I woke up from a long, peculiar dream this morning. The ending scenes were these:
I was the driver of a small car. Another woman travelled with me. We were on our way back to a friend's home we were both visiting. Once during an earlier outing I'd missed the main turnoff on the return trip, but had fairly easily backtracked. This time out I missed the same homeward turnoff again but didn't realize it till we were miles farther down the road. I hadn't paid enough attention and now was in a decidedly unfamiliar area, and I worried about getting us really lost. I stopped to ask for directions, but the two young women who worked at the convenience store were unhelpful and mostly unconcerned; the only ideas they offered involved spending money I didn't have for large, detailed street maps which were sold in some other place. After unsuccessfully trying to negotiate getting just a few simple directions from them, I decided to brave it on my own once more and try to find the way back. I felt hope return that I could do it.
We arrived safely at the house. It was full of people. The woman's young child was there, and I believed she had a husband there too, but only saw her interacting with a lover. I looked up in time to see her child, who was wearing stripes and solids kidswear like I might have been dressed in when I was young, climb up onto an open and screenless window's sill and fall out, head first. I knew, instinctively, that this child had taken the whole weight of her fall on her head, and that we'd have to hurry to help her. The woman and I ran through the house to go to the child, but once I was outside I realized the woman had stayed behind with her lover, and was too afraid to come and see the damage, or perhaps didn't care enough to leave her lover alone. I ran to the child, dreading the sight and the situation. She had become much younger, a good-sized infant, wearing a full, vintage dressing or christening gown, and was laid out on the ground as if for a casket. The child's head was now disproportionately small—a dense, translucent, waxen black—and like a block of roughly carved material, with a similar texture to soapstone. It was horrifying. I knew she was dead, that she'd been unable to breathe, and likely the fall had broken her spinal cord. I touched her face with trembling hands—dead. I picked her up carefully and held her in my arms for a long, still while. Some woman off to my right began offering suggestions about what to do. As I continued holding the child, I felt an occasional tiny bump inside her, as if something inside was weakly kicking around. I tried to find a pulse, or any sign of life. I couldn't tell if the something I was feeling was merely my own heartbeat pulsing. I glanced at the child's face, and to my surprise, its color had begun again to look human, and her cheeks and features had become rounded, smooth like a doll's face, soft. Her eyes remained tightly closed but there was no tension in her face. The woman at my right offered more suggestions. I felt a little guilty that I hadn't tried more forcefully to revive her, and that I hadn't known exactly what to do to fix things. My feelings were confused. Soon I began to feel something stir or thump or knock here and there inside the child's body, just enough to make me think she might be able to breathe again with some help. I didn't know or couldn't remember how to give CPR, but I lightly and nervously pushed on her tiny, fragile chest a couple times, and she began to draw breath. I knew she had been brought miraculously back to life, that it was a gift from God. She had been dead, truly, but now was alive again.
I was full of joy, absolutely thrilled. I rushed into the house with the child, and the mother was nowhere to be found. Her lover was sitting naked in a chair in the parlor, but she had vanished.