Last night my oldest son called me on FaceTime and announced, "I'm engaged." This came as a great surprise because, as far as I know, he hasn't been seeing anyone. As I stared at the iPad screen, he tugged his monastic beard and leaned back, admitting a woman into the digital range. She appeared very small, child-sized in fact, and her features were poorly defined as if hand molded in imperfect clay. "She's an indigenous Australian," he explained. "From Tasmania." She opened her mouth to smile, and a pink conch snail slithered out from between her worm lips.
Next, I was sitting at my kitchen table with my hands politely folded around a teacup while my husband explained to me that he was taking another wife. "You said you liked that book about polygamy," he said. "So I figured you wouldn't mind." Next to him, Sandra Bullock smiled at me. She was dressed in the gown she wore to the 2015 Academy Awards, and appeared perfectly coiffed except for the blot of spinach that covered one of her front teeth, like a green grill.
A pain in my shoulder woke me up. "Hey! You're shouting," my husband shook me awake. "You woke me up." He stuffed foam plugs into his ears. He's not a callous man, he's just sleep deprived. Before he dug his head under his pillow, he said: "Maybe you shouldn't take Melatonin anymore." Melatonin is naturally occurring hormone that signals the brain to sleep. The magic elixir; I'd been taking it every night. Sure it caused hallucinogenic dreams, but what did I care? I slept!
I turned on my side and reassembled my limbs to a fetal posture. That would surely inspire more pleasing dreams. I practiced my deep breathing exercises. In, two, three, four. Out, two, three, four.
My sister and I were riding bikes on a narrow path on the coastline of Greece. She rode ahead of me. I could see the bright red backs of her arms where she'd forgotten to apply sunscreen. Her curly hair whipped out from under her hat. She curved her head around, twisting to shout something to me when a wild boar stepped in front of her tire. Her bike hit the animal and cartwheeled into the air. As I watched, she and her bike soared out over the clear turquoise water, falling three hundred feet. I wasted no time. As I was already wearing my rappelling harness, I jumped over the rocky cliff-side and began traversing the loosely packed mountain. I declined furiously, my heart nearly bursting from my chest. About twenty yards down, Magua, the villain in Last of the Mohicans, reached out to grab me. He menaced me with his long scythe but I managed to escape. I kicked away a pack of hyenas who were on vacation from their jobs as extras in The Lion King. Eventually I detached my harness and let myself fall. I would save her. I would save my sister.
"That's it!" My husband jolted from the bed, bouncing me awake. "I'm sleeping in the other room."
I wanted to call him back, but then I saw the rainbow tethers that followed him out of the room and I knew I was still conjuring psychedelic visions. I would have to be nice to him in the morning. I saw scrambled eggs and rye bread toasted just the way he liked it, double dark. I smelled coffee.
Come to think of it, maybe I'd better lay off that melatonin.