I went to bed last night with a headache, and when I woke up this morning, it was still with me. I stumbled into work, eyes blearier than usual for a meeting. My go-to headache remedy of caffeine and ibuprofen didn’t make a dent. After the meeting was over, my boss took a good look at me and said, “go home.” Not one to argue when it comes to leaving work early (although departing at 11:30 am hardly counts as having been there at all), I turned off my computer and headed for home. I called my mom at noon (I’m not allowed to call my parents in Portland until 12 noon in Philly as they think it’s rude to call people before 9 am, even if they are your parents). She said all the right mommy things, and told me to get into bed. I did. I slept a sticky three hours. I woke up several times, each time struggling towards consciousness, only to slide back down into dreams.
I visited the middle school I might have gone to but didn’t, only the fountain from Rittenhouse Square was in front, being demolished. I walked down a block that wasn’t recognizable to my waking self, but felt familiar and home-like to my unconscious memory. Dressed in a frilly blouse, I ate cake disguised as cookies, was reprimanded for eating too much and then praised when I magically made more appear. I discussed real estate values, fell in love and pulled feather boas out of a vacuum tube. I squeezed more interaction and experience into those three hours of sleep than I do into most weeks of my life.
At four o’clock, I finally was able grasp the vines of consciousness and pull myself out of the fog of sleep. I walked groggily out into the living room, where the light had changed from bright afternoon to dim pre-evening. I got a drink of water and realized, my headache was gone.