Dreams July 7, 2012
I’m pushing in, but the bathroom door won’t open. Is the resistance — water? Did I leave the faucets running? Panicking, I use more force and push in the door; I’m relieved that the room is not full of water. But the sink is, and the bathtub is, and they have overflowed. I’m so embarrassed. My thirty houseguests will notice. I find towels and other rags, even clothes, to mop up the water — oh no, the bathmat is soaked. Where to put them? I pile the wet items back in the tub, trying to consolidate them at the far end. But the guests — my extended family — they will notice. I’m so embarrassed.
I encourage them to use the other bathroom. “Upstairs you will find a bathroom with a shower attachment, and in the basement is a shower stall.” They don’t understand the shower attachment; I will have to show them. “In the cabinet above the toilet, you will find towels.” But do I have enough for them? How will so many people cope with the limited showers, bathtubs and toilets?
And food. I fed them breakfast, and they brought a Passover dinner from the city for the group. But some are hungry for lunch. C. will drive them to pick some food up. He doesn’t know where to go. I shout from across the room; finally he gets it. “Dragon Street is right after Davis, or whatever that “D” street is.” Then he understands where to find the store.
I take the mini-car to get E., the cousin who holds back and doesn’t want to socialize with the rest of us. Meanwhile, another cousin tells me that two others are having bleeding problems, and two of the men had heart attacks. I abandon my idea to visit E. Instead, I want her to come back with me. She must come quickly; I must attend these sick people. Are they sick because of me? Did I feed them tainted dinner last night? I don’t think so. I’m okay and I ate the same food. But deep down I suspect I am the cause of their sudden health problems, in some way.
“E, please come with me.” I try to reason with her through the apartment building intercom. We get cut off but then reconnected. I plead with her, but she says she will stay put and think about it. Several others have poured into the mini-car; I don’t know where she would have sat if she had come. Clothes are piled up in the corners; I’m glad they don’t seem to notice the towels and clothes that are scattered in piles throughout my home and the car. A cousin points out that the side of my hand is bleeding. I look, don’t see it. Oh, there, on the side of my left hand. It’s not much. But what does that mean about the food? Was it tainted?
The cousins are preparing the Passover dinner and I am worried that the refrigerator doesn’t have enough room for the food. And did someone else leave the forbidden bread in it? Oh, I see the cousins have breads and cakes with them. I guess it is okay until dinner. Now a cousin’s husband is yelling at me. “You don’t appreciate all we did.”
I tell him that’s not true. “I am grateful for all the hard work you all did.”
“Well, that’s the first I heard of it.” He is angry and accusatory. Wait. The rest must think the same.
I move to the center of the crowded room and take a deep breath to project my voice best I can. “Hold everything!” I give a detailed appreciation speech, thanking them for making the drive, bringing the food, taking care of each detail — from candlesticks to tablecloths. Cousins are nodding, approvingly. One mumbles that is the best speech he has ever heard. How could I have forgotten to make sure they knew how I appreciate all the trouble they went to, to visit me and make the Passover seder happen?
I ask my friend Liz, a Catholic, if she has ever attended a seder. “No,” she says. She hasn’t.
“You are in for a big treat then!”