Seoul

Dreams: For the past four nights, I have dreamed of making a friend. In the first— and best—of these dreams, a woman I had been dream-friends with for a dream-lifetime succumbed to a mysterious illness. Together, before she died, we did all the things she wanted to do one last time. She wanted to eat rocky road ice cream at an ice cream parlor, swing on a swing, travel to Seoul to sample the cuisine, and ride a tandem bike. She wanted, also, to own a dog, but I cautioned her against this decision. The dog would live long after she passed away, and who would care for it? “You’re good with dogs,” she told me as we flew home from Seoul, gas masks dangling due to a harmless technical malfunction. I flicked the mask in front of me and reminded her that no one is “good with dogs.” I reminded her that it takes years of hard work and dedication to train a dog, and that any dogs she had seen me with were just such well-trained animals, and that this had created in her mind an illusion: that I was somehow gifted with animals. She wasn’t giving the dogs enough credit. As I spoke she looked at me with a pained but patient expression on her sick face. She supped at the oxygen mask, defying the flight attendants. I recognized at last that I was wasting the pittance of time that remained to her on my trademark pedantic logic. While technically accurate, it benefitted no one. In my dream I dreamed of a life turned over to art and mystery. And then we got her a medium sized dog, one that, like us, was old. Someone had already done the hard work. It was trained. It did not make a mess on the floor or chomp its leash or our fingers. My dream-friend, Sandra, grew frightened of her impending death. I took her to a playground and pushed her on the swing until her backlit face disappeared into the sky. The medium-sized yellow dog never barked. It sat next to my foot and yawned.