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The Window
by Dennis Berlin
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Many times Eirene had dreamed dreams that were unnervingly vivid and intense, which left her upon waking, with various peculiar feelings, existing somewhere in the halfway land between sleep and wakefulness.

Upon waking from a late afternoon nap, Eirene felt a rare yet familiar peace, which she had felt but few times and had often sought for, upon the exit from a session of intense sleep. Sometimes this intense sleeping from which so pleasant a consequence was derived, had been accompanied by striking episodes of dreaming. However, at other times she could remember not at all from where her mind had arisen, so that it would occasionally appear that she had been nowhere, effectively dead between the time she had shut her eyes and the time the world flashed again upon the eyes within her. Time had not existed; it was as a twinkle of the eye.

The peace she had upon occasion felt is almost beyond the adequate description of words. Something akin to floating on a sea of glass; a lake of water so calm and serene that the sky above appears in it as a sky below. A totality of calm, unlike life. A point of awareness, at which all tension, all anxiety, all stress, appear for the moment to slip beside. Except, of course, in this case, of a small residue of memory still open to Eirene’s half-conscious state, in which an element of vanishing fear was sensed. The fear had been triggered in a deeper place of mind, which she had so recently ascended out of.

Eirene had truly ascended, and yet it was as if somehow the window through which she had passed had been left ajar, that she might perhaps catch a glimpse of the realities taking place in that nether region, to which a great gulf and abyss usually block the way from the land of consciousness.

The first awareness she experienced of an unusual point of visual reference was the nagging question: At what point in real time had she dreamed the other dreams? The other dreams to which her dream connected and referred, though often in as imprecise a manner as served the message of her dreaming needs. Upon reflection, she became aware that she had happened upon a sacred place where time existed only artificially. Dreams which she was almost sure had taken place during intense naps months and even years earlier—some going back to her early childhood—had been referenced in her head as not even yesterday gone! Dreams that she would not even have been able to recall had it not been for this uncanny state of mind. As Eirene tested this state, she realized she was able to easily recall other dreams long forgotten to consciousness, as if they had all been dreamed within the few hours of this day’s nap. But they could not have been, because as Eirene was able to recall them, she also knew some of the circumstances of her life, and the various houses she had lived in, at the times of the various dreams.

Calm in place of clamor! Clamor, because that is the feeling that had been evoked within the dream. But it went very deep. It touched a spot that had been touched before, at a place God only knows. It had been touched across the reaches of lifetime, and a connecting point was made. At this connecting point, the dim meanings of dreams long past entwined themselves upon a node of realm, at which a glimpse could be divined of an even deeper point of reality, though only mystically and vaguely. Eirene was, in the dream, aware of a conversation, though she could not hear it, in which she was made to know that seemingly a girl in white, to which something atrocious had once supposedly happened, was beckoning to her understanding, a second-hand message. Eirene relayed the message to the woman in the sanctuary. "It’s the same girl; the girl I saw before, on the hill, by the old falling down house (a scene from another dream), fighting against the wind."

"What does she say?" Eirene thought the woman in the sanctuary had asked her.

"She says she has a way back. That she can come here to life again."

Eirene debated theologically with the woman about the origin of the message. Based on extensive Biblical research--linguistic and historical--Eirene realized that the dead are actually sleeping, in the manner of her own dreamless naps; they know nothing, and they are not able to speak again until the resurrection day. Therefore, if anything speaks, she reasoned, it can’t really be the girl! The thought of who it then MIGHT be, frightened Eirene. But this was a dream! Whether she realized that fact or not, Eirene could not upon waking recall. She did consider, inside the dream, that the message might be some kind of vision using figurative imagery. She understood that sometimes God uses figurative imagery in visions of the Bible, such as that of souls under an altar crying out for vengeance for their wrongful deaths, or of the rich man and Lazarus, meant to turn a contemporary Pharisaic parable on its head. The imagery of this experience, she reasoned, need not be literalized and thus rejected as necessarily evil. Her dream could be a parable. What fruit might she use to test the spirit?

"What else does the girl say?" the woman asked her.

"She says she has a string. It may take some time she says, maybe years, but she will come back here alive again."

Eirene wasn’t sure, but at the time she supposed the string could possibly be a good thing, such as a way back from a seemingly lost position. She was afraid of this thought because of her theological misgivings, and still debating what spirit the message might be of. Maybe she was afraid it was a true message, she later mused to herself, but that it meant her ill? What kind of torment might the girl’s message intend for her?

In the dream Eirene was trying to jump off the opposite end of the stage in fear of the immanent reappearance of the brutalized girl, but seemed nearly as, or more fearful of, the door on that side of the stage. A door that led into a place she had been to in other dreams of the past, though its manifestation was not always identical—a massive maze of vast corridors and dark passageways beneath the sanctuary, which she feared dreadfully to enter. In some dreams it seemed like everything was rotten and breaking down in the maze made of a ramshackle construction. It would not be unusual to feel a nagging fear of things caving in, while wandering the confusing devastation. Though the general experience in the corridors is emotion-driven and defies all concrete description, one general sense of walking through them, might be compared to climbing through the rubble of a once thriving but now long-abandoned ghost town. In other dreams this very same region sometimes seemed, as the mysterious voids of the ocean, to have no bottom, no ending place. How these two concepts went together in Eirene’s subconscious mind is any reader’s guess. There was a dreadful sense of confusion, of hopelessness, of lost-ness. There might also be a morbid frustration over having positively no direction, of knowing no way to come back to any desired place. Occasionally there was the experience of sliding down a slick tube of sorts into this nether-realm, that became steeper and steeper until the slide went positively upside down, plunging deeper and deeper with no stopping point into a seemingly irretrievable oblivion, somewhere in the deepest recesses of the earth. A place so extremely deep that, even if he wanted to, no man could safely venture a rescue.

Many of the same elements often found in the abysmal corridors could also be seen manifesting themselves in places above the ground, in some of Eirene’s dreams. Especially was this the case inside a certain crumbling house located on a hill, which had been blown off its foundations and abandoned, in a dream that is intimately connected to the present dream. It was a house in which Eirene had attempted, despite its structural issues, to reside. It was the same house where it seemed in the present dream as if something terrible had happened.

After the awakening, Eirene did not know at what point she actually woke from the sleep into the halfway land, in which the vivid memory and the palpable sensations of dreams fade rapidly from consciousness as inevitably as a sunset fades, and in as imperceptible increments. She soon became aware that some of the vivid details, which were only beginning to make a strong impression upon her thoughts, were slipping away. She must write if she would ever be able to recall the surrealistic glimpse into activity taking place deep within the recesses of her mind.

In the intervening moments, and even while she wrote, she tried to make sense—if there was sense—of the details within her dream. Could there be some purpose to the elements, corresponding with realities of her soul? She could only imagine that the brutally destroyed girl in white must represent something pure which had been guiltily ruined, so that she longed to be rid of the spot where the memory of its life existed, and yet even now there was a grand sanctuary in the very spot. She had been made to enter the sanctuary by the back way, where the girl in white had once lived in a now destroyed house, and where it seemed to her the girl had been killed in some terrifying manner. She shuddered as she looked at a spot where her memory told her the apparent death had occurred. She had wanted to pass by the then invisible crime scene quickly, and that is when she entered into the sanctuary—right onto the platform—along with the woman. The woman who had been Eirene’s host in her very home. The home which seemed earlier in the dream to have been the very same building as the sanctuary, when entered from the direction opposite the platform.

Eirene had been tempted strongly to jump off the other side of the stage, to the side exit, into the dark corridors, because she was afraid of what she might experience in the sanctuary if she were to linger. However, the outcome of the dream was left unrevealed to Eirene’s vision. It was in her waking moments that a sudden realization intruded upon her thoughts. She was at peace! It was almost as if a huge burden had been lifted, an impossible debt resolved, with no strings attached.

What had she been afraid of? In her dream she seemed to have been torn between a longing desire for the girl to live again in the sanctuary, and her fear that this pronouncement had evil origin; that it was a lie from a tormentor, like that conjured up in Endor. If the thing represented by the girl had been really dead, and there was something pretending to be coming back for the sole purpose of haunting her, and nothing else, then it was evil, she reasoned, and not of God! But if, somehow, the message could really be true and the girl could live again in verity, how wonderful an outcome it would be, because she was certain the girl represented something good and pure which seemed to have been destroyed.

The only trouble preventing a positive interpretation of the dream’s vision, was found in some theological scruples, and as she recalled the dream, she later could not even remember whether the woman in the dream agreed with her doubtful thinking—she was never afraid of the woman. Later, she reasoned that if something unquestionably good is really brought to life—whether abstract or in flesh—it can only be of God. Only God can give life to the long dead, and a resurrection from the dead need not violate any notions of correct theology. Were her reasonings also a fearful lack of faith in the love and possibilities of God? If there was something truly good lost—even if through her own failures—did she not believe in miracles? Had the one who calmed a troubled sea, not also called sleeping Lazarus from the tomb?

Gazing back into the mysterious realm of the unconscious mind, into which she was afforded such a rare glimpse, Eirene was left with musings, wonderings and ponderous religious thoughts about salvation, and a stark contrast between abject terrors and the engulfment of an inexplicable whelm of deepest calm within her soul.

What exactly is that even deeper realm she seemed vaguely aware of in her dream? What the murdered girl in white? What the string? What did that girl mean that it might take years? And what is the passage of years in this realm of dreams?

As Eirene sat writing down the thoughts evoked by her dreaming, she continued glancing out her office window from time to time, at a scene of nature matching the peace of her heart—a peace passing understanding. A certain glow of the lazy evening could be felt in the ever-receding remnants of the daylight. A friendly light in a not too distant window, glowing in golden warmth through ghostly still green leaves on near and distant trees, spoke un-vocalized words of comfort and rest. As she surveyed the distant treetops silhouetted by the further distant trace of sunset, it came to her attention that all wind was gone. Rarely had she seen the treetops so completely still as upon this night of peace. Even as the last daylight faded into the deep blackness, and only the distant friendly window light remained, Eirene still occasioned to observe—as quiet as the waters of Galilee told "Peace, be still!"—the few leaves made visible where their dark forms crossed the path of light coming to her from the window.

© Copyright 2003, 2006 Dennis Berlin (www.dennisberlin.com)
(NO UNAUTHORIZED USE—contact me at dl127plus@hotmail.com to request permissions)

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