Strange Dreams, Good Friends

Submitted into Contest #113 in response to: Write a story about a character who interprets people’s dreams.... view prompt


Friendship Fiction

Strange Dreams, Good Friends

Andrea invoiced the cases mindlessly. Her work in a dental lab as a shipping and receiving clerk could be mind-numbing at times, but she found her joy. Her job included many tasks besides those named in her title, the best of which was answering the phone. She called it ‘smiling and dialing.’ She enjoyed laughing and joking with the myriad assistants and receptionists in the various dentist offices that Logistics Dental Lab served. Andi had worked at Logistics for five years now. She couldn’t believe she’d been there that long already, and yet, in a way, it seemed like longer. 

Another wonderful thing that had occurred in those four walls were the friends she’d made, most especially, her nearest and dearest, Sherry. They had been through a lot together. The changing currents at Logistics had had its’ challenges over the years and Sherry had been there a dozen years longer than Andi. They’d had ups and downs at the lab and then Sherry decided to leave. It broke Andi’s heart but she supported her friend. Shares (Andi’s nickname for Sherry) needed a change. That was one of Andi’s toughest times at the lab. A year later, after struggling to replace her, the management asked Sherry if she might think of returning to Logistics. Andi didn’t think she would, but she did. And she cried with joy when Shares came back. The band was back together. 

The thing that was great about Sherry, besides her quick, zany wit that matched Andrea’s pound for pound, was that Andi never had to put on a brave or happy face with her. They could both be honest with each other about what was bothering them in life, whether it was personal or job-related, and be heard. And Sherry accepted Andi in all her quirky upstarts and never judged her for being too ‘out there.’ For instance, they both believed in ghosts and knew that a little girl was haunting the lab for years and causing trouble. Andi considered herself a free spirit that could sometimes get bogged down. Sherry was a true-blue friend and a keeper. Their year working apart had proved that, for they had never lost touch. 

One of Andi’s many quirky upstarts was her hobby of dream interpretation. For over twenty years she had been educating herself on dream symbols and how to interpret them and apply them to your waking life. She had always dreamed vociferously, even as a little girl. And with the help of a famous dream interpreter, Lauri Loewenberg, she learned just how prolific it could be. 

Andrea was a firm believer in Lauri’s teaching that your subconscious, ego, inner spirit, whatever name you put to it, was working out all your ‘stuff’ while your conscious mind rested. And your subconscious was much more adept at ‘seeing’ things for what they were rather than trying to justify, ignore, or explain away the multitude of important and less significant happenings in your life. 

One memorable dream Andi had was of a dog in an alligator costume moving around her bed, just out of sight. And she was a nervous wreck in this dream bed. Lauri Loewenberg herself analyzed that dream for her. She called into her podcast, back when Lauri still had one and back before everyone had one. 

Lauri asked, “Are you having a hard time with someone that you normally consider to be loyal?”

Andi gasped, “Yes!”

“You see,” Lauri explained, “a dog represents loyalty, like man’s best friend. And the alligator costume signifies that that person is hurting you. Alligators attack you and bite you with their sharp teeth.”

“My sister!” she gasped again.

Andi quickly thought of the incident in which she felt attacked by her sister. There was no argument, just a cold shoulder and it felt devastating to Andi. She’d always felt close to her sister. And she had been losing sleep and crying over it for weeks. When she asked her sister if all was okay, Eileen insisted it was, but continued to treat Andi dreadfully. And Andrea just couldn’t get past it. She wracked her memory to discern what could have pissed her sister off, to no avail.

“We’re fighting, sort of,” Andi said quietly.

“Okay, and you’re in a bed in this dream because your subconscious is trying to tell you to put it to bed. To get over it,” she said gently.

Andi sighed deeply and said “ Oh my gosh, you’re right! I’ve been obsessed with it!” It was like a light went on and she saw clearly what she needed to do. A weight lifted from her shoulders and she breathed deeply.

“Thank you so much, Lauri. This was amazing.”

“You’re welcome,” she said warmly, “and good luck.”

It was an epiphany for Andi, and she had no way to know then, but a huge shift in consciousness would start for her, very slowly. 

Another dream that stuck with her was one in which Andrea thought she was dying, like for real. And it was quite disturbing.

One night, back when she still worked in the service industry, Andi got home around midnight and turned on the T.V. in the living room. This was a years-long habit. In fact, back then she couldn’t sleep without it on. She laid down on the couch and, eventually, fell asleep. At some point, she was dreaming and the dream stopped, like an old-time movie projector. She was conscious and awake but she couldn’t open her eyes and there was a massive weight on her chest. She couldn’t move. 

“This is it,” she thought, “I’m dying in my sleep. I’m having a heart attack. I’m too young to die, I have young children.”

Suddenly a large white light appeared before her. The light had movement in it like it was roiling smoke. 

“There’s the light that everyone speaks of,” and she became nervous, not ready to say goodbye to her life. It got bigger and brighter and then suddenly dissipated as she moved through it. Before her was the most breathtaking view of outer space she had ever seen. It was silent and stunning. Swirling galaxies and trillions of stars glittered before her very eyes. She was floating before it and awestruck. Unexpectedly, a loud, gravelly voice said, 


She immediately opened her eyes and was fully awake. The pressure in her chest was gone and she could move again. Her hands searched her neck and chest over her heart while her breathing returned to normal. 

“No heart attack, thank God!” she whispered. She went over the unusual dream in her mind. She could still hear that crazy, loud voice. It sounded like the devil might sound. But she wasn’t even sure that she believed in the devil. Creepy.

After describing it to Lauri in a second, separate call to the podcast, Lauri asked,

“Do you have a consistent sleep schedule?”

“Regular sleep is impossible. I am a horrible insomniac. I’m a waitress.” she said wryly. 

“So, you’d say that you are asleep and awake at inconsistent times?”

“I would.”

Lauri went on to explain that what she had experienced was sleep paralysis.

“What happened was that your sleep pattern malfunctioned while you were dreaming. During the dream phase or REM phase of sleep, you ‘woke up,’ but not really. You see, when you’re dreaming, your body is paralyzed so that you don’t get up and act out the dreams. Sleepwalking is an opposite, but similar malfunction, mostly seen in young, growing brains. So the vision you had was a hallucination, also called lucid dreaming.”

“Okay…” I said slowly, trying to follow her explanation.

“BUT! That’s not all. That voice you heard was your subconscious, speaking to you. The neatest thing about lucid dreaming is that you have a direct line of communication to your subconscious!”

She went on to describe a former client who was having regular sleep paralysis in the form of the Sand People from Star Wars gathering around his bed. They would show up and quietly look at him while he couldn’t move or wake up right away. Talk about disturbing. She said that the next time it happened, he should ask them what they wanted of him. So he did just that. They said he should find new employment! He had been miserable at his job for years. He started looking for a job and the Sand People went away.

“So the next time that happens, Andi, ask that voice what it wants from you!”

From then on, Andrea was hooked on dream analysis. 

Andi bought her book and downloaded a shortcut on her phone that allowed her to quickly put her dreams into a search engine that would help her analyze her active dream life. She could remember her dreams almost every night. It became a useful tool to help her navigate situations that invariably would come up in her or her friends’ lives. And she became quite adept at it. As she shared this burgeoning skill with more friends and family members, she became even better at it. With the help of that search engine, she helped them solve problems in a unique way. Aiding a friend in uncovering insight from their own psyche was rewarding.

Andi’s attention was wandering over all these thoughts and memories instead of concentrating on the task at hand. She looked over her work and realized that she had invoiced one case twice and put the duplicate in the wrong case. She sighed heavily, fixing her mistake.

“Get your head in the game, girl. Regardless of how boring it is.”

She pulled her phone close to put some music on and quiet her mind’s ramblings. 

Just then Sherry came around the corner.

Oh good, a much-needed distraction, thought Andi. And then she saw her bestie’s pensive look and was concerned. 

“Andilicious, I need you to tell me what my dream means.”

What? This is a first. Andi thought.

“You’re sure, Shares?”

“Yes, girl. It’s driving me crazy, I need to know.” Sherry nodded.

Dreams can be incredibly personal, almost like tapping into someone’s inner thoughts. She’d learned to be cautious. Their closeness meant that Andrea knew a lot about the minutiae of Sherry’s daily life and the things that she was struggling with and hoping for. 

“Alright sister, hit me with it,” Andi pulled her phone, ready to type into the search engine if needed.  

Sherry began.

“I was in a school, in a classroom and I was taking a test but I didn’t have answers. So I was looking through the school and suddenly I was in a big field and Mandy(her daughter) was there but I couldn’t get to her. I was agitated throughout the dream.”

“Okay,” this was going to be easy. She knew that Sherry’s husband wanted to sell their home in the incredible seller’s market that was currently happening to make a big profit after only 6 years. But could they afford to buy another house? They’d heard tales of houses selling twenty, fifty, even seventy-five thousand dollars over the asking price. Sherry worried about what their future would hold if they made this bold step. What if it was a mistake and they would be unable to afford to buy? 

Very quietly I said, “Well, school represents something that you feel you need to learn and the test means that you feel that you are being tested in some way and you don’t have the answers you need. The field, what does it look like?”

“It’s green, lots of flowing grass,” Sherry said.

“That signifies an open field of possibilities. You have many choices.” 

Sherry screwed her mouth to one side like she did when she was thinking. 

“Are you having any issues with Mandy right now?”

“No. We’re good.”

“Your grown daughter represents something in you. You respect Mandy, she has good mothering instincts. She fearlessly moves forward as a single mom with two kids.

Your subconscious is telling you to trust yourself, to move forward fearlessly. You’ll make the right decision.”

Sherry took in what she said, but said nothing. Her mouth still puckered to the side like she was biting her cheek.

“Okay, thanks,” she smiled and went back to her bench in the furthest reaches of the lab. 

Andi quickly punched her dream into to check her work. She had never analyzed a dream off the cuff before. She’d nailed it. She smiled to herself and searched out some old familiar grunge on Pandora to get her through the invoicing. 

Not long after, Sherry and her husband put their house on the market and got fifty thousand dollars over the asking price in a vicious bidding war. Her house was on the market for one week. They decided to live in a luxury fifth wheel for a year while they looked for land to build on and wait for the cost of building materials to go down. But three months later, they found one of the new barndominiums that were all the rage. It was beautiful and modern. And they had a fat bank account left over from the very successful sale of their home. She trusted herself and made a leap of faith that was a genius move in hindsight. 

Sherry and Andi never spoke of that analysis again. Andi knew instinctively that it should be Sherry that brought it up. Again, it can be uncomfortable for someone to know your intimate thoughts and feelings before you do. 

Whenever Andi shared this hobby or… obsession, if you will, with someone new, they would invariably have some crazy dream to share. Andi always asked permission before she went traipsing through their subconscious. They always said yes, but it still didn’t prepare them for the intimacy of it and they rarely returned for a second session. But that was okay, Andi knew that those interpretations were as helpful to them as they were in her own life.

So keep dreaming, ya’ll. Andi will help you figure it out. :-)

October 01, 2021 22:02

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