Laura are a married couple in their early 30s. Laura is weak and sickly,
either from depression or exhaustion. She rarely gets out of bed. Henry is
preoccupied with the vivid dreams he’s been having for months now. Dreams
that keep him from sleeping through the night. Visions, really. Such as
the one about an old man clinging to the shin of a giant child who is
trampling a small town. And the one of a little girl who must keep
scooping hundreds and hundreds of dead goldfish from a pond.
To get these dreams and others like them out of his head, Henry spends his
sleepless nights jotting them down on sheets from a memo-pad and storing
them away in a shoebox. Henry doesn’t share any of this with Laura. She
simply thinks he has insomnia.
At work Henry
spends a lot of time poring over torn paper towels and phonebook pages on
which he’s scribbled these dreams. He talks with a co-worker who claims to
be familiar with dream interpretation and he thumbs through books at the
library– writings from Freud and Jung, even poems by William Blake.
At home Henry
discovers that his sickly wife has been trying to get some work done,
looking over the blueprints of a new building she is helping to design.
They discuss moving his desk into the guest room and about going to church
this Sunday, which is Easter. Henry doesn’t want to do either.
In the middle
of the night Laura rises to find Henry in the den, the coffee table
littered with scraps of Henry’s dreams. She notices his poor attempt to
draw one of them. The two argue about moving the desk, something Laura
wants to do right then. Henry finally relents.
bulk and weight of the thing and Laura’s frailty, the two are able to
slide the desk into the guest room, which we see obviously was at one time
decorated for a son they either had or were to have had. And Henry sees,
for the first time, Laura’s struggle to fight her depression and the
physical exhaustion it has caused.
At the sunrise service at church, Henry sleeps while the minister speaks
on the story of the Resurrection. Laura nudges him awake and he recalls
the dream he was just having. He starts jotting like mad on the back of
the church program until Laura stops him. She reads what he’s written,
then draws it: A picture of Jesus’ face with his tomb for one eye and the
stone for the other, so that it looks like he’s winking.
the park, Laura asks Henry what else he dreams. Back home in the garage
Henry finds a glass jar filled with old dreams he’d written down and
sealed up. He breaks the jar and goes inside, where Laura sits drawing. On
the tables, across the floor, and on the walls are dozens of Henry’s
dreams that his wife has drawn. Art, really. Simple. Beautiful.
morning Henry wakes, having slept through the night for the first time in
months. Laura is not in bed. Henry finds her instead in the guest room
where she’s been covering the baby-blue walls with primer. She looks
almost healthy for once. Then, behind the door, on an easel, Henry
discovers a watercolor painting of himself sleeping through the night.
Copyright 2006 Dale Culpepper
All Rights Reserved