n a dream, I fell in love with a woman from an exotic country. Or maybe it wasn’t exotic but just seemed so to me. She was beautiful except for the nose of a boxer, which she lamented. She told me she had a brother who boxed and another who played the guitar. She also had a twin sister from a magic egg. I nodded. It was then that I knew I was in love, cajoled by her story.
She told me she had a mother like a tiger, possessive and judgmental, and when she said it I imagined her mother with the literal face of tiger, but prowling a beach. In my dream, the girl came from a city along the sea. Perhaps the Adriatic.
I had an affair with this woman, though how it unfolded remained unclear even to my dream self, which refused to part with a hurtful secret. We were in Rome, near a zoo, and later, on New Year’s Eve, atop some hotel, each of us wearing cone caps as we watched two other women who instead wore glowing orange horns and ignored the fireworks. The horns made the girl laugh.
We kissed, I think, but I tasted not lips but something like lemon, or oranges, both of which she seemed to like and peeled in the kitchen — my kitchen in the dream — casually leaving bits and seeds on countertops as if by leaving them they might take root.
She lived in a small room in my house, this dream girl, and inside the room she slept or glowed or emerged wearing a towel turbaned around her hair and asking about our dinner plans. I would look at her amazed, replying that dinner wouldn’t be ready until the dream ended.
She called me a strange and wonderful man once or twice, and I asked her if she could in fact transform me into such a man, that I might like it — like my strangeness and wonderfulness, that is — but she just held my hand tightly and disappeared up a hallway.
One day we went out and she kissed several dogs, or maybe horses, but not me. That’s when she said it was time to get her a pair of magic slippers, and that she knew just where to find them, and how she wished to look.
We went to the place and she put on shoes that wrapped around her like spiral staircases. As she tried them on she talked to herself, and to the shoes, and to the mirror, which concurred with her. Soon, the magic slippers were hers; followed by a black fur hat and a coat, and she said she was happy.
In the dream, the girl ran around looking for wizard caps, the kinds with tassels. In the dream, she put one on my head. I was again amazed. God looks after me, she told me suddenly. God takes care of me. I should find her a full-length mirror, she explained. I failed at this.
We then dined together, still wearing the hats, two wizards, after which she pointed to the word on the taller of the two pointed caps, the one she wore. It said, “Good-bye,” and I believed it immediately, and I knew the dream was over.
When I woke I yawned, amused by my old man’s dream in which I’d fallen in love, impossible of course, stranger even than shopping for shoes, until I felt around for orange seeds, and found them on my kitchen countertop.