I dream in mazes.
Not every dream, not every time, but often, I find myself in mad turnings and familiar-but-alien places, unable to leave and unable to stop trying.
They come in identifiable kinds. Sometimes, I am in the Impossible House, and there seem to be too many floors and too many doors and too many unnerving sounds from somewhere else in the building.
Other dreams find me in the Impossible School, a version of either my high school or a building on the campus where I did my graduate work. Both of those real-life buildings are (or were — my HS has been demolished) themselves a bit strange, featuring floors that don’t quite match up with expectations and other access issues. In my dreams, I am forever on the wrong staircase or in the wrong hallway.
Still others take place in the Impossible Town, a place I can always find and can always navigate my way through, but can never quite leave. It’s made up of the streets of everyplace I’ve ever lived or visited, with their features and buildings tumbled up against each other in senseless neighborhoods of memory. The minute I try to leave town, the turns are all wrong, and the landmarks all turn back on themselves.
Once, it was a cornfield around a lost dystopia. Just once.
This morning, I was wandering in the Impossible Mall again. I had gone there with my brother, searching for a quick shortcut through to a street on the other side that I knew would have some decent restaurants on it. We were in London, Dream-I thought — at any rate, a lot of the less familiar corridors in the Impossible Mall ended in tube stations, and the accents were a broad variety of UK types. I lost my brother within five minutes of entering the mall, and every time I tried to text or call him, I was interrupted by something (changing floors, being crowded, etc). I passed stores that were barely stores, and others that tried to be everything to everyone. I stopped at a sort of organic bakery, where I talked to a woman who was constantly cutting bread samples while I selected some bread mixes and recipes to take with me. Eventually, that conversation just got a little too weird, so I left. After a few dozen other wrong turns, I ended up in a place where there was a sort of little acoustic jam going on. A guy was playing, and other people were waiting and watching. When he switched to his very strangely built electric guitar, I woke up, and the little thunderstorm outside was done.
I dream in mazes.