My Fate in Dream

Dearest Rachel –

Well, that was disconcerting… and downright terrifying in its plausibility, to a certain extent. What’s particularly strange is how calm –almost indifferent – I was to my own fate.

The dream effectively started with my applying for a renewed drivers license (although, to be sure, the place didn’t look a lot like the DMV that we usually go to. I’m not sure I could describe the place, being somewhat nondescript, but at best, more like a cross between a typical office space and a reasonably upscale restaurant, with brown decor and carpeting as opposed to your standard tile and fluorescent lighting you’d expect to find at the DMV. Not sure if any of that is significant, but there you are). I was taken to someone’s cubicle – I don’t know who it was that I was talking to, and I doubt that it really mattered – for an interview about my driving record.

At some point, my arm was swabbed up and I was given an injection, at which point I passed out. Yeah, I lost consciousness within a dream, which by definition means I was already unconscious. How’s that for meta?

I came to, still in the interview chair, and my interviewer – who was preparing another needle – was startled to note that I was awake. Evidently, the first shot was supposed to knock me out for much longer than it did, in order for her to prepare the second chemical cocktail that would administer the coup de grace while I was still out, so that the whole procedure would be both painless and unexpected.

Darling, in some ways I wasn’t phased by what was being done to me. I’ve said it before; at this point, I’m not terribly bothered by the thought of facing death, only by the process itself. At least this seemed like a fairly quick and painless means of experiencing it. That being said, if the state was administering this to me, I’d like to know what I’ve done to merit such a summary execution.

It was at this point that she set the needle down, and showed me my driving record. It seems that at some point, I’d been in an accident that killed two other people, when one or more of my tires blew. Now, I have had my tires blow out once or twice – you’ll probably remember that one time we were driving home from Fort Wilderness before we were married, when we were trying to make it home in time to catch your train – but I’ve never hit anyone in a situation like that, only wobbled off to the side of the road. The worst accident we’d ever been in was is that time when that old Starlet of mine hit that deer, and then spun halfway around when we were on our way back from the movies in Keokuk. And we reported that last one to the state police that very night after limping back from the accident, since they have a headquarters just outside Macomb.

So while I don’t have a clean driving record in real life, I’ve never caused any serious injuries – to either ourselves or the other driver or passenger – let alone fatalities. Not to mention, both of these incidents were before we were married, so they go back at least thirty years, so we should be well beyond the statute of limitations.

But of course, dream logic doesn’t have to necessarily intersect with real life. This incident was apparently some thing that it happened off-camera some time before in the dream. And according to my interviewer/executioner, the fact that I was driving on tires that were susceptible to blowing out meant I was responsible for the accident and the subsequent fatalities. Never mind the fact that I replaced them (well, obviously, because I couldn’t drive on just two tires), and the two remaining tires were determined not to need any work or replacement – meaning that I shouldn’t have expected such a thing to happen to the tires that had been destroyed – I should have known better than to drive on them, and needed to suffer my punishment for those two lives I had taken. I was considered a murderer for what, in real life, would have been considered an unfortunate and unforseeable accident.

This was all starting to seem manifestly unfair to me. Even drunk drivers – whose actions would seem that much more culpable than mine in this case – aren’t charged with murder, but rather manslaughter, and only endure a certain length of time in prison. And that’s not to mention the fact that Illinois got rid of capital punishment, what, four governors ago? This shouldn’t be happening.

It was at this point I noticed our… conversation? debate? argument? fight? was being observed. Two older ladies had been watching the entire proceedings with great interest, and even possible amusement. I think one looked like Blanche from the Golden Girls; if the other one was also from the show, she was enough of an amalgamation of the others to not be distinctly identifiable. I found myself apologizing for the scene, albeit somewhat sarcastically, “Sorry to spoil your fun, ladies.” They didn’t seem phased by it; in fact, the argument was that much more entertaining, as far as they were concerned.

No, real life doesn’t have cuts to it – you have to endure from one painfully drawn out scene to the next, without any skipping over the minutes, hours, days, or weeks in between. But at this point, I had become something of a cause célèbre. It seemed that I had not been the first to disappear into the DMV, never to be seen again. It was a dense, sordid story, rife with political intrigue and conspiracy – and one that I will never know, since I woke up, just relieved not to be under symptoms of death.

Some mornings, huh?

Anyway, I’ll keep you posted on the rest the day. Until then, honey, keep an eye out for me.

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I am Rachel's husband. Was. I'm still trying to deal with it. I probably always will be.

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