I dreamt I was an artist in some other life. My mother looked the same as my present-life mother, but seemed to be a very different person. I have a loving relationship with my real-life mother. The dream mother drove me crazy.
I was a lot younger in my dream than I am now but I was an adult and had lived independently for some time before suddenly having to live with my mother and older sister again. Mom was widowed. Maybe she needed help. Maybe I did. Not sure. Not even sure whose house it was, but there we were together again and she was back to planning my life for me again (something my real-life mother did not do).
She thought I should be married and she had just the right family for me to marry into. The prospective groom was an artist like me as well as being good looking, charming, brilliant, and having no discernible bad habits. I didn’t meet people like that on my own, so I was willing to at least be introduced to him and his family, putting aside for the moment that I didn’t like the idea of being bulldozed into marriage.
They came over to our house: he, his parents, his younger brothers, and sisters. I loved them all instantly. It would be a perfect match… at least from my standpoint. And the prospective groom seemed just as taken with me. I’ll call him Andre here, though I don’t remember what his name was in my dream.
Andre showed me his art portfolio, photos of his wonderful drawings and paintings in a big leather binder, and asked to see mine as my sister had mentioned to him that I was an artist too.
I didn’t have a formal portfolio, but my art was hung in every room of the house. The operative word here being “was.”
I raised my hand to point at the newest and largest of my paintings – people and other beings scattered about a surrealistic landscape full of sunset colors and shadows. It was one of my best. I was justly proud of it. It was also not there. Someone had taken it off the wall.
I looked around. None of my other paintings or any of my clay sculptures were anywhere to be seen.
I excused myself to Andre and asked Mom where my art had gotten to. It’d been there that morning.
“Shhhh!!!!” she commanded me with a finger raised to here lips. “I’ll show you.”
She led me up a back stairway, one of two that led to the attic.
Through a maze-like path of boxes, old furniture, and the occasional partition, she led me up to what looked like a bank vault. She entered a code on the keypad and spun the door wheel to open it. Inside was all my art; every last canvass, sketch pad, and sculpture of it.
“Mom, why is my art up here?”
“It has to be. It must NEVER be seen. Do you understand?”
“No Mom. Frankly I don’t. Art was meant to be seen. That’s the whole point of it.”
“NOOOOO!!!!!!” she whisper shouted at me with a crazy look on her face. I mean REALLY crazy. I didn’t know what to make of it.”
My tone became placating. “Okay, Mom, fine. We can talk about this later if you like. But while Andre is here, I’d like to show him some of my art.”
“No! He can’t see it!” she whisper-shouted again. “It’s mine!”
“Heellllooo Mom… What?”
“You can’t show it to him!”
“No! I don’t want him to even know you’re an artist!”
With that she slammed and locked the vault.
I had, however, taken previous note of the code. Apparently, she was going to give me no choice but to show Andre my art in the vault when she wasn’t looking.
Andre looked up as we came back into the room. “What was that big booming sound upstairs?”
I glanced at Mom. She gave a DON’T YOU DARE glare back at me. I shrugged. “We should go up and see,” I suggested, smiling at him. Not looking at Mom.
“Don’t you dare!” Mom said aloud that time.”
“Why ever not?” I asked innocently.
“Because I don’t want you two alone up there, that’s why!”
“Don’t you ‘Oh Mom’ me!”
Seriously straight-faced Andre was struggling not to laugh at this this exchange but, kudos on him, he was pointedly not jumping in to take Mom’s side.
I ditched the halo. “Honestly Mom, you know I’m not going to marry him anyway unless we know each other really well, up close and personal like.” When she didn’t answer that, I added, “You DO want me to marry him, don’t you?”
She was turning purple, obviously flummoxed. I was just wicked enough to find this amusing.
I heard a slight choking sound from Andre’s direction. When I glanced at him, he turned away from Mom’s regard and flashed me a quick little grin before going straight-faced again and taking my hand said, “Lead away my lady.”
I liked the warm reassurance of that stalwart touch. Yes… I really might have to keep him.
Mom’s mouth dropped off its hinges. She stood there frozen as Andre and I made for the other staircase.
Suddenly everyone else in the house house sprang into action, running interference on Mom’s behalf. His whole family and my sister started jumping into our path, trying to either engage us in small talk, trip us, stall us, stop us.
I woke in frustration at not being able to get past them. Also quite furious at having my light deliberately hidden under a basket by someone other than me.