My first mistake was leaving the hotel to go take a shower in the subway. There was simply no chance of getting back on track after such an absurd decision.
It was cold, morning time somewhere in New York City. Even though I knew these were the streets of Manhattan I also knew I was in Brooklyn, but such are the oddities of our subconscious.
I came up out of the subway into the crisp fall air with wet hair and a confused feeling in the pit of my stomach. It was early and I was immediately lost even though I knew exactly where I was. I couldn’t figure out how to get back to the hotel. My parents were there and I was desperate to return, certain it was only a few blocks away.
So I wandered this way and that, not knowing what else to do. I entered and exited building after building, getting turned around and lost in various stairwells. Nothing was straightforward and the panic started rising. Lots of different buildings, lots of different stairwells. There were impossible circles like I was in a life-size M.C. Escher painting – everything cramped and dimly lit. An intense knowing that I was so close and yet helpless to get back, hovering over me like a fog.
I was completely lost in a place I knew very well and no matter what I did I kept making wrong turns. I couldn’t get back to the hotel because I couldn’t remember how to get there. I tried to use the GPS on my phone but didn’t know what address or name to put in.
There were lots of people – in rooms, in stores, on the street – but no one could help me because I refused to look lost to any of them. This went on for many hours, from sunrise to well past nightfall.
Finally I came upon a big room that opened up to a loading dock. There were children playing. A large motorized gate was open but starting to close. I ran to squeeze under it. And then I was outside at the end of a cul de sac very far away from the buzz of downtown. It was nighttime, dark, freezing cold. There was snow on the ground and the silence that comes with it.
A taxi a few hundred feet away had just dropped someone off and was making a circle to turn around. I flagged the cabbie down and ran over to jump in. In the backseat all of a sudden I was warm, all faith surrendered to the driver, the car turning back towards the city.
It was pitch-black midnight in my head when I awoke to a Thursday morning I wanted nothing to do with. Groggy and agitated, fixated on where that taxi was heading, I proceeded about my day as best I could, piecing together the clues of a dream that shook me more than any other.