I usually write a poem for these dreams but this one was so vivid and I was just so alert when I woke up that… I dunno, it felt better staying in prose than verse. This is a little longer than my typical flash fiction but let’s just call it that? But it’s really just a dream.
I was at a wedding. In summer. I only know that because I was sweating buckets. My grandma can’t get around very well so any time we go out anywhere with her either myself or my cousin is appointed to help her. Or we take turns. Today was my turn. It’s not a job that I enjoy, so I tend to wander off any chance I get. I know my granny. She will not get up without her cane and/or someone to support her. While I was off doing literally nothing, really just enjoying the scenery, it was a really beautiful wedding, I notice that she’s on the move. So I’m immediately yelling “Granny! Wait! I’ve got your cane! I’m coming!” And I’m waving it overhead.
It may serve to describe the elaborate design of the venue. Elaborate does not do it justice. There were so many steps and cobblestone, an elderly person’s worst nightmare. Or at least it was my worst nightmare for an elderly person. Well, it my worst nightmare for my granny anyway. But there she is, taking each step like it’s nothing. And my granny takes calculated steps. It’s normally a feat (I know, I’m hilarious) if we can get her feet off the ground, she usually just shuffles about. In fact at the last wedding we went to that had steps, when we happened upon them I said “Wait” and turned to the large score of people behind us and said go ahead rather than inconvenience all of them for a collective twenty minutes. She would need to catch her breath after each step. She’s old and she’s obese and she’s got breathing problems. It is what it is.
But there she was. She may as well have been skipping up and down those steps while I found a way over to her, yelling for the whole time. There was just this huge divide. It was like that magically convenient plot device of a rift that opened up between Kylo and Rey in Episode Seven, except it was just hordes of people and balconies and gorgeous architecture. Maybe she doesn’t need me, I thought. But all it’ll take is one wrong step and WHAM. And I was supposed to be watching her. I would be blamed. This would be my fault. This could not be my fault. I am not responsible for my grandmother’s sudden ability to skip. Not in the slightest. I mean, good for her. I’m just not convinced she can be trusted with this… Really, just how is she doing that? And why is this is an outside wedding in summer? Am I the only sane person who values air conditioning around here?
But now I couldn’t remember how to get back over to her and the distance between us seemed to be increasing exponentially. I had been a little bit above her so I thought well maybe if I can just find some stairs that’ll bring me down there. Wrong. First set of stairs I happened upon was seemingly never-ending. I just kept climbing down and down and down. Of course on many occasions I had thought, I have made a grave mistake in choosing this spiral staircase. But there was always just this accompanying thought, surely it’s not much further, because I couldn’t see very far below me so I couldn’t be sure how much progress was needed to complete this crucible.
The most frustrating part was that someone had taken the time to line walls these tiny sodas that you might find at a wedding perhaps. And I was sooo thirsty. But I don’t drink soda so I just ignored them. Which, looking back on it now, not sure this was really the time to be making dietary decisions, but hey, it’s dream. It was really strange through, there were always little breaks in the walls you could see through and down below was the wedding, going on like normal. It gave me the feeling that I was somehow in a gigantic pillar with a staircase inside, and every time I’d glance outside, the wedding would seem only a few more steps away. Of course not.
About five minutes in, I’m really starting to panic. Granny has most definitely tripped by now. She’d live through that. She had a million times. Right? I’m taking these steps like three at a time, exhausted. Not sure what’s moving my legs at this point because it sure isn’t me. My hands can hardly grip the railing from all the sweat either. An image of Granny lying on the ground flashes through my head and it sends me into another panic. I was out of breath thirty seconds in. Who am I kidding? Surely someone from my immediate family is nearby to help, they always are. Just calm down. It’s a wonder that I was allowed to get that far from her with her cane in the first place. Not like she even needed it! Since when can she skip??? The thought jars me. I trip but just barely catch myself by the wall. I pull myself up on the railing and take a step forward and trip again, knocking a soda or two down as my hand locks around the bar one more time. Shit, I think, I’m dehydrated for real, aren’t I?
This isn’t good. I’ve been running on fumes for a while. I’ve gotta get to the bottom or I’m not gonna get any help. Slowly. Each move needs to be calculated. I look at the sodas mocking me as I struggle to stay standing. I just need to drink one. I reach for one but now there’s nothing keeping me grounded, so I and several soda bottles come tumbling down a few steps. Ow. What am I even playing at? I don’t have the strength to take the lid of one of those things anyway.
But there I am, somehow on my feet, dizzy as hell and sure to come tumbling to the floor any second now. But there are more sodas here now. Right here by my hand. A mountain of them. Oh, I can still move my fingers. Maybe I can clink them together and someone’ll hear. Ohhh I’m gonna puke. Nope it’s a— (dry heave) I fall into the sea of soda bottles and the next thing I know, someone’s tilting a gallon jug of water into my mouth and I’m waking up in my bed with a sore throat.