An Unsettling Dream

I had a strange dream last night, and I’ve felt strangely gutted by it for much of the day, so I’m going to write about it.

The dream begins in a city neighborhood. It’s a hilly neighborhood, as I walk uphill past rowhomes that were built probably around 1920 based on the architecture. At one point, I actually go in one of the homes to visit someone on the second floor. I go up the stairs, and what seems like a landing is actually a television room, and there’s a family sitting on a couch watching television. There’s an older man there, maybe in his sixties?

I’m back out on the street, and I continue walking up the hill. In the distance, over the neighborhood, I see a dome for a cathedral-esque church beyond. It’s something of a narrow dome, but it’s tall. It’s quite prominent. Seeing it makes me feel happy, because I know I’m getting close to my destination. I’m going to a comic book convention, and I’m really excited because I’m going to meet Jim Mooney there.

(Mooney was a comic book artist who worked from the 1940s onward, on characters ranging from Spider-Man to Supergirl. I genuinely have never given Mooney a second thought. Yet, Mooney is absolutely clear as part of this dream, and I have no idea why.)

I’m in a house. Why? It’s not clear. But the house is flooding. There are young children there. There’s a man shouting, “The pumps! The pumps!” And I find myself looking for the pumps. “In the basement!” I rush down a wooden staircase into the basement.

There’s a smell of mold and mildew, but surprisingly the basement is generally bright and empty. Given that there was flooding, oddly there’s no water here. There’s a room to the left, I go through the door, and there’s a pump. It’s on, it’s operating, it’s good.

I go to share the news, and there’s a frail, elderly man at the bottom of the stairs, surrounded by the children. He’s their great-grandfather. He was, in his youth, a giant of a man, but now he’s stooped over with age. Yet, even so, he’s close to my height. His fingers are bony and curved.

And he’s weeping. There’s anguish there, genuine and raw.

That’s how it ended. And that’s the image that has stuck with me all day — an elderly man, frail and stooped, weeping from some unknown pain.

I have no idea what the hell was going on in my subconscious or what any of this means. But that image has left me feeling weird and unsettled all day. My hope is that, by writing it out, I can settle that unsettled feeling.

3 thoughts on “An Unsettling Dream

    1. No, not especially.

      My mom asked me if it could have been something I was reading. No, it wasn’t that, either, as I’d been reading Marie Phillips’ The Table of Less Valued Knights, an absurdist take on the Arthurian legends.

  1. And so did writing about it help dispel the unsettled feeling? I know it does for me – when troubled, particularly when the source is hard to identify, I find that writing things down often brings either clarity or detachment enough to let it go. Anyway, I hope the weirdness has passed for you.

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