Muscle Memory

Last night I dreamt that I was being chased by an alligator. I was in my childhood home. I saw the alligator outside, by the summer kitchen. I ran inside, closed doors to lock it out, but it turned out that too many doors were open, and the creature kept inserting its webbed claw into cracks like a monster in a horror movie. I climbed up to the attic. I called the one person I know who has experience wrestling alligators. But later, awake, with coffee and an online search for the significance of dreams I realized the slayer of the beast is really who I’m running away from, the fear behind the metaphor. So, if in a dream you come to me as an alligator, could you please kindly slay yourself?

Luckily I knew what to do with these haunted feelings. I wrote them into my new novel, Lone Wolf. There was a perfect place for them, as any fictional heroine worth her salt has her own alligator to unload.

Afterwards, going through my memories, I was struck by the perfect symmetry of my day yesterday with what was going on last year. It turns out this is the one-year anniversary of closing on the sale of my house – something that was difficult to achieve, nearly impossible, in fact, but necessary for me to have the freedom to do what I’m doing now. After the closing I took myself (still shell-shocked from the emotional trauma of wrestling with the unfriendly world of small-town real estate) to a celebratory lunch at Provisions, the same restaurant where I ate last night. I wore all black and drew a sketch of my outfit, though it was not nearly as cool as the sweater dress I bought yesterday.

And so today, emboldened by the anniversary, and as free from alligators as ever, I set out to resolve some of the stuff I’ve been postponing that I don’t want to drag with me into the new year. This included my dry cleaning which had been riding in my car in a laundry bag from a luxury hotel in Barcelona for over a month now. My dry cleaning, in fact, has been to West Texas. I figured it had an interesting enough time and could now be dropped off. I probably won’t get it back until next year, but at least it’ll be clean and no longer in my car.

Also I had a massage. The guy said something interesting. He said we need to get the blood out of the muscles so new blood can flow through them. Like squeezing out a sponge. I liked that. Later I had sushi and an açai bowl. And tonight, after my massage I hope to dream of things other than alligators. Though if they shall appear I know just what to do with them. All alligators will be written into novels. Because you can’t just wait around for them to slay themselves.

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