Monday, October 27, 2014

Coming Out of a Dream

I just had a crazy dream, or at least I hoped it was a dream.

At first, I was in different houses, my grandma's house, my house, and then a freind's house where I'd been taking care of plants. Then, I woke up, or at least I thought I woke up. I was trying really hard to drag myself out of my unconsciousness because someone was in my kitchen making noise. My kitchen. It had registered as Mike since the person was making himself comfortable. I even heard creaking on the steps as he went back downstairs. But it dawned on me that Mike wouldn't be home yet. I heard footsteps downstairs. By now, I had my eyes open but I wasn't awake. Do you know that agonizing feeling when you're trying desperately to drag yourself out of sleep but you're still paralyzed except for your eyes?

Then, I heard growling from our bedroom. It was a deep warning. I wondered why Teddy had been in there without me. But my open eyes saw that Teddy was on the couch next to me, calmly looking at me. Ears dropped, eyes sleepy. Some of that desperate fear subsided, but not all of it.

I actually thought the steps and the growling were real and I'd woken to some strange stuff happening in my house. But the dog was calm. Where was the cat?

I still couldn't get up. I still could only move my eyes. The house still had a smoky smell from a back-draft in the flue. When power went out, we had started a fire, but had to crack some windows open to clear the air. A few windows downstairs were slightly open, but upstairs, it was pretty thick. I wondered, as I tried to clear my head, if the smoke was getting to me. I was still too groggy, but coming awake faster now that I thought the noises might be real.

And then, there was silence. My ears strained to hear something more in my house. Isn't it funny how the suspense raises the hair on your neck when there's a prolonged silence in a room after a strange noise?

Since Teddy was still calmly lying next to me, I told myself it was all a dream. Teddy didn't go nuts when someone came into the house, but he didn't just lie there with his ears hanging limply on his head either.

Our last dog, Indiana, used to go nuts. She even knew if it was friend or foe, mostly. She was good at distinguishing friends from strangers, even through the door. But she hated people in uniform. How could she tell that through the door? I guess Jehovah's Witness folks are as good as uniformed, because she hated them too. Police? No good, even though I tried to get her to understand that they were using their power for good. And delivery guys?

Oh, she hated delivery guys the most, with one exception. She loved our mail man. He gave her cookies. So, without even looking out the window, I could tell if it was the US Postal Service wherein she'd emit happy dog noises, or some other delivery people. With the others, she sounded vicious. How could such a nice dog in general sound, through the door, like she was going to tear the person on the other side apart? I tried to tell her that I wanted those packages. Indiana hated Fed Ex and UPS equally though I always had a softer spot for UPS. Don't ask me why. I tried to tell her that she didn't have to protect me, but she did anyway. Once, as I stood on the back deck in the night, just breathing in the cool air, she growled into the darkness. I have to tell you - that dog would have taken a bullet for me. I'm glad she never needed to.

Teddy is equally nonchalant about any of our delivery guys, even the water guy. If they don't ring the doorbell, I'd never know they'd came. Oh, he might get riled up a bit when a dog jumps up on me too vigorously at the dog park, but he doesn't really have the air of a protector. He's more of a kid that way, more innocent. But I've noticed that I can trust Teddy to be alert when there's a bear or some other creature in the woods. He might not have been appropriately cautious about that bear we saw in the woods last month, but I could tell we weren't alone. He looked more excited about her and her cubs than protective.

So, I looked at Teddy again as I quietly got up from the couch. Teddy was ready to go back to sleep. I casually checked that the cat was also calm. Not upstairs. I tried not to let the steps creak as I went downstairs but it was futile. Calm cat? Seth has been known to get protective, once growling and jumping up onto a relative who was playing too roughly with Nick. I love that about Seth. He's also been known to wake us up in the night when the pack of coyotes run across the back deck. Once, he woke me up and I went to the door and smelled cigarette smoke out there. So was Seth on alert?

Nope. He was curled up on the futon downstairs by the wood stove which had recently been put into action because of the power outage. After the power came on, I had fallen asleep upstairs in my usual spot after getting the water pressure started and checking the stuff in the freezers before they refroze. Then I had gone back to sleep in a warm house. It was a luxury I needed after sleeping poorly in a cold house for two nights.

So, when all the footsteps and the growling happened, I assumed that what I'd heard was my dream. Just to make sure, I opened the front door.

Yes, I am one of those people in a horror flick who always open the front door when they're wondering if there is trouble outside. I do. I admit it. I'd probably be the first one killed in one of those movies.

And there was a package. UPS!

Footsteps? Growling? I had probably heard all of that through the downstairs window which was slightly open. I wasn't used to hearing outside sounds. I had translated them into my dream. I had changed the truck's engine into a protective dog.

Well, I'm awake now.

Thank you for listening, jules

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