I awoke from the dream disoriented. What time is it? I can usually sense how early it is by the amount of pre-dawn sunlight breaking through beyond the curtains. Is there a glow? Or is that the Christmas lights outside the window? Did I leave them on all night again?
Wait. What day is this? Oh, right, now I remember. I took the lights down last week. It’s a work day, but it’s not time to wake up just yet. What was I dreaming?
I was in a large room, filled with armchairs and end tables. It looks like a living room, with dark wallpaper and plush carpeting, but it seems to be the waiting area at a fancy business. On the coffee table is a catalog. I think I recognize one of the models on the cover. Maybe her name is Chelsea? Maybe we are friends and I am here to meet up with her? This seems to be a place where fashions are designed and sold. There is a lounging sofa next to where I am sitting, the kind with a curled side arm and no back. On it is a tailored man’s shirt made of a luxurious pink fabric, neatly folded, with a receipt on top. It seems to have cost $50. Is that a good price? I know someone who likes tailored shirts. Maybe I should surprise him with a gift, but how would I get his measurements?
I pick up the catalog and flip through its pages. It is more like a magazine, featuring a different designer profile on each double-page spread. The fashions are outlandish, ridiculous, extravagant. Each turn of the page shows me something entirely new, from bizarre to Lady Gaga crazy. But the glossy pictures imply that someone is proud of these designs, and the existence of the catalog says that people buy these clothes, maybe even wear them. On a deeper subconscious level, I must realize I am dreaming and that these images were created by my own mind. I try to look at the magazine again, to memorize the details, but the images are now blurry.
I look for other things to read while I am waiting. I find a small stack of coupons and advertising leaflets. Shuffling through them, I also find cash intermingled with the slips of paper. Hundreds of dollars are mixed in with cheap tourism mailers. I try to read the blurbs on the coupons, but again I find it difficult to focus on the text. I hear a noise which I believe means an elevator is arriving in the outer hall. I feel guilty for handling the money, but now I cannot remember where it belongs. Where had I found it? Did it go with the shirt on the sofa? Why isn’t there a note with it, to say who left it or what it was for? I wake up, worried that someone will think I was stealing from them.
I want to remember this dream in the morning, but I also want to go back to sleep. I should write it down, but turning on a light and looking for a pen takes me further across the line into wakefulness. I scribble some words down in my notebook, to use as memory triggers later, but it is too late. I have only a single image remaining from the dozens in my fashion catalog. The rest of the dream is gone.
I check the time. I won’t be able to go back to sleep now, the rest of the household will be getting up fairly soon. Maybe I’ll turn on the television. Maybe I’ll see whether anyone on Project Runway has stolen my ideas.