Often I dream of places that I don’t know from waking life. I return to some of them repeatedly.
One of these dream places is in a suburb of Brisbane, an oddly shaped apartment on the first floor. To enter, one climbs an external stairway with concrete steps and an iron ballutrade and follows an external walkway to the front door.
Inside, it’s dark and small although not repellant. It has the sound‑deadening quietude in which I also find comfort in waking life. The décor is brown and beige and on some visits is accented with orange, maybe the countertop or a throw cushion or a simple pattern on the curtains.
There are two bedrooms, one off the loungeroom up five steps, and the other off the adjacent wall. Sometimes the second bedroom seems more like a balcony. On some visits I discover storage space I hadn’t previously known about.
In my dreams I don’t live in this apartment. While I really like it, it is also a source of anxiety and shame. Often, I have just remembered after months of forgetting that I am paying for it. I feel anxious and ashamed about wasting my money.
Sometimes I live alone elsewhere; others I live with a woman I lived with in waking life, and with whom I am no longer friends. In dreams, I hide from her the fact of my unused apartment.
I visit the empty apartment to check on it. I never know what to do when I get there. Mostly there is nothing in it. Sometimes there is a couch, sometimes my bike is in the hall. Once I arrived to find the front door open and my bike gone. I found the bike later on a nearby street, stripped of its wheels, lights and gears and rusting by a street sign.
Within dreams, I’ve fallen asleep there at least twice. I wake within the dream with a headache and feeling groggy, as after an inadequate daytime nap.
The meaning of the dream isn’t cryptic: I’m holding onto something useless because it is quiet and comforting and mine alone.
I don’t know what my unconscious has built into a small, dark apartment in Brisbane. There are too many things to choose from.