Dearest Rachel –
So, last night, in my dream, I got fired.
Seriously, that was the basic gist of things. Daniel and I drove to my old office, and after I made sure he was at his job there (what that job actually was, I really couldn’t tell you – indeed, on the inside, the place wasn’t laid out at all like I remembered), I made my way to my own desk upstairs. The layout administrative area where I worked didn’t seem to have changed that much from before the pandemic, but it wasn’t entirely the same; I couldn’t tell you exactly what was different, but there had been some changes. You could just tell.
In any event, it wasn’t Mohinder, but someone else of similar extraction got my attention, and that of my colleague, Kanu, and asked to see us in the hallway between the administrative section and the mezzanine. He seemed to be almost on the verge of tears as he explained to the two of us that our services would no longer be required, and that we were to pack up our stuff from our desks and leave the building forthwith. Kanu, for his part, stopped short of begging to stay, but it was clear that he felt that he had somehow been betrayed by the company.
As for myself, I won’t say it came as a shock, but I did find myself wondering, ‘now what do I do?’ To a certain extent, after all, this felt like a relief. Finally, I was freed of the place; somehow, I’d forgotten that I’d been freed of it years before in real time. At the same time, there was the logistical problem of having driven here with Daniel, who, as far as I knew, was still employed in his relatively menial position. After getting together my things (and I had some difficulty recognizing them, to say nothing of assembling them: “What is this, and why was I keeping it here, anyway?”), I wandered through the place – which was filled with areas I didn’t recognize at all, such as the daycare center and a ‘young hands’ training center, which Daniel seemed to be a part of, in a nebulous position between tutor and student – and informed him that I would have to leave for now, but would pick him up at the end of the day, around five o’clock, as per usual, and that I would explain then what had happened. He seemed to understand, and promised to text if anything came up sooner.
From there, I went on to call you before getting into the car. And while the dream seemed strangely realistic up until this point, it was here that things began to fall apart. When I told you about my dismissal, you were sympathetic; “Oh, I’m so sorry, honey. I… I… I…”
It was the most realistic your voice has sounded to me in my dreams since you left, but it was as if you didn’t have the words to say. My brain literally couldn’t figure out what words to put in your mouth, and at that point, I realized that that was exactly what I was doing – putting words in your mouth, for a situation that never happened. Suddenly, the scenario had gone from seeming like an ordinary day, to something that was completely surreal.
Driving home, I would’ve found myself wondering what face upon seeing you – would it even be you, or just a malfunctioning automaton made to simulate you, shorting out as it tried to process and respond to a situation that wasn’t in its memory banks? – except the surreality of it all had been ratcheted up a level or two, and I was no longer driving so much as tracking myself (and all the other surrounding traffic) as if I was watching myself on a cross between a GPS map, and an old-fashioned video game. I never made it home, as my car spun out at an intersection, and the whole dream basically registered a ‘game over.’
It wasn’t the last thing I found myself ruminating over before I decided to drag myself out of bed, to be sure, but that would be a different subject, to be told another time, as you used to be fond of saying. So I’ll save that for a separate letter.
Until then, honey, keep an eye out for me, and wish me luck – I’m going to need it.