I had this really detailed dream Saturday night. Which isn't all that unusual for me. I am a vivid dreamer. But I remember in the middle of the dream thinking, "this would make a great story," that's also not unusual for me. I often am aware that I am dreaming while I dream. I have really vivid nightmares as well and teaching myself how to redirect a dream is what led to this, I believe.
Anyway, when I woke up I thought about the dream and thought, "yeah, there is a story here." First thing in the morning before I got out of bed I opened my phone and took some notes so I would remember the frame work of the story. Because I was still pretty convinced it was a great story.
Fast forward to yesterday afternoon when I was going to write the story. I opened my phone and read my notes and went over the dream in my head again and...what the hell? None of this makes sense. There are giant gaps here. Which is what happens in dreams. They tend to lurch along. You are in one place then you are in another with totally different people and it all make sense in the dream but how did you get there? Why are you there? And why is there an elephant in the corner?
So I closed my phone down and did not write that story. Go to bed last night and I am in the dream again. And this time the voice in my head says, "You know this is a story, you need to figure out how to write it or you are going to be dreaming it for weeks." So here we are. I still don't think it makes much sense but it's at least going to get the start of story and we will see where it leads.
It was a small apartment. Maybe even smaller than the first apartments she had shared with her husband years ago when they were first married and very broke. It didn't feel like a studio apartment but it wasn't exactly a one bedroom either. The living room would be her bedroom as well. The kitchen was set off from the living area. And there was a good sized bathroom with a dressing area. Which is what made it seem larger than a studio apartment, that extra space with an old fashioned mirrored table and padded bench seat. She thought she would probably move her desk in there and use it as an office area more than a dressing room but wasn't sure if it would be odd to be open to the bathroom like that.
But those decisions were for another day. Today she was tired and ready for bed. It had been a long day moving her small collection of boxes out of the old house and in to the new apartment. She didn't have much anymore. She had sold off or given away the majority of her things over the last year. It had taken a long time to pare down enough to move in to the new apartment. But that was okay, it had taken a long time for the unit to become available. She had decided to rent the smaller space almost right away, after...but when she had come to look and sign the papers they let her know that there was a waiting list. Smaller spaces were harder to find than larger ones it seemed.
She filled out the paperwork and put down the deposit and waited. Starting the process of selling off her life. The books and artwork first. She would only have room for a few things, and since it was back to a rental she wouldn't be putting any holes in the walls. Back to easels and double stick easy release tape for her. Clothes. Some of them were easy choices, after all she didn't need half of the things in the closet anymore, did she? Though she had to admit she kept a few things anyway. There was need and there was want.
She sold almost all of the furniture, knowing that she would have to replace everything with smaller versions or multi-use versions. The couch needed to be a sofa bed. The desk needed to fit in the dressing room, and have storage spaces for her writing supplies. She would need storage that would double as living room and bedroom. Luckily Ikea seemed to have an entire section devoted to such items. It did make her a little depressed to see they were geared toward college age people. She actually sent in a recommendation that they could market them to an older crowd who found themselves downsizing and on their own for...reasons...
She was tired. The long day. The long year. It had all taken a lot out of her. But she was in her new space now. She would finish unpacking tomorrow and start the next phase of her life. She changed in to her new pajamas and made her sofa into her bed. Pajamas were a new thing as well, but she didn't feel comfortable sleeping in the nude in her living room. It just didn't seem like a good idea. Too vulnerable. She reached over and turned off the light.
An hour later the light was switched back on. She startled awake and blinked at the harshness of the glare for a moment before realizing she was not alone. She sat up straight and looked around at the crowd of people in her living room.
"I told you she wasn't going to be ready to go." a woman leaning against her wall said.
"I told you she wasn't going to be ready to go." a woman leaning against her wall said.
"Did you not read the paperwork?"
She looked toward the voice and saw her landlord near the entrance to the kitchen.
"The paperwork I gave you. With the community activities list?"
"Excuse me, let's back up here a bit. Why are you all in my house? I didn't invite you in."
"I told you she was going to be a problem." the woman from the wall said.
"You didn't read any of the paperwork did you? It states very clearly that management must have access to your unit."
"I did read that, but that's for repairs and such. Not for midnight...midnight...what the hell is this exactly?"
"Oooohh...language! Community standards must be met!" the woman near the wall chimed in again.
Her landlord picked up the folder of paperwork she had left on the side table, he handed her a sheet. "Here."
She looked over the paperwork there was an all community work party on November 30th starting at 10 PM. They would be putting up Christmas decorations so they would be ready to go on December 1st. There were also a variety of activities through the holidays. Gift exchanges, pot lucks, caroling. She had known that it was an active community but..."Are these things mandatory?"
"Of course they are mandatory. It says community right there on the top of the sheet, does it not?"
"You can't be serious."
"Did I not tell you that we were an active community when you first applied for the unit?"
"Did I not tell you we looked out for our own here and that is why it was such a good place for...well..people like you?"
"Yes, but again..."
"And did you not say you liked how nice everyone seemed?"
"Well this is how we do things. When you did not arrive for the work party we formed a committee to come wake you up. Because, of course, you must have accidentally fallen asleep. It would be unheard of to miss your first activity. Especially one as important as this one. Imagine our surprise to find you in bed. On purpose."
"I wasn't surprised." the woman from the wall said.
"Look, she obviously doesn't want to be here and be a part of this. Just revoke her lease and move down the list." A new voice added.
She looked over to her left to see another one of her neighbors opening and closing her curtains. "What? You can't just revoke my lease like that."
"Oh yes we can. You signed the paperwork. If you disturb the peace you will be evicted and your deposit forfeited. You even initialed that line."
"I am not disturbing the peace! I was sleeping! You all are the ones disturbing the peace by breaking in to my apartment..."
"Management has the right to access the unit..."
"And demanding that I go help decorate..."
"I was quite peaceful!"
"You are yelling a bit now."
"Of course I am! This is very upsetting."
Her landlord spoke again, trying to soothe everyone's nerves, "There is no need to discuss eviction, just yet, you are new here, and I think most of us understand that it can take a little bit of getting used to. We have lived in such a disconnected world for so long, some of us didn't even know our neighbor's names in our old lives, it's a new sensation. Especially for someone like you who has been living alone for awhile. Please just get dressed and join us. There is no need to make a big deal out of this, for any of us," he pointedly looked toward the woman leaning against the wall, "and we have hot chocolate."
"Fine, I will go. But you all need to leave so I can change. I will meet you...where am I supposed to meet you?"
The woman against the wall made a disgusted sound, "It's on the sheet! Geez, you will have to start reading things, meet us in the rec room. We will expect you within 15 minutes."
She watched as her neighbors all filed out of her apartment. She looked around the cozy space, now feeling bigger and smaller than it did before she went to bed. What was she going to do now? She guessed that first thing tomorrow she would have to read everything in that folder...