Relay: Only In My Dreams

    When fall arrives, people prepare by decorating their houses and businesses with colorful mums, Indian corn, and orange-tinted fairy lights. Children jump in piles of crunchy leaves, without a thought of the chiggers or ticks that are lying in wait, and smoke spills out of chimneys, filling the air with the wonderful scent of burning wood.
    It’s all a lot of fun, but it does mean the time has come for us hardy locals to settle in for a long winter’s nap, which I welcome, because what I’ll miss most about the end of summer are my dreams. In truth, I hope they continue, I have such fun in them.
    I continue to suffer from a painful knee condition that is baffling three doctors, all specialists, and I am on medication for it. I think that’s the reason my dreams have become so realistic and graphic. I’ve hung out with Julia Roberts, driven a race car, talked to Tom Hanks on the phone in the house I grew up in on City Island, protected Sarah Jessica Parker from a stalker, whom I then beat up, and sang in front of a large crowd and received a standing ovation.
    I almost had a romantic dalliance with Alec Baldwin, which is all I’ll say as my husband is a jealous man.  If I described that dream he’d be hunting down Alec and the two of them would make a formidable pair. I see Mr. Baldwin out here occasionally, and now I’m embarrassed. I wonder, does he dream of me? Should I say hi? Will he recognize me? 
    As I’ve gotten a bit older, my life has become more sedate. I’ve been married to the same guy for 38 years, raised three amazing children, and have a grandson whom I adore and get to spend a lot of time baby-sitting for, since his parents both work. It’s all good, because I’ve sown my wild oats — boy, did I sow my wild oats! My body is tired, but in my dreams I’m on fire, a wild woman, and I love living vicariously at night when I sleep.
    Entering the REM stage of sleep is like entering the Twilight Zone for me. I never know when I rest my head whose life I will be saving or who I will be partying with. When Julia and I hung out we were at a lake and we swam together, me in a bikini! Damn, I looked fine. In real life I’ve never worn a bikini; my thighs and hips were genetically doomed at birth. When Julia tossed her head back and laughed her trademark laugh, I stood next to her and tossed my head back, smiling my trademark smile, with my hair perfectly blown out, and looked just as good. Hey, it was my dream, and Julia Roberts was not going to upstage me in my dream!
    My hair is often silky-straight in my dreams, though I’ve fought a lifetime battle with curly, frizzy hair. If I still had all the money I’ve spent on straighteners and defrizzers, I’d be a wealthy woman, dreaming on a yacht and sailing to Europe.
    I look forward to spending a winter of dreaming. I just wish I could order my dreams like Netflix, and choose who I’d like to be in them. I’d order — oh well, I can’t say who I’d order, but let’s just say my movie star idol, Roy Scheider, would make an appearance. He’d be grappling with a huge shark and I’m sure I would save him from harm. I would dive into the water, hair perfectly straight, wearing my itsy-bitsy bikini with a belt wrapped around my tiny waist and a knife tucked into it to tackle the shark and bring him down.
    We’d celebrate afterward with chilled Champagne, aboard a large boat. I’d toss my hair back and laugh at all his jokes. Of course I’d invite my husband, whom I do dream about, but that we’ll keep to ourselves.

    Janis Hewitt is a senior writer for The East Hampton Star.