dilemmas in dreams - old house with poverty and casino

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The house where I mainly grew up ended up in a sorry state before the family lost it. Lack of money, mental illness, and deteriorations of poverty inside and out; it was not a pretty picture. However, there had been so much love in that house. Threadbare but joyous holidays, family attempts to ‘fix her up’, foster kids welcomed(hi Donald & Quincy!), visiting religious folk of multiple genres, visiting family, beloved dogs, perfect cats, fascinating ants, celebrations of school achievements, piano lessons for recitals, deep conversations about news, politics, and JET Magazine features, gathering around the TV to laugh and marvel at Lucy, Lassie, Red Skelton, Dick Van Dyke, Flipper, Get Smart, I Spy, Julia, Benson, Sanford and Son, The Cosby Show, Mission Impossible, My Favorite Martian, Star Trek, The Twilight Zone and more

So much more.

We would climb into the large old cars to ‘look at houses’. Yearning trips to see the rapidly developing white areas on Long Island where we did not want to be after dark. Our skin was not welcome in Levittown.

Dreams I remember often happen in that house.

Last night’s dream was vivid enough to stay with me into day. I was in the old house, in its dilapidated state, with my striving, sad, gentle mother. She was paralyzed by something weird going on with the tenants upstairs. I went out, stood on the broken brick porch and somehow knew that the upstairs didn’t look like the downstairs. I went up the stairs to the second floor and found an opulent casino, all expensive looking wood, muted sparkling lights, rich colors… and every table full of players and their companions. The exact opposite of the downstairs chaos.

I stopped a hurrying waiter to find out what was in the ornate closed doors at the top of the stairs – he said ‘sex workers’ and hurried away with his silver tray balancing serious drink glasses filled with jeweled liquids. I stood by the stained glass window (where did that come from!) observing. Pretty calming, and yet I was only gathering resolve.

At some point, I found myself back on our floor, explaining to my mom what seemed to be happening. The lease she hand-wrote on poor church paper didn’t allow it, but the wealthy don’t give, by and large, a shit. Fabulously dressed folks streamed up our brick front porch. So much smiling.

My mom had been taken advantage of. The rage that filled me almost took me out of the dream, but there must have been something satisfying because I stayed submerged. I ran upstairs and began to argue, with passion, that the owners needed to pay a fair rate to my mother or get out. Large men dressed in sharp suits circled in my direction. Then the dream faded into my little Tokyo bedroom and the rainy season’s grey light on my wooden floor.

I sat on the side of my bed for a long, long time.

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