Thursday, March 4, 2010

On Mayhem: Getting Dumped

I was minding my own business: I was asleep, actually. Sound asleep. The kind of asleep that covers you more completely than your own blanket, that coaxes you deep down into a dark you weren't even aware you had in you.

But still, I dream. I almost always dream. And last night I was dreaming about glaciers cracking, huge great white/blue chunks of glowing ice floating, breaking apart with a resonating crack I could feel in my bones, crunch between my teeth.

Then I was sliding, having lost my footing atop the glacier, slipping, struggling to find a hold, anything, scrambling. I began to slip, to dangle, white rushing water filling the cracks of the splitting iceberg, rising as I slid, shaved ice shoved beneath my fingernails as I scrabbled for hold.

Just as sometimes we dream of falling and jerk awake just before we hit the ground (for me those dreams often involve someone's front porch, peeling white floorboards, and falling down the steps, I don't know the origin of that recurring image and am afraid to ask), I awoke to a startled cry, jerking myself awake just as I actually hit the floor. Blinking, I looked up to see Whitman, my chubby little Maltese puppy, blinking sleepily down at me from the narrow antique bed in our playroom.

I sat up, only to knock my head against the underside of the tanning bed we use to fold/store clean clothes and blankets. I realized that the startled cry had come from me, and that I had slipped out of the bed - but had I jerked so hard from a falling dream (what had I been dreaming about again? and why was I so cold?)that I had jerked myself right out of bed? Even for me, that's one hell of a dream.

Rubbing my forehead I struggled to my knees and turned to look at the bed. Through the dim I saw that a corner of the head of the bed had... fallen. The bed sank at one corner, inexplicably. I crawled forward and touched the underside of the bed frame - so old that even my mother doesn't know its true age, and I have no memories of my childhood home where this bed was not prominently displayed in what my mother called "the antique room."

Puzzled, I gingerly ran my hands along the frame, fearing splinters but feeling nothing. I patted around on the floor for my glasses (I don't know why, I always place them on the bedside table and they wouldn't be on the floor, but I was still half asleep and dazed and didn't think I would be on the floor, either). I am legally blind, meaning that without my glasses or contacts the world is a fuzzy mess of dull colors and shifting blobs. I have become familiar enough in the house to make very simple trips without ocular aid (from my bed to my attached bathroom in my bedroom, from my bed to the kitchen for the big white blob that is the constant gallon of milk in the fridge, an almost nightly pilgrimage for me) but with the scattered throw pillows, the tangle of blanket and Whitman whining, still aloft on the bed above me, I wasn't comfortable enough to access the situation without my glasses. They were nowhere to be found. (I found them in the morning light right on the table, where I had placed them, on top of one of my grandmother's Bibles.)

I gave up on the investigation of the broken bed (what had I been doing in my sleep?) and decided to try sleeping on the couch, near the bed. (Why doesn't she just go to her bedroom, you may be asking yourself, and that is a fair question. I didn't go to my bedroom, and my own bed, because there were no sheets on my bed. I had stripped them that morning to be washed and hadn't put any more on yet. I was distracted by supper and then American Idol. I'm easily distracted.)

The couch, while comfortable enough for sitting, is hell to sleep on. It is old, worn, sinks in the middle and has a sucking quality which, if you're not careful, will cause you to wake up with one arm tangled among the coiled springs of the ancient monster. After padding the couch with every available pillow and getting Whitman settled back into his sleeping spot behind my curled knees, I tossed and turned for approximately 1,400 hours. Agony. I chased sleep, scrambling on its heels, for what felt like forever. (It was most likely about 20 minutes.)

Finally I gave up on the couch and decided to try the bed - only this time I'd outsmart it. (Keep in mind, this is at around 3 a.m. No one is at their logical best at 3 a.m.) I would sleep with my head at the foot of the bed. HA! Take that, collapsing bed!

This, of course, was something like trying to sleep while sliding down an incline: I found myself holding on to the footboard in my dozy haze, trying to keep from sliding down to the foot of the bed, where half the mattress was now nearly on the floor. I woke up from a light doze once with my arms flung over the footboard, my elbows hooked, basically holding on in my sleep, with Whitman curled around the top of my head to keep from sliding onto the floor.

I raised up and looked at him, nose to nose.

"This isn't working," I told him. I could swear he rolled his eyes.

So I picked up my puppy, my pillow, my blanket and my phone and we trooped to the other end of the house (me feeling the way along walls and bumping into chairs and other random obstacles along the way) to my bedroom, where I flopped onto my bed, never more grateful for it, sheets or no sheets.

This morning I tried to explain what happened in the night to The Dude, who stood at the doorway to the playroom, looking down at the broken bed, which I had already made back up.

"It looks fine to me," he said skeptically, scratching at his thigh clad in Spiderman pajama pants. He glanced at me. "Are you all right?"

"No I'm not all right! I had to hang on for dear life, and it was cold!"

He shut the door, shaking his head.

"It's time for my breakfast, Mom."

I dropped the gallon of milk on the kitchen counter and looked at him. "I don't think you appreciate the gravity of the situation."

He frowned and sat on the edge of the little blue rocking recliner we keep in the kitchen. "The what?"

"The gravity of the situation."

He nodded. "Isn't that... what holds stuff down? Gravity?"

I blinked.

"That's funny," he smiled up at me. "That's what holds stuff down and made you fall out of bed. Gravity." He chuckled.

"You're hilarious," I told him, turning so he coudln't see me smile. "Now what do you want for breakfast?"


  1. okay, let me try this again (it won't let me comment - I think it might be a conspiracy): I have to say I almost envious of your boy and the rich story material he is surrounded by growing up as your son

  2. Simply amazing! You experienced an exciting adventure and you never even left your bedroom! Why can't I dream like that? Now I know where your talent comes from! It's 'the stuff dreams are made of '! Keep it going!

  3. I'm going to say it was a ghost. Perhaps the ghost of Sir Issac Newton himself.

  4. Thanks you guys! Al, I commented on your comment yesterday, but it's gone now :( I said that The Dude definitely will have lots to tell a therapist when he gets older - I guess it comes from being the child of a writer, no?

  5. You've got a brilliant way with words, and it seems as though your son does too. A day in the life of Tomi Wiley, as vivid and colorful as one could imagine. Wonderful story- No one could've said it better.

  6. loving how it reads the way you would think in the middle of the night....kind of jumping around from topic to topic. come to think of it...some of us think like that during the day too. a fun read!

  7. Holy cow! Your son is as funny as mine. Great story!! BTW, I just stalked you via FB but you can't really call it stalking since you allowed our FB friendship....that was a really long segue into my saying, your left wing AND sarcastic? We might be soulmates:)