a nyquil dream of russian love

It isn’t healthy, I know, but I really wanted to go to sleep at a reasonable hour on Saturday night, in order to get my sleep cycle ready for the workweek, and so I took some NyQuil, not even a teaspoon, and then I showered real quick and hopped into bed and started dozing right away but then my roommate came home from a wedding, and he had a friend with him, and they were making some noise out in the living room so I went out and said hello and ambled to the kitchen and took a bit more NyQuil, completing the teaspoon, and then I said goodnight, returned to bed, so excited for sleep that I couldn’t actually fall asleep, and what the NyQuil did was it made my eyes close really tight, but my mind just wouldn’t stop buzzing, and at one point I kicked awake in terror, gasping, because I’d dreamed (hallucinated?) that right there, in the dark of my room, I’d leaned over the side of my bed to pick up a book and found a little black garden snake clinging to it, and then—who knows how much later?—I fell into a deep and proper sleep where I dreamed that I’d fallen in love with a woman at the bar who told me, very casually, about a certain library in Russia where she’d be hanging out the next day, getting some work done, and I thought, “I should be at that library tomorrow so we can run into each other!, as though by accident!” like it would be smooth as fuck if I were to bump into her on the other side of the planet 24 hours later and go, “Wha—you meant this library?!”

Whatever. Dream logic.

They Did Not Expect Him, Ilya Repin

So I bought a fucking plane ticket to Russia, walked through a rainstorm to get from the airport to the library, and along the way I was intercepted by a guy in official clothing, big and muscular and clearly some kind of apparatchik, and he asked me what I was reading on my Kindle these days, and I told him The Autobiography of Malcolm X even though it was a lie, and he nodded and, although perfectly cordial, he made it clear that I was gonna get arrested if I made the slightest misstep. But so I carried on toward the library, soaked in rain, and there she was!, just as she said she’d be, but she was hanging out with friends, working on something for grad school, and when I went up and said hello (“funny to see you here: in Russia”) she just kinda nodded, gave me a fleeting “hi,” and I was so concerned about wearing my heartbreak on my sleeve that I turned away, as though I had business elsewhere, and spent a few minutes browsing the spines of Russian titles along the shelves (just the other night I had a long talk with Karina about Dostoevsky, cuz I just read Crime and Punishment for the first time, which might’ve informed this dream…). Then I called my dad, back in the US, and asked if he had any company for dinner that night, and he said no, so I told him I’d be on a flight back and maybe we could grab something.

            Then my alarm woke me up at 5:30, and here I am.

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