December 30, 2005

Self-Pity City: A Dream

There was a brightly lit high-rise city across a broad shining river. In the city, millions of people lived, in the welcoming light of millions of lamps. But on the near shore, one family dwelled on a tiny peninsula barely big enough for their little house and yard. When they crossed into the city to school or work, everyone avoided looking at them or touching them. A daughter from the family had recently looked at a citizen of the city while walking the bridge, and there was an uproar on both sides.

This was dramatized in the dream as a Twilight Zone episode. My role was of a visitor from another world whose task was to figure out why the family was taboo.

I crossed into the city and came to an elementary school where a child from the outcast family was a pupil. I mingled with the parents to view a display of the children’s art works. On the bulletin boards, their crayon drawings were all dated 1952 and 1953. Tears filled my eyes: “I was just born then,” I told the other parents, and had to hurry from the room.

This is a dream that comes with a hidden title, which I realized immediately on waking up. Self-Pity City is a title I’ve long wanted to use for a book or story and never have.