This is a tough topic to write about without sputtering into platitudes and cliches, so I’m going to take it literally, and write about a few day and night dreams I had that I can still remember.
Most of my early childhood memories took place in a house on the water in New Jersey, where the backyard, house and front driveway were all bordered by feather-topped bulrushes. My friends and I would taunt each other about seeing the faces of monsters and masked people poking through the tall reeds, sometimes until we actually started to believe that we could see them.
Once, while playing with friends in an ocean cove on a beach in Sea Bright, I stepped in something squishy and awful. Fear of Jellyfish made me jump and swim back to shore without looking back. An hour or two later, two boys I knew had retrieved a small squid from the area. It was partially decapitated – a cephalopod Nearly Headless Nick that they gruesomely stuck inside of a clear sandwich bag and gleefully taunted me with. The sight of it wasn’t nearly as disturbing as the realization that I was likely the squid’s killer. I started to stay out of deep water, believing that a mother squid would soon be after me for revenge.
When fall came and hurricanes flooded my backyard, I lay in my bed and imagined a mother squid, laying in wait in the cul-de-sac behind my house, waiting for the water to rise high enough that she could exact her revenge.