There is a whole other Tracy-life behind my closed eyelids. During the school year, James and the kids go off to teach and learn about the world, and the house becomes quiet and still. The dogs might scratch or argue with each other once in a while, or a package might delivered, but otherwise it’s just me. The clock ticks in the background. I’ll do some housework, or a lot of housework depending on how I feel. But eventually I sit down and then lie down, and suddenly I feel like Alice falling down a hole, landing halfway between awake and asleep. Down there feels quite a bit like a meditative state. There is only here, and there is only now. I watch things pass through my field of vision as we float by each other.
This floaty world is full of comings and goings, colors, swirling meanings, strange events. There are odd people whose motivations are unclear. I’m not sure they even have motivations. Time expands and contracts rather than following a measured beat, becoming so unreliable that it ceases to have any meaning. There is a constant sense of motion, of shifting, of floating alone in a quiet blue ocean without any mooring in sight. My dreams here are so vivid, and so profuse, that they bleed into my daytime, and I imagine having difficulty understanding the difference between awake and asleep. When I’m not feeling well from chemotherapy, I spend a great deal of time dozing in bed, down the hole with Alice. Then my dreams start taking over, sometimes seeming more real than my awake life.
In Wonderland, typical rules do not apply. I may or may not have cancer. It may or may not be curable. It doesn’t matter if I take pills. I may or may not need to follow the rules of etiquette about appropriate behavior in public. In Wonderland, I have been so enraged that I have split small mountains right down the middle with a garden shovel. I have told people to go to hell in the most vile, offensive terms, for the crime of being healthy. In Wonderland there is no pressure to “appreciate every moment” or “carpe diem”, because there is only here, now, and then here, now.
I’ve been visiting this alternate reality for many months now. At first I found it disconcerting. Things are less predictable in Wonderland. It’s so difficult to get tasks done, because distraction is the norm, and the connection between cause and effect is loose. Anyone who knows me well would understand that I might find this disconcerting. I like to plan. I like predictability. I brought 3×5 cards to my wedding rehearsal –and used them! No one ever accused me of being a free-spirit. But after a while, I allowed myself to settle into this dreamland, mostly because I had no choice, and it became almost pleasant. I still have lots of medical appointments to make, but the rigorous scheduling of a working life no longer applies to me. And so I have the luxury of not feeling guilty when I drift for a while. Somehow it’s almost comforting, being surrounded by the warm oddities of dreaming.
I think I’ll go take a nap.