Last night I had a vivid dream which has stayed with me. These are the details:
I am seated inside a small town cafe. I look out the front window, while clutching a warm cup of coffee. It is miserably cold and dark outside. Now and then, a few snow flurries in the iced blue moonlight sneak into view; but then they vanish back into the darkness just as I am noticing them. I cannot see any people outside until they are about to push open the door and to step inside the cafe. Everyone is dressed in a parka with thick work pants and winter felt boots. It is too cold to be fashionable.
I turn away from the front window and look around the cafe. It is a proverbial clean, well lighted place. Thankfully, it is also warm, and most of us inside have taken off our parkas and hung them up on the hooks beside the door. The decor is rustic, French chalet with a few rectangular, white, oak tables and chairs, potted flowers, and baskets of French rolls and cheese. There is a framed painting of Saint Joan of Arc dressed in form fitted armor and holding up a skull in one hand and a blood-stained sword in the other. Her eyes are wide open, and the expression is battle weary fear on the edge of madness. Behind her is a ghostly image of Christ Jesus. With one hand He is pulling back his coat to reveal His Sacred Heart. With the other hand He is blessing her. His facial hair is a bit too stark for the classical artistic representation of Jesus, and so He looks vaguely like Vladimir Lenin. There is an animated card game at one of the tables. The dealer is standing at the edge of the table. I can only see her in profile. She is a pretty bookish kind of girl with black, wavy hair and a plain, black dress that goes from her neckline down to her knees. Her black loafers are simple and plain. Her breasts are on the small side, and she is a little too thin. Nevertheless, the manner with which she deals the cards is graceful, and the slight flush in her white cheeks is just a hint of angelic, and so I am smitten with her at once. She does not excite sexual interest so much as the kind of lingering romance that will inspire a man to open up a bottle and to talk pleasantly with the fairer sex until the break of dawn. I may never be moved to kiss her, but I sense that she would be an ideal companion with whom to sit beside the crackling fireplace in the far corner of the cafe.
I finish my cup of coffee. I look over to a dressing mirror and see another woman trying to tie a long-brimmed, black hat beneath her chin. Like the card dealer, this woman is a white person in her mid to late twenties; but that is where the similarity ends. While the card dealer is calm and graceful, this woman is agitated. While the card dealer is plain in dress and manners, this woman is overdressed with her parka, scarves, gloves, sweater, skirt, and boots. She is trying too hard to be pragmatic about the snowy weather outside and also fashionable and alluring. She wants to have it all, and she is used to having it all frankly, and so she has no patience for when things do not go her way. Her inability to tie the hat just so is pushing her over the edge. I decide to walk over to her in order to help her with the string. Just as I stand behind her, she sees me in the dressing mirror, turns around, and slaps me hard. The expression on her face is as much frightened as angry. I am about to apologize when she steps back and explains that she is late already for her date. She holds up a framed picture of the man she is going to see. It is a framed picture of Michael Douglas from about the time he starred in “Romancing the Stone.”
The woman clutches the framed picture close to her voluptuous breasts, and then turns to hurry out the door. I urge her to wait. Her hat is already coming undone, but she is not going to listen. When she opens the door, snow flurries dance inside, and she is lost for a moment. I step outside and see her staggering down the sidewalk to my left. Because of how high the snow is her boots are sinking down with every step, and it takes every bit of her strength and balance to walk. There are a few other people in parkas huddling under street lamps. They know better than to try to walk in this snow. I sense that this woman is in danger, and so I pursue her with the intent of convincing her to return with me now to the cafe. I am also sinking into the snow with every step, and one time I am blinded a moment by snow flurries. Also, I did not have time to put on my parka, and so I am very cold. Nevertheless, I persist, and I eventually get close enough to reach out and to grab a hold of her right shoulder from behind. She turns around to look back at me, and in so doing she falls to the snow. I help her to stand up again, as tears stream down her face.
I urge the woman to return with me, but she is adamant. Apparently, this is her one and only chance to meet with the man in her framed picture, and she would rather lose her life than to lose that opportunity. She shakes free from my hand, and continues to hurry down the sidewalk. I lose sight of her in the snow flurries, and then I turn back towards the cafe. I am quite dejected at having lost her, and so I take my time in returning back. The consolation in my mind is that I can see again that pretty card dealer. I make up my mind to speak with her as soon as I step back inside.
The card dealer is gone when I get there. Indeed, there is no one inside the cafe. I have squandered my opportunity to speak with the card dealer. I find my cup of coffee, sit at the front window, and stare out into the moonlit snow flurries. Perhaps, she will step in again someday, or perhaps not. All I can do is to savor the coffee as long as it is still hot.
Every now and then, I think that I see the card dealer. I catch her eye, but then she looks away.