a dream approximately on the topic of my birthday

a small bathroom, all white wood and tile, a little worn, as if the bathroom in the Grey Gables had mated with the bathroom in the Washington St. apartment. standing in front of the closed door, next to a white porcelain pedestal sink, a silvered mirror over it, framed in white wood.

two girls, somewhere between 16 and 20, getting ready for a party or a night on the town. another woman, older than they are, maybe a little younger than I am; dark hair but pale skin, reminding me vaguely of an old roommate from the hell house, whose name always escapes me.

the girls (one in the short tub, the other sitting on the toilet) invite us out…I think I say something self-deprecating about being too old. they ask us how old, I say 30, she says 62, with a hard look in her eye.

you’re joking, I say, you can’t be any older than 26, and it doesn’t really matter anyway. she frowns, and leaves — or disappears, in the way of dreams.

what’s the deal with the age thing, asks the girl in the tub. I shrug.

it’s displacement, I say, displacement from the fear of death onto trivial number games. (or something like that.)

and as that revelation swarms across my entire brain, some noise: C coughing, or a cat turning over in its sleep, or the breeze outside, pulls me out of sleep just enough to disperse the dream. not so much to forget it, though.