“A valet, of stealthy step, thence conducted me, in silence, through many dark and intricate passages in my progress to the studio of his master.”
– Edgar Allen Poe “The Fall of the House of Usher”
I was back again.
Summer wind breathes warmth and welcome around the hustle and bustle of college students at the bus stop. I am in undergrad again and the campus remains familiar but warped. The essence remains accurate even though the layout and buildings are inaccurate/distorted, as dreams tend to do.
But I don’t care about any of that. My favorite band is playing in a matter of minutes, and I don’t want to be late.
I become aware of being surround by friends, but I’ve never met these people in real life. They are vague, faces and voices that I ascribe fleeting affection that disappears as soon as I stop looking at them.
We’ve just gotten off the bus and we are at Student Union, all the way on the opposite side of campus from where the concert would be held. We have to cross the entirety of the campus, so we begin to walk. All the buildings are connected by sky bridges, tunnels, and other architectural feats designed to keep students inside rather than trudging to classes in the winter weather (a bonus with below zero temperatures and windchill that could freeze eyeballs).
We pass students heading in each direction, there are turn-offs to the left and right, sandwiched around restaurants, food courts, cafes and other eateries. Up stairs, down stairs, down corridors and passing people heading with, against, beside and all around us.
A sense of urgency swallows me, I begin to run. I don’t want to be late -I can’t be late.
I sprint up the stairs, jump down another flight and finally, I have arrived.
The classroom door opens, and suddenly I am sitting in the back row of a nearly empty auditorium that could fit 100-150 people. I had the highest seat, but that meant that the stage looked so small. But it didn’t matter, because Disturbed walks onto the stage and the lead singer begins to belt into one of their hit songs. And I can’t stop screaming, because I am SO EXCITED and giddy with near disbelief.
I’ve finally made it to one of their concerts!!
I become aware of my “friends” again, faceless, nameless, with claim to my affections until I look away again and get sucked back into the song the band plays. My soul is at peace, I can resonate with the song in the full-bodied experience that home-plugged speakers can never emulate.
And then the sound system fizzes out.
I can see the band members looking towards the sound equipment to the right as the mic flickers and the sound begins to speckle in and out. One guy, the drummer I think, gets up and walks over, then more band members start heading to the equipment, trying to figure out what is going wrong. After a few moments, the mic stops transmitting and even the singer goes over to join the huddle of band members and technicians clustering around the sound system.
All I can think, is –I have to do something. I have to help somehow.
And then I start to sing. Sing the lyrics where the lead singer has left off, singing the words to a song I don’t think I’ve heard in real life. Words that wrap wings around my soul and make me whole. I feel so warm and at peace. I smile and sing even louder, staring down at the sparse people who were seated in the audience and watching attentively as the huddle around the sound system glances up at me for a few moments before getting back to work on the problem with renewed effort.
Maybe five minutes later, the system is back online, the band members get back on the stage and pick up their instruments. The lead singer picks up the mic and together they all phased back in to join me. Somehow, my voice can still be heard, not as loudly, but just as harmonic.
And we finish the song together.
Stoked, doesn’t even begin to cover how I feel right now.
Disturbed finishes their set and waves at everyone as they walk off stage left, taking their instruments and leaving behind the instrument stands, black chairs, and the wonky sound system. I turn to my “friends” and we file out the back of the auditorium. I remember thinking, I’ve GOT to get an autograph, or something. At least say hello.
… And then, it’s like my brain disconnects and this thought and intent gets lost. Before I realize it, I am back at the bus stop with my “friends” and we are about to get on when suddenly I remember.
Oh, shit! I didn’t get to see the rest of the concert. I HAVE TO GO BACK!”
Again, I am sprinting to the opposite end of the campus, across sky bridges, and through tunnels connecting the buildings together. Frantic and out of breath, I arrive back at the classroom and open the door-
To a children’s talent show. A bunch of warm faced parents smile in the front rows, glowing children singing gospel on the stage.
Then I suddenly remember-
Right… the concert ended. That’s why I was at the bus stop. Because it was over.
Fuck.. I forgot to get an autograph…
Then I woke up.
Dreams = More Q than A
Dude, I’m not a brujo. I don’t know what any of this means. Just going off my impressions, I’ve noted basic conclusions and points of interest.
What was my mad subconscious trying to share via images and sound and emotion?
- Is it that the anger is gone and I don’t need to relive the past?
- Is it that I’ve forgotten that I don’t need to dig up or pursue that anger anymore?
- Did I forget something, or think I forgot something that relates to my anger?
- Why did the sound system fizz out?
Dear subcon, you always spout more Q than A…
I was very in tune with my emotions in this dream, and for once, there was a lot of positive emotion throughout. I woke up feeling pretty damn good! Fuzzy, but good.
I also remember thinking, I really should get to one of Disturbed’s concerts as soon as possible!
And I’m so glad they’ve come back from hiatus.
This evening, I became struck with the realization that the “friends” I hung out with came and went with ease. I felt no regret when they were gone -if I even noticed. And I didn’t get the impression that we were real friends but almost like those friends of friends you may have and call vague acquaintances.
Like classmates you never really pay attention to, and barely see again.
Why were they here? Who? I don’t know. Perhaps a reflection of dissociation in social settings?
Why did friends = strangers?
Disturbed is one of my top five heavy metal bands of all time. I stumbled on them via YouTube when I was in undergrad. I remember that the moment I heard their music, it was like suddenly, my soul stopped screaming.
It just fit me. Like a key in a lock, their sound and words brought it all together and suddenly life made sense. Peace suffused my being.
They were the voice of my broken teen years, the voice and emotions I couldn’t channel through any other band or frame of music. The credence to my frayed emotions and raw screams reverberating in dark closets and shut rooms that I’d tried to forget even existed.
It was like finding a rope in the darkest ocean of despair. Discovering a piece of me I didn’t know I’d lost.
It also felt like an echo, sorrowful. I remember thinking I wish I had found this band when I was in high school. Because it would have been so much better.
I’d found my lodestone and I was going home.
I play their songs when I’m angry for they bring peace and reassurance. Disturbed’s music brings back memories and the feeling of salvation that parallels to the echo of lingering sorrow in my heart.
In so many ways, their music saves me every day.
I never forget things in my dreams or during a dream. So this was very disorienting.
How could I forget? Why did I forget?
Am I -gasp- getting old?
And thus I remain at the whim and beck of my immutable subconscious. ~Opalflame