Kage Baker has been in my dreams a lot lately.
I’m more glad than not – it’s such a relief to see her, even if I know I’m dreaming. I try every time to direct the dreams, get her to stand still so we can talk – but even as a phantom, Kage is having none of that. Getting her to do things when she was on another task was always like herding cats … if she’s a visitant, I must assume she’s too busy being dead to pay attention. If she’s just my imagination, my imagination evidently doesn’t have the wattage to imagine a docile, compliant Kage.
The dreams are ordinary. A lot of them are about Faire – getting ready to open, hunting for props and costumes pieces, setting up beer kegs: situations where Kage was my left hand, and we operated on a shared brain. I must admit, it’s a huge comfort to even dream about it; to glance around the chaos of a Faire morning and think Gosh, I’m glad Kage is over there, handling that!, before I go back to finding something that will approximate a replacement reed for a desperate crumhorn player. The familiar conviction that she has my back is so comforting …
Even dreams about grocery shopping are cool.
Actually, we never really had ordinary grocery shopping expeditions. At least once a week, Kage had an idea for some amazing new dish, and we’d go to every market in 50 miles looking for a cut of beef that no one had produced since the Depression. Or Blue Bunny strawberry ice milk – only that, nothing else would do. No other brand had the kind of strawberry taste Kage wanted, or was pink enough, or had a high enough level of weird crystalline crunchy bits in it …no, groceries were never a routine errand.
Or we’d be grocery shopping on a Saturday night after a day of Faire. I inevitably reached the end of my strength somewhere in the produce section, and would start crying amid the apples and Asian melons. I dream about that a lot. “Crying in the produce section” became our special code phrase for being on absolutely your last nerve and on the edge of collapse into a singularity. It was DEFCON 1, the ultimate melt-down. Kage was always patient with me.
I’ve spent most of the last year and a half crying in the produce section. The first few months Kage was gone, I was too busy – but after that it’s been one unending crying fit for months on end. Things are rather better now, but the memory of the last several months is like remembering that great vacation you spent in a cave-in: no light, no joy, a dead sameness the colour of old concrete and a feeling you’re encased in it up to your neck.
So even dreams where I am chasing the back of Kage’s head through a crowd are to be preferred to the alternative. Dreams where she’s yelling at me for having forgotten some vital prop, or peeved because the car won’t start; man, dreams about the most mundane crap still make me wake up grinning because she was in them.
Last night I kept dreaming she was behind me. Sunny mornings in the dining room, Harry on top of his cage with a strip of bacon in his wee velociraptor claw, Kage gently bopping me on the head as she moved behind my chair … I woke up laughing, demanding of the darkness “Yes? Yes? What is it?”