I dreamed about the house on the beach again last night.
I haven't dreamed about that house for years. But for a long time, I used to dream about living in this house on the beach. It was a gray sand beach with patches of tall grass growing up through it and the sky was always gray and it was kind of windy but not cold, and not at all hot, so I know it wasn't a beach near here. On one end of the beach, say the north end, my parents owned a two-story apartment that had been gutted and was being remodeled and they were trying to decide whether to keep it or sell it. And while they decided, I lived in this other house on the south end of the beach about a good ten-minute walk away.
It was a large house with 4 or 5 bedrooms. I lived in a small room on the back of the house with its own bathroom. Yeah, I even dreamed of the bathrooms. How many dreams do you have where you can remember using the bathroom?
Sometimes I would get the mail or watch television or wash the dishes in my dream. And I'd go for a swim in the ocean or take a long walk all the way down until the beach terminated at some rocky place where there were lots of hotels and people. There were people on our beach, but not so many.
But these were very detailed dreams. When I awoke in my bed, I really had trouble sorting my beach memories from my real memories. And I sometimes still have trouble remembering that something that I did during a dream has no effect on this world here. Like I'll think, "but I just opened a new tube of toothpaste, where is it?" before I realize that it was dream toothpaste that I remembered.
I've had whole other lives in my dreams, but believable. Like, I've never been a medieval knight or a jet pilot; I'm pretty much me, but living someplace else. And not great places. Last night, I lived in a place where my car had been stolen in a previous dream and where you couldn't turn down the wrong street for all the crime. It was the same place where the beach house was, and we drove by to see it when some friends came to pick me up.
Except the house was gone. The lot was empty as if the house was knocked down in order to build a new one. We drove by it on our way to somewhere; actually, I was on my way home from living in that city for two weeks. I stayed in this small apartment while I was working or looking for a job or something. It's all pretty vague now, not like it used to be when I originally had these dreams years ago. But the house is gone. I could hear myself telling the others in the car about it as we drove by the empty lot.
If I had any chance to live there, that's gone, too. If living there meant dying here, I don't know. Or if the dream signified change, then the opportunity for that change must be gone. Either way, I'm here. And the floor is cold under my bare feet and I'm out of milk. So I guess I need to live this life for now.