Diffused through the slats of venetian blinds—the sepia hued light casts strange contours across the room. The tick-tocking from our pendulum clock brakes an otherwise eery silence.
I rub the sleep from my eyes—must have zonked out here on the sofa and have no idea what time of day it is. It feels like dusk but regardless—I’m going to make a cup of coffee.
Leaning forward to rise off the sofa, I notice a handful of photographs scattered about the coffee table. They’re snapshots capturing some old unfamiliar family outing. I rake them together and begin to rifle through.
The images are of my wife and me at a picnic somewhere, along with our two daughters. The photos transport me back to an event that seems to have taken place decades ago. Abandoned playground equipment in the background appears to be from the 1960s era.
I’m intrigued by one particular shot of the four of us perched around a picnic table. Sitting on this table is a weaved basket covered with a red gingham cloth. Oddly, the only color pigment in this black and white photo is the red of the cloth.
I look like a crewcut boy and an old man all at the same time. Our oldest Janene at times becomes our granddaughter Julia, and Cherie becomes Molly. I rub my eyes again—I really need that caffeine.
As I toss the photo back on the pile I notice a strange hologram effect. I pick it up and study it closer. The photo seems to have come alive. Turning it in my hand reveals a different perspective. I can see into it far beyond the boundaries of its border.
Low floating clouds cast blotchy shadows over the wide expanse of the grove. A boy enters the scene—it’s Jacob. He’s laughing and running and eating Jay’s Potato Chips. He’s sprinting across the freshly cut meadow with our Blue Heeler Sadie. They’re being chased by Julia, Molly, and a girl he calls Mya. The girls are pelting them with eggs filled with confetti and chase Jake into a courtyard where he hides in a church.
I try to follow behind but lose sight of him down a long narrowing hallway lined with doors that connect to more halls with yet more doors. Squeezing through the cramped passageways I begin to panic realizing I’m now lost deep within this labyrinth. I desperately attempt to retrace my steps but the halls are now too narrow for me to pass back through. The growing anxiety feels like carbonation rising up through my chest making it almost impossible to draw a satisfying breath. Just at the point of suffocation I abruptly awake—to the tick-tocking of our pendulum clock.
I could really use that coffee now.
Dreams are a peculiar phenomenon—they say everyone has them. Even our dog Sadie would yap and attempt to run in her sleep as if she were chasing something. For the most part I seldom recall my nightly escapades the next morning. When I do, they often seem to reflect either my greatest fears or deepest desires—sometimes both.
Do they mean anything, or are they just the result of a mind left unattended?