In the dream, Jake Katrina and I wander the streets of New York City. We are in a large group of other friends. It is nighttime and it is cold and we really just want to to be inside some place but there are no open restaurants.
We walk in circles.
Twice we pass a house that does not look as though it belongs in the city. It belongs in a Pensylvania suburb and there is a plastic skeleton halloween decoration swaying in the cold breeze outside the open screen door.
"There he is." Jake says, pointing at the skeleton the second time we pass by it. What jake means is 'We're going in circles.'
Finally we find an open cafe and go in. The menu on the door is pink and half in hebrew. Despite the late hour and the empty streets, the cafe is mobbed. The only available seating is upstairs and outside on a terrece that overlooks the street. It is very cold. We drink coffee.
A orthodox jewish family sits at the next table. The mother sits almost next to me on the bench that our tables share. The father begins to tell his son a story about a father who turns his son out into the cold because the son refuses to live by proper traditional jewish values.
I say loudly "I think this is the story that made me hate hebrew school."
Katrina shushes me and glances worridly at the next table where conversation has stopped.
The mother glances at me.
I had said it wanting them to hear me, but also not expecting that they would.
"what story?" she asks me.
Our group turns to face their group as though we had been one group all along. They have a son and daughter both with huge eyes like hobbit children in the shire. The little girl wears a Fiddler-on-the-roof kercheif round her head.
I sum up the story that I think is the one he was telling. Halfway through I realize that this is not the story that I thought it was. I continue to tell it anyway. The story I thought he was telling fills my head while I tell the other one out loud.
The one I thought he was telling is this: a man sees a child freezing on the street. the man says to the child 'if you say the Shamah I will save you and you will not be freezing any more.' the child refuses to say the shamah so the man leaves the child there and the child freezes.'
I finish telling the other story and then I try to apologize to the mother. She looks suddenly very beautiful, more and more beautiful as I realize that she hates me.
We leave the cafe and wander back down the same roads. The Pensylvania house is there with the plastic skeleton.
"There he is." says jake. What Jake means this time is 'He's naked, he must be so freezing.'
We find ourselves descending carpeted stairs into a basement game room. There are disheveled people, all roughly our own age, they are playing games for money. It is warm in the basement and the floor is completely carpeted.
I notice two boys playing pool, one is barefoot and the other has has floppy brown hair and a safety pin through his ear.
The barefoot one looks worse off then the other, more homeless and more alone. Suddenly, with the omniscient knowledge of the dreamer, I know that the one with the safetey pin in his ear is actually worse off, HE is more homeless and more alone. I know that this is important for me to understand.
I watch them. The barefoot one begins counting some bills, they are folded in his hand and he turns them over quickly, like one adept at counting money this way. The other boy watches him, holding his pool stick with his thumb over the end of it.
Jake and the others wander across the room where they begin to play a game. They throw small colored darts at a mat on the floor. the mat has a drawing of a dinasaur on it and the dinaseaur's legs and head and other parts are all numbered. if you get your dart in that number thats how much money you win.
They stand on the other side of the room and throw the darts at the mat which is near me so they are inevitably throwing darts towards me.
Jake throws a dart which overshoots the mat and lands in the carpet.
"Would you like me to move it back?" I ask him, thinking that if the mat had just been a few inches farther away he would have hit it. Jake laughs and shakes his head. Continues trying.
I turn back to the boy with no shoes who is still counting the money. I notice that there are one dolllar bills and one hundred dollar bills.
I look up to see that the boy with the safety pin in his ear is watching me. He is beautiful, I had not noticed it before.
I wake up.