Sometimes I really do get confused between dreams and reality. Take today for example: I slept in ’till very late as I tend to do these days. I kept waking up and opening my eyes just slightly, only to find myself in unfamiliar surroundings; for some reason I was lying down on a makeshift bed in the middle of an unfamiliar kitchen. I couldn’t make heads or tails out of it, so I kept drifting back to sleep, hoping that everything would clear up once I’d gotten rested up sufficiently. When I actually did wake up more or less fully, I found myself in the middle of that same kitchen—a well-appointed one at that—but definitely not my kitchen. I lifted my head up just enough to get a glimpse of what lay beyond and sure enough, I was in a stranger’s house, having slept for God knows how long in the middle of the kitchen floor.
I closed my eyes for a moment until I heard loud breathing just above my head and opened them again with alarm, only to find two small children crouching over me and staring. I realized they had probably been there for a while, no doubt waiting for me to fully awaken. I said hello and asked them their names, but they didn’t answer and just kept staring. The younger of the two was just a toddler and probably didn’t speak yet, and the older little girl was no older than three and seemed too impressed to answer. I called out “hello?” a few times, hoping to find an adult there who could tell me where I was and what the hell I was doing there, but no answer came. I was terribly groggy and kept feeling myself being pulled back into sleep, so I summoned up all my energy and stood to take a look around.
It was a beautiful bungalow-style home, tastefully decorated and with great big windows through which the light of early afternoon was generously pouring in. I looked at the neighbouring houses for any possible clues but did not recognize the area. Then I noticed a beautiful large swimming pool in the backyard which was made to look like a natural pond, and before it properly dawned on me that it was summer out there and how incongruous that was, the kids walked out ahead of me through the open patio door. The little one quickly dove into the water and started swimming around in circles while his older sister ran around the perimeter giggling and looking back towards me, no doubt hoping I would chase her. I was now in a panic. Here I was in a stranger’s home and now responsible for these two small children, one of which was possibly in danger of drowning.
I started calling out louder, hoping someone would emerge from the house, or possibly from one of the neighbouring homes, but nothing. I jumped in the water but the toddler was swimming so fast, like a little fish, and I couldn’t catch him. Finally the little girl jumped in too and just as I was starting to completely freak out, she pulled out her little brother and gently led him inside the house by his tiny hand. Dripping wet now, I caught a towel on a lounge chair and draped myself as I followed them back into the house and into the large den, where there were now a man and a woman, which I took to be the parents. They were a very attractive couple, and I was quite sure I had never seen either of them before. The woman was sitting on the large L-shaped couch and staring at me, obviously wondering what I was doing there. I was drained of energy and didn’t know what to say or where to begin, so I just lay myself down on the other side of the couch, barely able to stay awake again. The husband spoke up and said he had found me the day before; I had been wandering around, visibly lost and confused and then when he had tried giving me directions, I had fallen into his arms, fast asleep. He’d thought he’d bring me back home and let me rest until I was better, he said, and so here I was.
I was just about to ask them why on earth they had left me alone in that state to watch over their children when I heard meowing next to my ear. I turned around, and there was a beautiful cat staring into my eyes. I blinked and saw it was Mimi standing not two inches away from my face. I was wondering what she was doing in that house as she continued meowing with what I detected to be a note of alarm. When I started fully regaining consciousness I realized almost with surprise that I was no longer in the house with the strangers but was actually back in my own bed.
Who knows? Perhaps if Mimi hadn’t called out to me I might never have found my way back home. I suppose there could be a worse fate, but next time if I’m lucky, I wouldn’t mind running into the Cheshire Cat, and maybe even dancing the Lobster Quadrille with the Mock Turtle and the Gryphon. As incongruous as it would be, it would also seem… much more familiar.