I was in a place that felt like a Northeast college town, but in my head I knew I was in California. I was walking down a quaint, brick paved street with a girl who was my roommate. Blond, thin, pretty. I was walking Scarlett. Much of it was just me walking Scarlett - keeping her away from passing cars, stopping her from picking things up off the ground. We walked past a suburban construction site, tree-lined streets...it looked like a cross between Stars Hollow and Everwood. I ended up by myself - I don't know where my roommate ended up - at a doctor's office. The office was very much that of a small town doctor. Homey waiting area, lots of plants and cushioned chairs. Lots of hard wood furniture and flooring. A male doctor with brown hair and wearing a preppy ensemble that included a sweater vest greeted me in the waiting area. We had met before. He examined Scarlett on the ground as if he had done so before and he asked "How long has she been in remission?" A pang of guilt in me as I remembered that my family hadn't taken her to the vet often, and I was ashamed that this doctor somehow knew that she had cancer and I didn't. I couldn't answer. The doctor - who I felt was both a vet and a psychiatrist - invited me into his office. Scarlett and I went in, and my mother was sitting on the couch wearing a bright pink outfit. I was surprised only because she was in the doctor's office. "What are you doing here?" I asked. She just shrugged and smiled. I sat in a chair opposite the doctor and cattycorner to the couch where my mom sat. Conversation that I don't remember for a while. Then suddenly, as I was scratching behind Scarlett's ears I felt a strong pang like something was wrong. Something was off, but I didn't know what. Then I realized it, slowly. "Scarlett shouldn't be here." I said. I looked at my mother. "You shouldn't be here." Then a pain wrenched my heart. I knew I was dreaming, and I knew that both of them are dead.
I looked at the doctor, confused. "They shouldn't be here." I said. He looked at me as if he understood. Then I said "They're dead, aren't they?" "Yes, I'm sorry. They are." Scarlett went from sitting on her haunches to laying down, and I thought she was reverting back to death, but she was only lying down. I patted her. Then I looked at my mom, who was calm as could be. I started to cry a little. "I don't wanna go now." I said. "I don't wanna wake up yet." "It's OK." she said. "You can do it. It's OK." "OK." I said. I reached out for her hand, and she held it, and her holding my hand felt like a hug. I looked at the doctor, and he nodded.
Suddenly, I was awake in an enormous bedroom that was mine (but wasn't mine). I sat up in bed - could see myself (or rather, a thinner, dream version of myself) getting up, as if I were in a movie - and sighed over the dream. I looked up at my desk, and there was an iridescent fairy sitting on an elaborate perfume bottle (apparently mine). She was about five inches tall with long, green hair covering her little, naked fairy self except for her wings, crying over the sadness of my dream as if she knew what I'd just woken up from. As if that had been something she'd watched. "Oh, my!" she exclaimed between sobs and sniffles. "That was so very sad!" "I know!" I replied, sighing. "Wasn't it?" As if having a fairy sitting on a perfume atomizer on my desk in my room were the most natural thing in the world.
After the channel switched in my head one more time, I woke up for real.
That was the first time (that I can remember) I ever woke up from a dream in my dream. I dreamed this last night after a day where I'd comforted two people I know through parental illness/death. As I replied to one of them this morning via email, I realized something. I didn't really get to say goodbye to my mother. I mean, I did - sort of. But by the time I got to the hospital, even though the machine hadn't been turned off yet, she wasn't conscious, and she had a tube down her throat. I don't know if she heard me say goodbye or not.
So maybe this was my brain's way of giving me a goodbye?