Butterfly Boy and the 7 Year Old Teen

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I just remembered this very strange dream I had last night about a different kind of shopping experience, and though “I should share this with the entire world!” because of course that’s my first reflex these days, good little blogger that I am. Here it is without further ado:

While I’m out and about running errands, on a whim, I decide to go into a store which sells small children. In the dream, which is taking place a few years from now, this is an acceptable thing to do, since they sell children — orphaned or not— the same way they sell small animals at the pet store. But I see that this shop is reputable since there are several proofs of endorsement by Unicef. The children are very tiny, like dolls really. Kind of elongated and very narrow dolls. There’s an older girl who is maybe seven years old and a little boy who is just a toddler that catch my eye because they’re so very nice to look at. I feel the same excitement and joy I had when I got Fritz as a kitten, and I’m thinking “isn’t it fun, now I’ll have new little companions I can actually talk with”.
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I bring them home along with the rest of my shopping bags, thinking how strange it is that I had this impulse to buy a couple of children like that, especially considering I’ve never wanted any before*. But then I remind myself that it’s quite normal for a woman over forty to have children on her own nowadays. We take a taxi and the children are being good little products and staying quiet and nicely packaged in their wrappers while we make our way home.

That first night I don’t have a room or beds for them, since the whole thing’s been so spur of the moment, but that hardly matters since we cut right to the next scene where I wake up the next morning and the children are exploring the apartment and sniffing about cautiously, like kittens, and when they see me emerge from my room they let me know how happy and excited they are to spend some time with their new mom, i.e. me. But as it turns out I have a meeting to go to at work, so I tell them we’ll have to put off the fun and games ’till later. I ask the children to be good and tell them I’ll be back in just a few hours and then my taxi comes to pick me up.

Once I get to work, I see things are definitely not running as usual. The big boss is at the door greeting employees and informing them the meeting has been canceled and to go ahead and enjoy themselves. The whole office building has been turned into some sort of department store, and we’re told everything is sold at a steep discount and encouraged to go ahead and shop. I load up on beauty products, telling myself that now that I have two children I won’t have much time or money to buy that sort of thing anymore. Every time I run into someone I know and have a short conversation, like with co-workers and bosses or people from other departments, I see it as an opportunity to talk about my new children and I make sure to end each and every chat with “well, I’d better hurry up, my two children are waiting for me at home”. I say this with great pride and joy (the same way a “normal” parent would, I suppose) and even create opportunities to talk to people so I can end on that note. When people ask me when I had my children I tell them: “Oh, I got them yesterday” and leave it at that. At that point I’m trying to hurry because time is flying by and I’m worried about the kids all on their own, but I can’t pass up a good sale like this either. I load up on a few supplies I think might be useful for the children, like swimsuits and some sort of gadget required to play a kind of video game (something my new little girl has asked me to get for her). I see a whole big bunch of inexpensive colorful things which look like long plastic sticks — I haven’t the faintest notion what they can be used for, but I tell myself that the children will like them “because they’re colorful” and get a great big bundle of them.

When I go to the cash to pay, I realize I’ve left the children alone for more than eight hours by then and have a vision of them starving to death or wilting, and I tell the cashier we need to hurry because “my children have been alone all day and they need me”. As I say that I tell myself that unlike pets, kids actually need looking after and I won’t be able to do this sort of thing again. I lug all my useless junk back home on foot this time because I want to save on the taxi, and by the time I get home I find the children are quite sullen and being cranky and difficult. I’m already starting to regret my decision to buy them since I know that once the initial joy of getting brand new children has worn off, it will only require more and more work to take care of them. I want them to try on their new swimsuits so they can go try out the neighbour’s swimming pool (a rare thing to find in the city, I tell them) but they aren’t up to it. At that moment the boy becomes a butterfly and flits about everywhere, and I look for him worried that I won’t be able to find him again, while the girl is giving me a hard time and saying I should just let him do whatever he wants, and the more she talks the more I realize that along with butterfly boy, I also have a seven year-old teenager on my hands.

For those who don’t know me very well, this dream is especially strange since I don’t want children* to begin with and have never seen them in my dreams. Of course I do realize that the children are most probably symbols for other things. While I’m grateful for a dream that’s not traumatizing, this one’s quite a trip and certainly leaves me rather perplexed.

Illustrations by Cristian Turdera
*Something I’ll blog about in future.

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