She Was Choking in My Sleep

I was having the church dream again, the one where Kevin Spacey plays the priest. I'm sitting in a windowless room, wall-mounted torches casting shadows on the faces of a dozen people I don't recognize. The strangers sit on the floor in a semicircle around a stone alter while I stand in the back by myself. Spacey, of dark robe and twine belt, speaks to them in low, animated whispers that I don't understand. Suddenly, he turns toward me and says in a silky Southern Frank Underwood drawl, "Do it, Corey." Although he never specifies what IT means, I know. I always know. In this particular dream IT is the second to last scene from season six, episode 18 of "Sex and the City," the scene where Carrie and Miranda duke it out on the sidewalk over whether or not Carrie should move to Paris with Petrovsky. He wants me to perform.

"Do it, Corey," he commands again.

The others are facing me now. I stand reverently, tug at the base of the crop-topped Chris Webber Washington Bullets away jersey hanging just above my navel and bow my head. I will play both parts. I have no choice. I begin.

 

Carrie: Why can't you be happy for me?

Miranda: I'm sorry but I don't understand why you have to move away and give up your life.

Carrie: You moved to Brooklyn.

Miranda: That's just Brooklyn.

Carrie: I cannot stay in New York and be single for you.

Miranda: What?

Carrie: This is about you. As long as I'm here, in the same place, writing my column, then nothing has really changed.

Miranda: No, this is about you.

Carrie: No. You moved on, Charlotte's moved on, even Samantha’s moved on. I can stay here and write about my life or I can go with him and live my life.

Miranda: You mean his life.

 

I turn dramatically on one heel and tease an exit.

 

Miranda: Carrie I love you! Come on!

Carrie: Just say it. You don't like him.

Miranda: Fine, I don't like him.

Carrie: Then don't you go to Paris with him.

 

I'm about to bring the house down with Miranda's "You're living in a fantasy!" dig but I can't finish. My lungs keep running out of air before the last word can be delivered.

"You're living in a (gasp)!"

Father Spacey's eyes narrow. He grips his belt. I try again.

"You're living in a (gasp)!"

All I want is to finish but my lungs won't let me. Silently, the strangers leave through a trapdoor in the floor. Kevin Spacey floats toward me and his hands reach for my throat in slow motion. I attempt to draw one more breath before his grip settles on my neck but my nose and mouth won't take air. I close my eyes and wait for death.

I woke up to find that I was already sitting. I nearly fell out of bed as I rushed for the guest room door. I moved through it toward the noise and saw my mom on the living room couch. I moved closer and saw my dad kneeling in front of her wiping tears from her eyes with a napkin. There was a neat line of pills on the coffee table next to a half-eaten bowl of red Jell-O. My dad was crying too, but his tears just fell, unobstructed, to the carpet.