The Airport Dream

April 5, 2024 4:19 AM

Just woke up from one of my recurring airport dreams. It starts with me at home, packing my suitcase, talking to my dad. All of a sudden, I realize that I don’t even know when my flight leaves. I check the schedule and, sure enough, I’m late! I hurriedly stuff belongings into a suitcase and rush to the airport. How I get there is unclear. And then I’m running around the airport in circles, going up and down stairs, looking for my gate, while anxious thoughts race through my mind. I’m wearing the wrong shoes. These ratty, paint-splattered Converse won’t do, I left my Doc Marten boots at home. Should I go back and get them or can I afford to buy new ones there? As I mentally debate how important the shoes are, I also realize that this time, no one will be waiting for me in Berlin.  My friend A no longer lives there; my other classmates have graduated. I finally really look at my ticket and realize my plane has already left. As I frantically run around, I debate asking my dad for the money to buy a new ticket. Probably about one thousand dollars should do. At some point, climbing down some ladders to get to the level below, I realize I’ve left my 8-year-old son, behind.

I wake up, relieved to have left that chaotic mental space. I try to analyze what my subconscious is communicating to me. I used to have recurring dreams of being unprepared for exams, or for a class I had to teach. In other recurring dreams, I ran around, unrehearsed looking for a costume and learning my lines for an imminent performance. Now, the recurring dream is always me trying to get to the airport, trying to get back to art school in either Berlin or New York. I’m always going back to finish. As if I hadn’t quite. As if there was a component or a project I hadn’t completed or given my all. And it’s really important that I go back and do that.

Clearly, a part of me wishes she could return to that time in my life when I could easily travel to worldly urban centres and focus on art-making. But, in this particular dream, I’m full of doubt. I’m already too late. I don’t have the right shoes. I’ve already missed my flight. My son’s wellbeing has been completely forgotten. And I can’t afford it anyways. My dear Dad, who surely would have reluctantly but generously bailed me out and bought me another ticket, is no longer alive.

Last night, before going to sleep, I calculated what I owe in current bills this month and it’s about one thousand dollars. That’s not huge but that amount doesn’t include the $8 000 owed to my credit card company. Or the future dental and medical bills I am putting off paying, by delaying appointments and procedures. So clearly, I wish my dad could still be around to send me money when things are rough. My mother is more complicated and less generous. I don’t blame her for it. I do understand. That’s a whole other conversation about patriarchy and economics and feminism and it’s just a fact. I’m complicated because of all that stuff too.

I feel like I’m in way over my head, financially speaking. I am living beyond my means, because of this over-priced apartment. Damn housing market! And yet, I’m so happy here, living in my own space, close to my friends. And work is starting to flow in. So, I do have faith that I can make it work. Do I really? That doubt again. Well, yes. Eventually. But how much debt will I accumulate before that happens? As for working on art, well I am. Nothing that exciting is happening right now but let me remind myself that I play violin in a band once a week, that I just submitted a grant application to write a play, that I’m currently researching and that I somewhat regularly go to my studio (whose rent I also can’t quite afford right now) to work on visual art. I also do half a dozen things for money: work on 3-4 different podcasts, teach English as a Second Language, translate documents and work my creativity on a different level, supervising 11-year-olds during their lunch hour. And, hard to forget, except in a dream, I raise a kid almost full-time.

I am going to try and go back to sleep now.