The last time I had dreams like this one, I was days from meeting Andrew’s birth family for the first time since he was born. I’m not days away from anything of the sort, but the dreams I’ve had this week tell a different story.
I’m never wearing pants.
We live in a world that revolves around pants and pant-wearers. Liar, Liar, pants on fire. Who wears the pants in that family? Don’t get your pantaloons in a wad.
It’s always about the pants.
I woke up Wednesday morning disturbed that in an act of confusion or rebellion, I had lived out that night’s dream without any pants. It began in the Ozarks, in a federal prison yard, where I waited for my husband to get released from prison. My husband wasn’t Todd and I never saw his face in the dream. Apparently, I chose a real winner because he’d been locked up for many years. Of course, he didn’t have a winner in me either, which will be evident as the dream evolves.
The fake felon husband was being released that morning with one other prisoner who had committed a similar crime. At a parole hearing, they were each asked one Bible Trivia question. Whoever answered the fastest and the most accurately was released without restrictions. The other guy would receive 5 more years of strict house arrest.
I don’t know if I was privvy to the question in the dream. I wasn’t allowed in the parole hearing. I kicked up small clouds of dust in the parking lot as I leaned against my van, waiting to hear. When I heard the gates clinking open, I looked up to see my fake felon shaking his head forlornly.
“What happened?” I yelled.
“I got it wrong,” he announced, still handcuffed. “5 more years.”
“You got it wrong?! How could you get it wrong? You grew up with the Bible. All you did was Bible trivia. And you let this guy beat you?” I glanced at the other convict and said, less passionately, “Sorry, man. No offense.”
“None taken,” he smiled. What did he have to be offended about? His bible knowledge was his ticket to the free world.
Sheesh. What a mess. How’d I end up in this situation? And how could I get out of it?
It was Sunday morning, ironically, and we drove back to my fake house in my fake home state of Arkansas, without speaking a word to each other. When we pulled into the gravel driveway through an open chain link gate, FakeHusband hoisted his fabric suitcase through the opening in the van seats and plodded heaviliy up the paint-peeled porch steps. I plopped into a chair in the front sitting room to contemplate every false move I’d ever made in my life.
The bedroom door closed briefly. When it squeaked back open, FakeHusband was wearing plaid pants, a white tanktop undershirt, and suspenders.
“Where on earth do you think you’re going?’ I asked, my words laced with the disdain I was feeling.
“Where else? To church!” He smiled and hooked his thumbs behind his suspenders.
Well, hang on, man. This is a dream. I need to remove my pants.
And I did.
As I recall, my upper body wasn’t dressed in anything terribly fetching either. And just like that, we headed off to church. Him in suspenders. Me in my under-stitchings.
“You know you got house arrest, right?” I asked as we walked up the dirt road to the little clapboard house with a church sign in the yard. “And they said you were to go NOWHERE. Not even outside in the back yard. So your first act of your first day of house arrest is to completely break the terms and go to church?”
“Yep,” he said without apology or emotion. “I need to be in church. Who’s gonna know?”
Oh, indeed. There’s certainly no information sharing in today’s world. I sure hope they aren’t taking directory pictures today.
When we arrived at the house, FakeHusband walked into the auditorium to join the assembly. I became very aware of just how pantsless I was and asked a woman to point me to the nursery. The nursery was a small bedroom with a queen sized iron bed. There were too many mothers and babies for the size of the room. I scanned the area with the aplomb of a self-proclaimed fortuneteller and spotted a thin cotton blanket hanging over the end of the bed. I draped it across my shoulders and slumped into it as much as I was able. But no matter how I arranged myself or the blanket, I couldn’t conceal my bare legs.
“Hey, can I borrow your baby please? I don’t have pants,” I whispered, tapping a woman on the shoulder and extending my arms to her 1-yr-old. She looked me up and down one time and then handed me her baby, who I pulled under the covers with me until church was over.
The baby didn’t like me. The baby was wearing pants.
When the service was over and people began spilling into the hallway and onto the porch, I tried again to employ the cotton blanket in my favor. It didn’t work. The only way to look like you are wearing pants is to be wearing them.
And then I woke up.
When I recounted the dream to my daughters, my older one suggested I get some help.
“You need to get a dream analyst for that one, Mom,” she said with authority.
Besides sounding expensive, I don’t think a dream analyst is what I need at this point. I can do my own analyzing on this one. Clearly all I really need is a strange baby, my Bible, and a single pair of pants. The rest can work itself out.