crawl under a table … and that was when conscious me decided I’d had enough and snapped my eyes open into my just-before-sunrise room, and I was awake.


Years ago, I read Louise Meriwether’s Daddy Was a Number Runner with my class.  That book was a great experience, gave me a chance to learn so much more from my students than they learned from me.  One day they taught me about number books, about interpreting their dreams so they’d know which number to play.  This was a world I knew nothing about.  Happily, there were plenty of places that still sold those books, and I bought a few to bring to class.  My favorite was Aunt Sally’s Policy Players Dream Book.  My students and I had a great time with the dream books, recording and interpreting our dreams. 

I still have Aunt Sally around here somewhere.  I need to find her.  This is the first dream I’ve remembered in a long time, and the most vivid I’ve had in ages.  Surely my lucky number is in there somewhere.  Hitting Powerball from a dream about Michael would be excellent.  Finally, something positive would come from that unfortunate relationship.

10 thoughts on “Where’s Aunt Sally when I need her?

  1. You had a lucid dream! Cool, man. You knew, or kind of knew, you were dreaming. I would not dare take a stab at interpreting someone else’s dream–it’s so subjective–but I did just read a book that had lots of good ideas for how to proceed: Conscious Dreaming, by Robert Moss. Also, Patricia Garfield’s book Creative Dreaming has many tips for how to turn dream enemies into friends and even benefactors. (If I weren’t obsessed with lucid dreaming, I would have started by saying “I’m sorry you had such a frightening dream,” which I am!)


    1. I may check out those readings, Linda. You’ve reminded me that I’m curious about lucid dreaming. And don’t worry about the frightening part. It was scary for dream me, but me me wasn’t really scared, primarily because I knew it was a dream. I was more surprised to see Michael than afraid of him.


  2. I will say that sometimes things in dreams are quite literal, but quite often they’re highly symbolic. One exercise from Robert Moss’s book that I liked is to try to describe a thing from a dream to someone from another planet: “This guy, he’s big and loud and mean and used to say insulting things to me.” Then maybe ponder what else in your life the description could apply to or be hinting at.

    You know, if this were my dream, I would almost wonder if the large apartment stood for a larger sense of myself, with new and exciting possibilities on the horizon, with the horrible man representing my own self-doubt and self-criticism. (But that’s me; it could be pointing at something entirely different for you.)


    1. I tend to see my dreams as symbols rather than anything literal (except when I’m fever dreaming). When I left home to study in Paris for a year, I had a terrible dream right after arriving in France, a dream in which someone I loved and depended on died. It freaked me out completely, enough to make me get up in the middle of the night and call the States so I could be sure that no one had died. Then I remembered reading that death in dreams means change, and that made so much sense, as my relationship with that person was undergoing a sea change at the time.

      And in truth, if Michael were to show up on my door step tomorrow, it wouldn’t be a scary or bad thing. It would be shocking, but not awful.


  3. Analysing and dissecting my dreams has been something I have always greatly enjoyed. I have learned so much about myself, how I think and process information and how I interact with others, from interpreting and thinking about my dreams and my “self” in my dreams. Even if the interpretations are bogus, it leads me into a thought process that is fun and has a lot of value for me.

    And, hey, good luck with those Powerball numbers! 🙂


  4. molly

    The name “Michele” is 39 in the Neapolitan number system, which you can find at http://www.curiosandoeditrice.it/smorfia.asp or http://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/La_Smorfia. There’s an alphabetical list of words and events in the first website, and you can consult it to find the corresponding number. With your Spanish you should be able to find most things, but if you have any problem, I’m available for consultation this evening (Italian time). People in Naples always play the numbers for important events, and every number traditionally corresponds to something, allowing people to talk in a sort of code (but one which most people know, or used to know). 71, for example, is the “uomo di merda”, a man full of shit.


    1. I’m not really a number player … though Michael from my dream was. He was obsessed with playing numbers and had a whole system for determining what his numbers for the day were and how to play them. I never got into it, but reading Meriwether’s novel with my students gave me a little window into that part of his life. I’m still thinking about that uomo di merda … and I mean that I’m thinking of how curious that there is such a thing, that the number 71 is associated with him, and that I’m still thinking about Michael, too!


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